Arkansas can seem lousy with quartz crystals, it’s one of the best places in the world to find them after all! There are innumerable sites spread throughout the state, many of them ready to let you dig and see what you can bring home. It’s just a matter of finding the correct location.
So, want to see where to start looking to find places to dig crystals in Arkansas? Let’s take a look at some of the best!
Please Note – COVID Closures
Due to COVID’s impact on small businesses, many small operations have been shut down temporarily. Available hours and days for digging have been in flux for a bit and not every paid dig is open at the moment.
The following places are all open at the time of this writing, but I encourage you to take a look in the surrounding areas if the spot you’re looking at isn’t open to the public at the moment. Arkansas has an incredible amount of quartz crystals and this is just a small sample of the available sites in the state.
1. Crystal Vista
If you’re a rockhound who lives in or near Arkansas, and you’re always on the lookout for places to go to dig crystals, then chances are you’ve heard of the Crystal Vista crystal dig site.
There’s plenty of quartz crystals to be found here and it’s completely free. You just have to be willing to make the 20 minute uphill trek to the collection area. The good news is, your walk back down to your vehicle will all be downhill!
The Crystal Vista dig site is a 4 acre area that was once a commercial crystal mining operation. After the mine was closed, a local miner and the Forest Service worked together to turn the 4 acre property into a recreational site for rockhounds.
Surface collecting at Crystal Vista can be very productive, especially if your expectations aren’t to find large clusters. What you’re likely to find while surface collecting at this site are smaller sized quartz points, many of which are extremely clear and in great condition.
You can read more about the Crystal Vista dig site in this article: Crystal Vista Arkansas | Dig Your Own Crystals For Free!
2. Wegner Quartz Crystal Mine
The Wegner Quartz Crystal Mine is one of the leading producers in Arkansas, producing an incredible amount of crystals. If you’re the adventurous type, you can check out their paid digs that allow normal rockhounds to get in on the action.
There are two main attractions here: the Crystal Forest Mine and the tailings piles.
The former is an open-pit mine where you can freely dig. You can get your hands dirty or get to some serious work with hard rock mining in the same place. The location currently requires you to bring your own tools or buy them on-site, so make sure you stick your equipment in the car.
It’s one of the most popular paid digs around and the price is great. You’ll only need to spend $18 per 2 hours there, and kids are cheaper. A lot of impressive crystals have come from this area, and it’s not a bad idea to try your hand at it.
The tailings pit is tailings from the commercial operation of the pit. The owners add material to the area on a regular basis and you can get in for a smaller fee than you’d pay to do some actual digging. It’s an easier way to look for crystals, and the pit is handicap accessible.
The Wegner Quartz Crystal mine is located south of Mt. Ida, and you can find more details about their tourism operation on their web page.
3. Coleman’s Rock Shop & Crystal Mines
Another attractive spot to find quartz crystals is Coleman’s Crystal Mines. The location is one of the cheaper paid digs and they offer a money-back guarantee if you don’t find any crystals while you’re searching. Considering the low upfront cost, I’d say it’s well worth a shot.
They’re one of the biggest producers of quartz crystals in the region and they also offer material to be shipped home for you to dig through if you can’t make it to the site.
It’s a tailings dig for the most part. The actual mine is hard rock mining done with heavy equipment, so you’ll be going through things that have already been dug out from the pit proper. There’s a lot of clear crystal in this area and you’re sure to find something.
There’s also a great little rock shop on site. It might not seem like much if you’re coming out of Quartzite but every good rock shop still standing deserves a visit.
Overall, this may not be the most popular dig site for tourists but it can be a great experience. Digging through tailings is normal for a paid dig, and the Rock Shop/Crystal Mine hybrid business model is pretty cool.
Just be aware you’ll want to drag along your own tools. The only thing sold on-site are gardening forks to help rake through the soft material of the tailings. A folding shovel and a screen will make finding great crystals a lot easier.
The mine is a bit north of Hot Springs, Arkansas. You can find more information about the dig on their website.
4. Ron Coleman Mining
In a different location, with a different Coleman heading things, you can find another great quartz mining experience. For $25 an adult can dig all day, starting at 8 in the morning. There’s also a tour of the commercial mine, so you can see how it’s done with heavy equipment and professional diggers.
The site offers a lot of quartz in the tailings and the unlimited dig time is a nice touch. This mine produces primarily clear quartz, there are no significant deposits of amethyst or other varieties to be found. Still, the ability to pull attractive clusters from the ground is a win for everyone!
If you’re local to the area, they even have a calendar where they show how much material has been added to the site. Going in right after a big load of tailings has been added to the tourist area is your best bet for finding exquisite specimens.
They’re even pet-friendly, as long as your dog is leashed and well-mannered. That’s a big bonus for families on an adventure.
Overall, it’s a pretty standard paid dig for Arkansas. On the cheaper side of things too. There are some considerable extras for people who are more tourists than amateur miners. Check out the information on their site to see if it looks good for your trip!
5. Twin Creek Crystal Mine
Located near the Wegner Quart Crystal Mine, south of Mt. Ida, this mine produces some great crystals. It’s a little bit more of a pain to get into since you’ll have to inquire beforehand, but it’s worth a shot if you’re in the area.
The good news? It’s worth it since you’ll be digging in the actual mine rather than going through tailings. Nothing against tailing digs, you can find some great stuff and it helps keep mines open, but actual mining is far more attractive for experienced rockhounds.
They have digging experiences set up for everyone from newbies to seasoned hands, and it appears they do their best to tailor to individuals rather than just being a tourist trap. That alone might make the extra effort you’ll need to put into the inquiry worth it.
If you don’t mind the bit of hassle, check out their site and see if their offerings are what you’re looking for in a crystal dig.
6. Board Camp Crystal Mine
Another of the bigger operations in Arkansas is the Board Camp Crystal Mine. It’s by reservation only, so it’s not good for a “tourist trap” style stop but if you put some forethought in you can get some impressive specimens.
There is also their “UnXplained Tours” which supposedly document supernatural phenomenon in the area. Apparently a TV show visited the site at one point, which doesn’t lend a ton of confidence, but it’s a nice little tourist distraction after you’ve mined.
The Board Cam Crystal Mine is a bit more modern of a situation than many of the smaller mines in Arkansas. That’s great for some things, but unfortunately it also means that they require reservations before you go on the dig.
The good news? It’s a forest dig! For those of us hailing from most areas that stones are found this is a welcome relief. Deserts are vast, beautiful areas but they’re also an absolute pain to mine in.
If this whole thing sounds up your alley I encourage you to check their site and see if you’re interested in making a reservation.