CHEROKEE, Okla. (KFOR) — Crystal digging season is right around the corner at Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge in northern Oklahoma.

You can explore the 11,200-acre salt flats and collect the state crystal of Oklahoma free during the crystal digging season, open each year from April 1 through October 15.

Selenite Crystal Digging at Salt Plains National Wildlife Area
Image courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Crystals are often found right below the salt-crusted surface.

Crystal Digging is only allowed from sunrise to sunset in the Dig Area. Visitors are allowed to collect up to 10 pounds and one large cluster for their personal use.

“Crystal Digging is a great, free activity for people of all ages to collect unique hourglass crystals and see wildlife,” said Melissa Robell, Visitor Services Specialist at Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge. “The Dig Area is closed the rest of the year to protect endangered Whooping Cranes migrating through.”

You’ll need to bring: a shovel to dig, protection from the sun (sunglasses, hat, sunscreen, etc.) and plenty of water to drink, rinse crystals and clean yourself after digging.

“Only about one third of the 32,197-acre refuge is salt flats. With five hiking trails and 315 bird species observed since the opening in 1930 there is a lot to see and do other than dig for crystals,” said Shane Kasson, Refuge Manager at Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge.

For more information and directions to the dig site, visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife website.