Crater of Diamonds State Park

Situated among the pine forests of southwest Arkansas near Murfreesboro is a rare 35-acre field where diamonds can be found in their natural matrix. Visitors from around the world search for diamonds at this unique geologic occurrence. This field is the only diamond area in North America open to the public. Over 70,000 diamonds have been found at the "Crater" (an eroded volcanic pipe) including such noted finds as the Uncle Sam (40.23 carats), Star of Murfreesboro (34.25 carats), Star of Arkansas (15.33 carats), and the Ama-rillo Starlight (16.37 carats). In June of 1981, the 8.82 carat Star of Shreveport was added to the growing list of valuable stones picked up at the Crater. An average of more than 600 diamonds are found each year.Although genuine diamonds are the chief attraction, other semi-precious gems and minerals can be found. Amethyst, agate, jasper, quartz, calcite, barite and many others, including over 40 different rocks and minerals, make the area a rock-hound's delight.

History

The first diamond was found here in 1906 by John Huddleston, who owned the property. The Crater of Diamonds has changed hands several times over the years and several unsuccessful attempts have been made at commercial mining. All such ventures are shrouded in mystery; lawsuits, lack of money, and fires are only a few of the reasons for failure. The mine was operated by private interests as a tourist attraction from 1952 to 1972 when it was purchased by the State for development as a state park.

Diamond-Hunting Tips

1. Look for a small, well-rounded crystal. A diamond weighing several carats may be no larger than a marble.
2. Diamonds have an oily, slick outer surface that dirt or mud will not stick to, so look for clean crystals.
3. If you think you have a diamond, hold it carefully in your hand. Experience has shown once a diamond is dropped, it usually isn't found again that day.
4. Diamonds may be any of several colors. The most common found at the Crater are clear white, yellow and brown.
5. Bring any stone you think may be a diamond to the Visitor Center for free weight and certification. Anything you find is yours!

Facilities

This unique state park comprises 888 pine-covered acres along the banks of the Little Missouri River. Modern campgrounds, bathhouses, and picnic areas are available to visitors. A gift shop, interpretive exhibits, audiovisual room, rest rooms, and park offices are located in the Visitor Center, with a restaurant and picnic areas close by. Motels, hospitals, and other conveniences are a few minutes' drive away in nearby towns. The park is open year-round (hours change seasonally).

Trails - The River Trail (1.3 miles) winds its way through the woods to the scenic Little Missouri River. It provides a relaxing 1-hour hike over level terrain.

Interpretive Services

Orientation programs are offered at the Visitor Center. During the summer months, evening programs covering a variety of subjects including nature, geology, diamond 'mining' methods, and history are available to all park visitors. Organized groups may request special programs to meet specific interests, if scheduled in advance.

Fees

Mine Admission - A nominal entrance fee is charged to adults and children (6-12). Children under six may look for diamonds free if accompanied by an adult.

Group Rates - Any organized group of 20 or more may search for diamonds at one-half the regular fee. Advance notice must be given to obtain reduced group rates.

NOTE: There are 60 campsites with water and electricity available. Campers must register at the Visitor Center before occupying a site. All sites are assigned; limited reservations available.

Location

Two miles southeast of Murfreesboro on Arkansas Highway 301.

For further information on park hours and fees, contact:

Crater of Diamonds State Park
209 State Park Road
Murfreesboro, AR 71958
Telephone: (870) 285-3113

For further information on Arkansas' other state parks, contact:

Arkansas State Parks
One Capitol Mall, 4A-900
Little Rock, AR 72201
Telephone: (501) 682-1191

All park services are provided on a nondiscriminatory basis. Arkansas State Parks is an Equal Opportunity Employer.




Published: 28 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 7 May 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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