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Oklahoma Rockhounding Location Guide & Map

Oklahoma Rockhounding Location Guide & Map

Oklahoma is an often overlooked and underrated state for rockhounding. It is easy to dismiss when compared to its neighbors like New Mexico and Colorado, but Oklahoma is home to some truly unique rock and mineral specimens that can’t be found anywhere else in the United States. Central Oklahoma is the ‘rose rock’ capital of the world, and the northeastern corner of the state is part of a commercially important lead and zinc mining district. Western Oklahoma is home to many gypsum mines, but rockhounds will be more interested in the agates and petrified wood which can be found in relative abundance in the southwest.

The best place to rockhound in Oklahoma is Great Salt Plains State Park where you can find ‘hourglass’ selenite crystals in abundance. Central Oklahoma, particularly near Noble, is the only place to find rose rocks. You can also find agates and petrified wood in gravels across western Oklahoma.

State Symbols
State MineralSelenite
State RockRose Rock (Barite)
State Gemstone
State FossilSaurophaganax Maximus
Source

Rose Rock
Rose Rock

This article will dive deeper into the many great rockhounding sites across the state (along with maps), but I’d like to highlight a few standouts here. The top 10 rockhounding sites for rocks and minerals in Oklahoma:

When compared to other states, Oklahoma is fairly lacking in the diversity of rock and mineral varieties contained within its borders. That being said, there are still many interesting rocks and minerals which can be found by a dedicated and determined collector, some of which are almost entirely unique to the state of Oklahoma (namely, hourglass selenite crystals and rose rocks).

The most commonly found and collected rocks and minerals in Oklahoma are:

  • Agate
  • Selenite
  • Petrified wood
  • Rose Rocks (barite)
  • Quartz crystals
  • Jasper
  • Calcite
  • Barite
  • Pyrite
Hourglass Selenite Crystals
Hourglass Selenite Crystals

Through quite a bit of research and cross-referencing of available literature, I have compiled this list of some prospective locations in Oklahoma which I would recommend to people looking to do some rockhounding. These are mostly comprised of lake shores, old mining prospects, washes, streams, and historically known rock and mineral collecting sites. For additional reading, I’d highly recommend these books you can find on Amazon:

Please remember that rock collecting locations are constantly changing. Specimens may become depleted from other collectors, the location may have been built on or altered, locality information in literature may be inaccurate, and property ownership may have changed hands. Joining up with a local rockhounding club for a group trip can often get you access to otherwise off-limits locations like privately owned mines and quarries. There are many rockhounding clubs in Oklahoma so you can most likely find one you like nearby.

Though there are many locations listed here, this list is far from exhaustive. A location’s listing here is not a guarantee of accuracy. Be safe, never go underground, and make sure to get permission from the landowner to search for and collect specimens.

If you’re planning on heading to the field, make sure you have all the gear you’ll need! To get started, you can check out my recommended gear page which contains my full reviews for every Geologist’s favorite rock hammer and the best hiking backpack I’ve ever owned.

Rockhounding Sites in Oklahoma

Western Oklahoma & Panhandle Rockhounding Sites

Western Oklahoma is arguably the best part of the state for rockhounding thanks to its relative proximity to the foothills of the Rockies. Agates and other quartz family minerals like petrified wood and jasper can be found in the gravels of streams and rivers all across the region. The highlight of western Oklahoma rockhounding is undoubtedly the Great Salt Plains State Park where you can dig for high quality ‘hourglass’ selenite crystals. These unique specimens can only be found in a few select locations around the world, and in Oklahoma they can be found in abundance and with relative ease.

LocationRocks & Minerals
Great Salt Plains (fee)Selenite crystals, halite
Beckham County, area quarriesAlabaster, Selenite, Petrified wood
Apache, quarries to SWCalcite crystals (fluorescent)
Tri-State Marker, on a hillAgate (rose agate)
Carrizozo Creek, in gravelsAgate (rose agate), Agatized algae, Agatized cyad wood
Randlett, E in fissures in red shalesMalachite
Seiling & Taloga, area surfacesAgate, Jadeite, Jasper, Petrified wood
Wichita Mountains, area minesAmphiboles, Zircon
Mangum, area quarriesAlabaster, Quartz crystals
Mangum, general area to NAgatized wood
Buffalo, area gravels and surfacesAgate, Chalcedony, Chert, Jasper
Rosston, on twin buttes to NEAragonite
Altus, area washes, draws, and gravelsQuartz (smoky quartz crystals)
Alva, all area washes, gravels, esp. to SAgate (banded, mossy), Chalcedony, Chert, Jasper

Central Oklahoma and OKC Rockhounding Sites

Central Oklahoma doesn’t have much in the way of diversity when it comes to rocks and minerals, but what it does have is plenty of rose rocks! Barite roses are the state’s official rock, and they can be found in abundance in Central Oklahoma. These barite crystals form in the Garber Sandstone formation which outcrops in a north-south trending line through the center of the state. Noble, OK is the ‘rose rock capital of the world’ and even hosts an annual festival in their honor.

You can also find rose rocks on the shores of many of the local lakes in the area including Lake Thunderbird and Lake Stanley Draper. My parents built a house out by Lake Thunderbird about 10 years ago and while they were digging the foundation the property was littered with rose rocks! If you’re digging for your own, it is reported that they tend to be contained within the hardest soils so let that guide your search.

