Where is Crater of Diamonds State Park
Located in the south-western quadrant of Arkansas, Crater of Diamonds State Park provides visitors direct access to the only diamond mine in the United States open to the public. The park also contains three hiking trails, a campground, and an aquatic playground. The closest city to Crater of Diamonds State Park is Murfreesboro. Other cities in the area include Nashville (Arkansas) and Mineral Springs. The Ouachita National Forest lies to the north of the park and is about an hour drive away from Crater of Diamonds US State Park.
How Large is Crater of Diamonds State Park
Crater of Diamonds State Park lies entirely in Arkansas and covers over 900 acres. The park’s plowed diamond field covers over 36 acres of the park and draws in most of the park’s visitors. The park’s three walking trails total 2.5 miles and are all listed at the easiest difficulty. From the diamond field, visitors have found over 29,000 diamonds throughout the years. In addition to diamonds, precious gems such as amethyst, agate, jasper, garnet and over 40 others have been found in the park.
Crater of Diamonds State Park Weather
From season to season, the weather at Crater of Diamonds State Park varies. The average summer highs in the park approach 95 degrees Fahrenheit. The season’s average lows approach 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Winter lows in Crater of Diamonds State Park approach 30 degrees Fahrenheit. The season’s average highs approach 55 degrees Fahrenheit. The state park receives an average of 70 days of rain per year. Snowfall in Crater of Diamonds State Park totals an average of one inch per year.
When did Crater of Diamonds Become a State Park
While diamonds and other gems have been found in the park’s diamond field since before 1906, Crater of Diamonds did not become a state park until 1972. The state of Arkansas purchased the site from the Arkansas Diamond Company and the Ozark Diamond Mines Corporation to establish the state park. The volcanic pipe which provides the park’s diamond field is a remaining part of a 95-million-year-old volcano.
Things to do in Crater of Diamonds State Park
Visitors arriving at Crater of Diamonds State Park are sure to find several activities to fulfill their outdoor desires. Our National Park Visitors Guide lists below the most popular adventures found in the park:
The Diamond Field
The park’s premier attraction, the Crater of Diamonds State Park diamond field is limited to 800 visitors per day. The park’s visitor center sells tickets to walk-up guests, or they can be reserved and bought online through the park’s website. In the diamond field, visitors may use their own equipment or borrow equipment from the park. Any diamond, gem, or rock a visitor finds is theirs to keep. Several notable diamonds have been found in the park, including the Strawn-Wagner diamond which received a perfect rating from the American Gem Society.
Little Missouri River Trail
The Little Missouri River Trail begins near the campground and winds through the park’s forest. The trail is 1.2 miles in length and takes an hour to complete. Most of the trail is on level terrain and eventually takes visitors to the banks of the scenic Little Missouri River. Over half of the trail is paved, which makes the Little Missouri River Trail the longest handicap accessible trail in Southwestern Arkansas.
The Prospector trail inside of Crater of Diamonds State Park is included in the entry fee to the diamond field. Visitors embarking down the Prospector Trail will learn about the park’s geological features from a first-hand perspective. The trail passes by several geological features that are uncommon in the area. The trail is just over a mile in length and normally takes visitors 45 minutes to an hour to complete.
Wildlife Observation Blind Trail
This very short trail guides visitors to the park’s observation blind. From the observation blind visitors may be able to spot several of the park’s wildlife species. Wildlife found in Crater of Diamonds State Park includes whitetail deer, gray squirrels, a plethora of avian species, armadillos, and others. The walk to the observation blind normally only takes visitors about 15 minutes to complete.
Diamond Springs Water Park
During the summer season, there is no better way to cool off from a long day of digging for diamonds than the Diamond Springs Water Park. The park features several pools, slides, and other water recreation equipment. Tickets to the waterpark are separate from the diamond field. Tickets for individuals over 42 inches are $10, whereas tickets for individuals under 42 inches are six dollars. Chaperone tickets are two dollars.
Camping at Crater of Diamonds State Park
The park’s campground features 47 AAA campsites complete with electric and water hookups near the Little Missouri River. The campground also contains five walk-in tent sites, numerous picnic areas, a camp store, giftshop, and the Kimberlite Cafe which is open during the summer season only. Reservations for the campgrounds 47 AAA campsites can be made online through the park’s website.
When to Visit Crater of Diamonds State Park
A trip to Crater of Diamonds State Park is enjoyable anytime of the year. However, visitors arriving at the park during the summer season will experience the most the park has to offer. During the summer season, the park’s water park and camp cafe are open. Arkansas summer temperatures also frequently bring days of sunshine. Trips in the spring, fall, and winter are also enjoyable. The park’s winter is rather mild in terms of precipitation. However, campers looking to visit the park in fall or winter will want to bring additional blankets and layers of clothing along with them.
Must-Haves to Bring to Crater of Diamonds State Park
Every trip to one of the nation’s state parks requires a little packing and planning. Thankfully, this list below will make your packing just that much easier. Compiled below is a list of essential items you will need to bring with you to Crater of Diamonds State Park.
Nothing can dehydrate a person like the hot Arkansas summer sun can. Water is a necessity for every visitor to the park. Hikers, prospectors, and campers should always bring extra water along with them to the park.
Energy Filled Snacks
The snacks List of Parks recommends for campers, hikers, and prospectors to bring along with them to the park are beef jerky, trail mix, dried fruit, and protein bars. These snacks are lightweight and high energy making them easy to store away inside a pocket or backpack.
No one wants to arrive at the Crater of Diamonds State Park diamond field only to remember they forgot their digging equipment back at home. On occasion the state park has extra equipment that it loans out. However, the best practice is to bring your own equipment if you have it. You never know, maybe you will find the park’s next perfect diamond.
Every wildlife enthusiast and birder visiting Crater of Diamonds State Park should look to bring their binoculars along with them to the park. These will become exceptionally handy on the park’s observation tower where visitors can spot various species of wildlife.
Along the same lines of bringing binoculars to the park, visitors equipped with a proper US or Arkansas specific wildlife guide will be able to identify species easily. Fun tip: take your US field guide with you on all your state park adventures and jot down where and when you found each new species.
During the summer months, the park’s Diamond Springs Waterpark is a refreshing treat. Visitors arriving at Crater of Diamonds State Park during the months of May through September will want to make sure they bring their swimsuits along to the park.
Where to stay in Crater of Diamonds State Park
Visitors looking to stay in the park’s campground should make reservations through the park’s website. Individuals looking to visit the park during the summer should make reservations months beforehand as occasionally the campground does reach capacity. Tent campers looking to occupy one of the park’s walk-in sites should arrive at the campground early in the day. Visitors looking to stay in a nearby hotel should try options in Murfreesboro, Nashville, or Mineral Springs. The closest large city to Crater of Diamonds State Park is Texarkana. The city is about an hour drive away from the state park.
Food Nearby Crater of Diamonds State Park
During the summer season, Crater of Diamonds State Park operates the Kimberlite Cafe at which visitors can stop in to grab a bite to eat. Other restaurants visitors can visit are located in Murfreesboro, Nashville, and Mineral Springs. The park’s website also features a list of local establishments offering food and groceries.
Airports Near Crater of Diamonds State Park
The closest airport to Crater of Diamonds State Park is located in Texarkana. The airport is 44 miles away from the park. The next closest airports to the park are located in Little Rock, Shreveport, and Monroe. These airports are 96, 110, and 142 miles away from Crater of Diamonds State Park.