27 Jun
2015
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Arkansas: Crater of Diamonds State Park

Crater of Diamonds State Park, Arkansas

Years ago I read about Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas and was intrigued by the idea of digging through 37 ½ acres of plowed dirt in the hopes of finding treasure. I tucked the idea away not thinking we’d ever find ourselves in Arkansas. Eventually the traveling bug bit us, and we decided to start taking long road trips, young kids and all.

Two men diamond hunting at Crater of Diamonds State Park, Arkansas

Fast forward to planning for this summer’s epic road trip. We planned our route, in part, on visiting as many new states as possible. Arkansas was on the route, and Crater of Diamonds became a reality. My husband and 10-year-old son are diggers. They like rocks and have the patience to squat in the dirt in search of something rare. They are treasure hunters, but this time they were hunting treasure with legitimate monetary value. I have mason jars full of found rocks from all parts of the country thanks to my young geologists. Adding a diamond to the mix would have been a treat.

Boy diamond hunting at Crater of Diamonds State Park, Arkansas

Crater of Diamonds, located near Murfreesboro, Arkansas, is the world’s only diamond-producing field open to the public. Visitors can find white, brown and yellow diamonds there as well as other gems and minerals in what is an ancient volcano crater. You pay admission and whatever you find you keep. If you’re a rock hound with a penchant for patience, this place is for you.

Using a water screen for diamond hunting at Crater of Diamonds State Park, Arkansas

There are park staff members who will identify anything found for you. We had a couple of small items that were possible diamonds checked out. They were just quartz-like rocks. On June 24, just a couple weeks after we visited, a visitor from Colorado discovered an 8.5 carat diamond. I don’t dare read to discover where that party was searching. I’m sure it was nowhere near the area we were searching. Hopefully, it was found acres from our spot.

Girl diamond hunting at Crater of Diamonds State Park, Arkansas

The field stretches seemingly endlessly in front of you when you leave the visitor center. There are rows and rows of plowed earth. Visitors may rent shovels, screens and buckets to aid in the search, or you can bring your own supplies. We brought a couple of camp shovels and sand toys. It was clear we weren’t taking it quite as serious as other people. There were people with umbrellas, stools, shovels, buckets and sieves. I held my plastic shovel with a Goofy head on the handle as I talked to a man who had been there the entire day and found nothing and another man who visits a couple times a month. We only spent two hours in the scorching heat digging through the dirt mounds.

Boys screening rocks at Crater of Diamonds State Park

The kids liked using the rinsing stations which are big troughs of water used for washing finds. We found the boys multiple times armpit deep in the muddy water digging up the sludge at the bottom. They were sure someone had inadvertently lost a diamond during the washing process. No luck in the troughs either.

Children searching for diamonds at Crater of Diamonds State Park, Arkansas

I’m a collector of experiences. I like knowing I’ve done things. I’m glad I was a diamond hunter for one afternoon and can see how someone local might be at the state park quite often. It could be addicting in the same way purchasing lottery tickets can become. We even found ourselves wanting to check just one more mound before calling it a day. I’m sure, if we find ourselves back in the area, we’ll be back in the mounds searching away.

Follow our 6,025-mile adventure.
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Arkansas: Hot Springs National Park
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