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Where to Rockhound in Oklahoma (and What You Can Find)

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The state of Oklahoma was once part of the legendary Tri-State Mining District, along with Missouri and Kansas. Though not the richest mineral resources, this state has many great natural gem deposits, mines open to the public for gemstone hunting, and awesome museums with unique exhibitions. But where to Rockhound in Oklahoma?

Oklahoma’s southwest, southcentral, and southeastern portions are the best for rockhounding. The Comanche County – Lawton area, McCurtain County, and Garvin County contain several locations for gemstone hunting, primarily in the mining stones available to the public, among other places.

You can find quartz, malachite, aegirine, orthoclase, barite, dolomite crystals, petrified wood, agate, jasper, dinosaur fossils, and more. Other great minerals include gypsum, which is abundant in the western part of Oklahoma, like the Alabaster Caverns State Park, the largest gypsum cave in the world, and the hourglass selenite, which is one of Oklahoma’s official crystals, or the barite rose, Oklahoma’s official state rock.

Read on to find out exactly where to go in Oklahoma for rockhounding and what you might find.

Where to Rockhound in Oklahoma
Where to Rockhound in Oklahoma

If you want to check out the best book about rockhounding in Oklahoma, you can find it here (Amazon link).

Best Places for Rockhounding in Oklahoma State

Famous for its rich zinc mines, Oklahoma is also relatively abundant in fossils, including that of dinosaurs and many different types of gems, minerals, and more. Here are the best places for rockhounding in Oklahoma,

  • Cherokee City

The official state crystal of Oklahoma is the hourglass selenite. This material is a crystallized version of gypsum, an abundant mineral commonly found in western Oklahoma, such as Alfalfa County.

Gypsum is made of calcium sulfate and comes in various colors, such as white, pink, and green, among others, and its best specimens come into crystalline clusters.

The hourglass crystal is quite common in the ancient salt plains in north-central Oklahoma, the only place where this variety of gypsum occurs.

The Alabaster Caverns State Park, located in the town of Freedom, is the largest gypsum cave in the world that is available to the public.

  • City of Noble

Another official state material of Oklahoma is the barite rock. It is also known as the “rose rock,” it forms in sedimentary environments like cement in sandstone.

The rose rocks of Oklahoma are twinned crystals of barite that often resemble an opened rose, usually appearing reddish-brown due to the oxidized iron. They were formed during the Permian Age.

This rock is found in a few places on Earth, yet it is abundant in central Oklahoma, such as in the town of Noble. Because of this and their rarity, these rocks have an annual festival celebrating them, called the Rose Rock Festival, and even a dedicated museum, the Rose Rock Museum.

Rose Rock of Oklahoma (source)

This rock is found in a few places on Earth, yet it is abundant in central Oklahoma, such as in the town of Noble. Because of this and their rarity, these rocks have an annual festival celebrating them, called the Rose Rock Festival, and even a dedicated museum, the Rose Rock Museum.

  • Lawton City

When it comes to quartz and malachite, the county of Comanche, located in the Lawton area, has many locations for gemstone hunting, like the Hale Copper Mine in Sandy Creek, the Gypsum quarry in Fletcher, and the American Girl Mine located in Lawton.

  • Idabel City

McCurtain County, located near the city of Idabel, is another great place for quartz. The Stevens Gap Recreational Area in Broken Bow Lake, Watson, the Buffalo mines, and the Johnson copper prospect are great places for rockhounding enthusiasts.

A great museum to visit in McCurtain County is the Museum of Red River. This museum exhibits the Acrocanthosaurus tokens, which were found in McCurtain County.

  • Jet Town

The Garvin County, specifically the Teepee Queen Copper Company, provides public access to many other unique materials.

The Salt Plain National Wildlife Refuge, situated west of the town of Jet, is a great place for rockhounding; however, collecting materials is subject to federal restrictions, and selling crystals taken from this place is unlawful.

  • Norman City

If you are interested in geology museums, Oklahoma has many interesting sites. The Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, located in the city of Norman, south of downtown Oklahoma, is one of the world’s largest university-based natural history museums.

Many impressive fossils and dinosaur skeletons are displayed here, such as the Apatosaurus skeleton, the largest land vertebrate, with a skull almost ten feet high.

  • Enid City

Another great museum to visit is the Midgley Museum (Rock House), located in Enid, 85 miles away from Oklahoma. This museum is unique.

It was the home of Dan and Libby Midgley, a couple that collected rocks, fossils, and petrified wood and used them to build their home.

Midgley Museum (Rock House), Oklahoma
Midgley Museum (Rock House), Oklahoma (source)

Around 34 different kinds of stones were used to create this beautiful place. Most of these materials were collected from Oklahoma, near Lake Texoma, while the fossilized redwood was found near Woodward, Oklahoma.

TIP: When you own some rocks, you might consider making them look more beautiful. Actually, you can do it just with your hands. Find out how to do it in this article:
Can You Tumble Rocks Without a Tumbler? Step-by-Step Guide

Rocks, Minerals, and Crystals You Can Find in Oklahoma

Nearly 99% of the rocks that can be seen at or near the earth’s surface in Oklahoma are sedimentary rocks.

