Photograph the Salt Flats at Great Salt Plains State Park

Rate this Adventure Crystal Digging Area

With around 11,000 acres of endless white salt embedded hourglass shaped selenite crystals available for digging, the salt flats of Great Salt Plains State Park are an out-of-this world natural wonder to photograph. 

Located in western Oklahoma and close to Great Salt Plains Lake, is the salt flats of Great Salt Plains State Park. With nearly 18 square miles of layers of salt that had been deposited from a prehistoric ocean, it is quite an incredible landscape to photograph. There are hundreds of species of birds that are protected in this location and are beautiful for photographs as well. The best time to photograph the salt flats are just before sunset and right after sunrise on the weekdays. Additionally, the area contains countless hourglass selenite crystals. This is the only area in the entire world that allows these crystals to be dug up by the public for free. Be careful when driving through the designated access roads, as the surface is very shallow and muddy. Also, be mindful of areas closed off to the public. These areas are restricted on a rotating basis to ensure that the birds remain protected and that the new selenite crystals receive adequate time to grow.

To access the salt flats of Great Salt Plains State Park, take a left out of the state park entrance on highway 38 and proceed until you reach the junction for Highway 11. Take a left on Highway 11 to head west. At the junction of Highway 8, take a left to head south. 3 miles south of the town of Cherokee, you will see a large sign for the salt flats on your left hand side. You will take a left at that sign on to a 5 mile paved road. The salt flats are accessible April 1 through October 15 each year, sunrise to sunset. There is an observation deck near the parking lot to get an aerial view of the salt flats, and it is open year round.

Pack List

  • Hiking sneakers or shoes that you don't mind getting dirty/muddy
  • Clothes that you don't mind getting dirty/muddy
  • Camera
  • Polarizer for camera
  • Sunscreen
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Hand shovel and pail if you want to dig for selenite crystals
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Activities Chillin, Photography
Skill Level Beginner
Season Summer
Features
Beach
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Groups
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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