Selenite Crystal Digging

Open yearly from April 1 through October 15

View the unique 11,200 acre salt flats and collect the state crystal of Oklahoma free during the Crystal Digging Season open every day from sunrise to sunset during April 1 through October 15.  The observation deck located outside the gate is open all year. 

Learn all about selenite crystal digging with the crystal digging brochure.


  • Drive to the gate at 66003 Garvin Road, Cherokee OK 73728. Then drive one mile  through the gate to the Dig Area marked with bright orange signs. Crystal Digging is only allowed in the Dig Area.
  • Bring: a shovel to dig, protection from the sun (sunglasses, hat, and sunscreen) and enough water to drink, rinse crystals and clean after.
  • Learn about the selenite crystals. Selenite is a crystallized form of gypsum, also known as hydrous calcium sulfate. The crystals naturally form just below the salt encrusted surface. Iron oxide in the soil gives the crystals the chocolate brown color.
  • Free activity for everyone!


  • Selenite Crystals can be found on the surface.
  • How to Dig: Use a shovel to dig a hole that is a max of two feet deep. Pour water on edges and bottom of the hole, to find them more easily. Carefully, use your hands to collect crystals. Lay the crystals in the sun to dry out.
  • Put on plenty of sunscreen and drink lots of water, it can be very hot.
  • A restroom is located inside the gate to your left.


  • You don't need to fill in your holes many wildlife species use it. The dig area is rotated every year.
  • Wash underneath your vehicle, salt can damage it.

Rules and Regulations

  • Each person is only allowed to collect up to ten pounds and one large cluster per day, selling crystals is not allowed.
  • Pets are allowed but must be on leash.
  • Drones are not allowed.
  • Digging crystals not during the crystal digging season and trespassing outside of the dig area is prohibited. The Dig Area is closed the rest of the year to protect Whooping Cranes and other wildlife.

For more information, call the refuge at 580/626-4794.