Great Salt Plains - Atlas Obscura

Great Salt Plains

Jet, Oklahoma

This unique landscape is the only place in the world to dig for hourglass-selenite crystals.  


Millennia ago, a shallow sea covered this area in Oklahoma. Its legacy is the Great Salt Plains, a salt lake and 11,000 acres of salt flats atop a saltwater aquifer in the middle of the Great Plains. The area is now a state park and a wildlife refuge.

More than 300 protected species of birds call the region home or stop by during seasonal migrations, and large game animals seek out the salt plains for nutrients, which historically made it a coveted hunting area among Indigenous people.

The most unique trait of the Great Salt Plains hides just underground: a rare form of selenite crystal called hourglass selenite, so called because the crystal tapers in the middle to form an hourglass shape. (They are also the state crystal of Oklahoma!)

The Salt Plains are the only place in the world where such crystals form, and from April to October the public can hunt for them in the park and dig up these geological wonders.

Know Before You Go

If you plan to dig for crystals, prepare to get dirty and muddy. Also note that you’ll want to follow signs for the digging areas, which are located west of the town of Jet and southwest of Great Salt Plains Lake, rather than drive to the Visitor’s Center.

Since 2020, a vehicle fee of $10 has been instituted, or $8 for Oklahoma residents.

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