Category / TypeLocations
Rocks (Sedimentary) 
LimestoneArbuckle Mountains of southern Oklahoma, Ouachita Mountains, northeast Ozark Plateau
ShaleNatural Falls State Park, southeast Oklahoma, Ouachita Mountains, Arbuckle Mountains
Gypsum and DolomiteWestern Oklahoma, Alabaster Caverns State Park in northwest Oklahoma
SandstoneNear Hinton, in western Oklahoma, Red Rock Canyon State Park
Rocks (Metamorphic) 
SlateSalt Plains National Wildlife Refuge, in Alfalfa County, northern Oklahoma, north of Jet, or along the Great Salt Plains Lake
PhylliteWest of Broken Bow, on the south side of State Highway 3, west of the Glover River
Rocks (Igneous) 
Granite, RhyoliteWichita Mountains, southwest Oklahoma – Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge, north and northwest of Tishomingo
BasaltBlack Mesa, at the northwest tip of the Oklahoma Panhandle near Black Mesa State Park
Malachite  McCurtain County in the southeastern corner of Oklahoma, Comanche County in Lawton
Aegirine  McCurtain County, in the southeast corner of Oklahoma, the city of Idabel
Orthoclase  McCurtain County, in the southeast corner of Oklahoma, the city of Idabel
BrochantiteIn south-central Oklahoma, Garvin County
BariteMcCurtain County in the southeastern corner of Oklahoma, or the city of Noble, south of Norman
SeleniteSalt Plains National Wildlife Refuge, in the Alfalfa County, northern Oklahoma, north of Jet, or along the Great Salt Plains Lake
  QuartzIn southeastern Oklahoma, the Ouachita Mountains, southwestern Oklahoma, Wichita Mountains
List of rocks, minerals & crystals you can find in Oklahoma

Oklahoma has many different types of gemstones, minerals, and other interesting materials. In Comanche County and McCurtain County, quartz, malachite, aegirine, orthoclase, and barite are common.

However, if you want a more unusual gemstone, such as brochantite, you must go to Garvin County. In the Ouachita and Wichita Mountains, plenty of quartz is available.

Dolomite crystals are also common in Oklahoma and are mined quite extensively. These crystals are made of magnesium and calcium carbonate, varying in color from white to pink and cream.

Gypsum and barite rose are also popular collectible gemstones in Oklahoma, with the barite rose being the state rock of Oklahoma since 1968. Another famous crystal, the hourglass selenite, has been the official state crystal of Oklahoma since 2005.

Selenite crystals are also available to collect at the Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge. Here, you can encounter single, cluster, or penetration twin crystals. Enthusiasts are however allowed only 10 pounds of crystals and one large cluster to collect.

When it comes to collecting fossils in Oklahoma, they are mostly invertebrates from various species, such as mollusks, trilobites, snails, and sea corals, but plant fossils are also frequently found. Petrified wood is also abundant in Oklahoma.

The state fossil of Oklahoma is of the Saurophaganax Maximus dinosaur from the 2000s. Oklahoma is the only place where the fossils of this ancient predator that roamed the land around 150 million years ago are found.

Dinosaur fossils are quite common in Oklahoma, with the Acrocanthosaurus tokens being the state dinosaur since 2006.

This ancient beast roamed the lands around 100 million years ago and lived around 45 million years before the reign of the famous Tyrannosaurus rex.

TIP: Check out the article below if you are interested in the complete guide on gold prospecting in Oklahoma:
Gold Prospecting in Oklahoma: 3 Best Locations & Laws

FAQs about Rockhounding in Oklahoma

I still have not found the answer to your questions about rockhounding in Oklahoma. Find frequently asked questions in the section below:

Where can I dig for rose rocks in Oklahoma?

The Barite rose rock has been the official rock state of Oklahoma since 1968. The amount of barite crystals found in Oklahoma is the highest in the world, with the town of Noble being the place where this rock is the most abundant.

These rocks are mostly found in ditches and gullies where erosion or road construction has occurred. Some specimens are highly prized, making them a great new addition to any collection.

When the water level is low, some rose rocks can be found around Lake Stanley Draper or Lake Thunderbird. The best season to search for these rose-shaped rocks is during fall and winter.

This is because weeds and grasses are dormant; thus, the rose rocks are exposed and thus easier to find. Rose rocks range in quality, while their average size is between half to 4 inches in diameter. The town of Noble has been nicknamed the Rose Rock Capital of the world.

Can you find geodes in Oklahoma?

Geodes can be found in Oklahoma. Lake Thunderbird in central Oklahoma is well known for its crystallized rocks. They have been found even further south, such as in dry ponds and lake beds, in Pottawatomie County, and specifically in the town of Tecumseh.

The colors of the crystals found in these geodes range from white, green, and grey/metallic to brownish-gray or silver.

Where can you find fossils in Oklahoma?

Oklahoma has a vast fossil record spanning all three eras of the Phanerozoic Eon. This state is the most powerful source of Pennsylvanian fossils in the U.S. since it has a complete geologic record of the epoch.

From the Cambrian to the Devonian, Oklahoma was covered by the sea and populated by creatures such as brachiopods, bryozoans, graptolites, and trilobites.

Most of the fossils left behind were removed due to erosion. However, many specimens have remained nonetheless, with the Saurophaganax Maximus being the state fossil of Oklahoma since the 2000s.

Oklahoma is famous for its abundance of trilobite fossils, which were marine arthropods that lived around 540 million years ago. The remains of these ancient dinosaurs and other creatures can be found across the state, from footprints in the Panhandle to Quartz Mountain, from Fort Still to active “digs” across the whole of Oklahoma.

BTW: Do you want to know more about rock and mineral identification? The books listed below are the best ones you can find on the internet (Amazon links):

If you want to know more about rockhounding in Oklahoma or prefer paper books, I recommend buying the book Roadside Geology of Oklahoma. I found this book very useful and clearly written. You can buy it here (Amazon link).

TIP: And now it’s time for rockhounding! Grab your rockhounding equipment and start digging for amazing rocks in Oklahoma. If you are not sure what tools you need, check out this complete guide with all rockhounding tools you need:
The Complete Guide: All Tools You Need for Rockhounding