LocationRocks & Minerals
Blaine County, regional quarriesPriceite, Proberite, Ulexite, Borate minerals
Southard, area quarriesPriceite, Proberite, Ulexite, Borate minerals
Noble, exposures of Garber SandstoneRose Rocks (barite)
El Reno, in N. Canadian River gravelsAgate, Jasper, Petrified wood
Paoli, area to SE in red sandstoneMalachite
Lake Thunderbird, at Denver CornerRose Rocks (barite)
Oklahoma City, Trosper ParkRose Rocks (barite)
Lake Stanley DraperRose Rocks (barite)

Eastern Oklahoma and Tulsa Rockhounding Sites

Eastern Oklahoma has quite a few great rockhounding sites, but from a geologic standpoint it is most well known for the northeastern corner being a part of the Tri-State lead and zinc mining district. Here, many local mines and quarries can be a source of interesting rocks and minerals including aragonite, calcite, galena, marcasite, and sphalerite. For easier, more accessible rockhounding try checking out the washes and draws around the town of Antlers or the area just to the west of Spavinaw dam.

LocationRocks & Minerals
Tenmile Creek, in shaleGrahamite
Atoka, area quarriesNovaculite (chert)
Lehigh, area minesManganese minerals
Holdenville, area to NBarite (clear crystal masses)
Mill Creek, area quarries and minesManganese minerals
Old Thompson RanchBarite, Iron oxides
Miami, regional mines and quarriesAragonite, Barite, Calcite, Chalcopyrite, Chert, Dolomite, Galena, Gypsum, Marcasite, Quartz crystals, Pyrite, Sphalerite, etc.
Peoria, area minesCalamine, Cerussite, Galena
Antlers, all area washes, draws, gravels, etc.Quartz (green quartz crystals)
Lake Spavinaw, area to W of damCerussite, Galena, Magnetite, Goethite, Pyrite, Quartz crystals, Dolomite
Tahlequah, road cut W of Illinois RiverPyrite crystals

Where to Find Geodes in Oklahoma

Geodes are extremely popular specimens with rockhounds wherever you are in the world, and Oklahoma is no exception. Unfortunately, there are virtually no confirmed cases of actual geodes being found in Oklahoma, but don’t despair! While there are no actual geodes to be found in Oklahoma, similar geologic specimens locally known as ‘Oklahoma mudballs’ can be found on the shores of Lake Arcadia and Lake Thunderbird, and in dried ponds as far south as Tecumseh.

These mud balls form when sediment suspended in a lake congeal and eventually dry out, leaving internal cracks within the dried mud. As they settle into the sediment, the void space left by the dried out cracks is gradually filled in by minerals precipitating out of the water seeping through the voids.

Geode
Geode

Where to Find Crystals and Gemstones in Oklahoma

Jasper
Jasper

There is nothing quite like uncovering a quartz crystal with a perfect termination or finding a beautiful agate that has been waiting in a river bank for you to come along and take it home. Gemstones are some of the most enjoyable specimens that rockhounds can find, but it’s not always easy to know where to look.

Tip: Check out my Complete Rock Tumbling Guide to make your rocks and gemstones really shine!

While Oklahoma certainly isn’t the best state in the U.S. for crystal hunting there are definitely plenty of places where you can search with a reasonable chance of finding something worthwhile. There are several places where you may be able to find quartz and calcite crystals, and in many areas of western Oklahoma you can find semiprecious gemstones like agates and jasper.

The best places to find crystals and gemstones in Oklahoma are:

Where to Find Rose Rocks in Oklahoma

Barite Rose Rock
Barite Rose Rock

Rose rocks are the official state rock of Oklahoma, and for good reason. Other than a few very minor occurrences, barite rose rocks are entirely unique to the state of Oklahoma. They are primarily made up of barite crystals, with each crystal resembling a single ‘petal’ of the rose. They can come in large clusters but are typically between golf ball and fist sized. The largest that I have personally seen found is a little larger than a softball.

Oklahoma rose rocks form in the Garber sandstone, which is a red-colored sandstone that outcrops in a north-south trending line running right through the center of the state. Freshly weathered rock or dug up soil in this sandstone trend will be your best bet for finding your own rose rock. If you can find one you will likely find a lot of them, as they tend to form in clusters.

The best places to find rose rocks in Oklahoma are in sandstone exposures in the town of Noble, the shores of central Oklahoma lakes such as Lake Thunderbird and Lake Stanley Draper when water levels are low, and stream beds which cut through red sandstone such as those in Trosper Park.

Oklahoma Rockhounding Laws & Regulations

One of the most common questions rockhounds have is whether or not they are allowed to collect at a certain location. It is the responsibility of each rockhound to obtain permission from a landowner to search and/or collect on a piece of property.

The ownership and status of land can and does change frequently, making it impossible to document accurate information for every location on this page. However, I have compiled a list of resources here so that you may investigate and obtain permission for any locations (found here or elsewhere) for yourself.

Public Land Resources

I have written entire articles which cover the rockhounding laws and regulations for nearly every type of public land you can think of. I encourage you to check them out if you are curious about the legalities of rock and mineral collecting.

To determine what type of public land a particular location is on, I would recommend starting with the Oklahoma Land Access Program’s maps.

Private Land Resources

As with most states, each county in Oklahoma will have records of who owns each piece of property. You can also usually get the landowner’s name and address by visiting the county records office. I would probably start by contacting the assessor in whatever county you’re interested in and getting whatever contact information you can for the landowner.

Sources & Further Reading

The locations and information contained in this article are primarily derived from academic papers, online resources, and other outside sources. If you would like to read some of the source material for yourself I have listed them below. The majority of these locations are my interpretation of Robert Beste’s A Location Guide for Rock Hounds in the United States. Other sources include: