Travelers can spend spring break searching for diamonds in Southwest Arkansas.
If you're planning to visit the Crater of Diamonds State Park in the next few weeks, a few tips can help you make the most of your time at the park.
Check the weather forecast as you pack for your trip. Spring at the park can be rainy, with temperatures ranging from the 40s to the high 70s. Dress in layers and be prepared to be outside. Wear a hat and sunscreen for sun protection, and bring old shoes or rubber boots if rain is predicted. On cold mornings, wear a pair of rubber gloves to help keep your hands warm and dry if you are wet-sifting.
The park's website, craterofdiamondsstatepark.com, also has resources to help prepare for your visit, including photos of uncut diamonds and videos that illustrate the most successful searching methods. You can find answers to questions that many of our first-time guests have, as well as information about the park's history and geology.
The diamond search area is open daily until 4 p.m. this time of year, and tickets purchased after 3 p.m. are also good for the following day. If you are staying nearby and arrive a day before your visit, plan an afternoon preview trip to get a head start. Spend an hour exploring the search area and finding good places to look for diamonds. Diamonds are a bit heavy for their size and are often found near larger, heavier rocks and minerals. Many visitors find diamonds where water has washed through the field and left gravel behind.
The park rents equipment and sells small hand tools, but you may also bring your own buckets, shovels and screens. Many visitors build their own screens with 1/16-inch aluminum or steel mesh to catch smaller diamonds and gravel while removing dirt. No battery-operated or motor-driven mining equipment is allowed in the search area.
Continue diamond searching by taking gravel home. The park allows each visitor to remove up to 5 gallons of sifted gravel (no dirt) from the search area daily to search for diamonds later. Of all diamonds registered at the park, almost half are found by visitors who carefully examine their sifted gravel after leaving the park.
With spring just ahead, we are looking forward to sharing a great diamond searching experience with thousands of new and returning park visitors.