Crater of Diamonds State Park is a popular attraction in Arkansas because it has a lot of diamonds and a finders keepers policy. You can find valuable diamonds at the state park in addition to other beautiful gems like amethysts and garnet.
The field where you can go gem hunting is 37 1/2-acres large, giving you plenty of space for finding gems. You can either rent equipment at the state park or bring your own. Increase your chances of finding gems by implementing the following Crater of Diamonds State Park tips.
1. Try Planning Your Trip During Spring, Summer, or Autumn
This may very well be the most important of all Crater of Diamonds State Park tips, and here’s why. Employees plow the field at the state park on a monthly basis, except for during the winter. When they plow the field, more diamonds rise to the surface. Therefore, you’ll have a higher chance at finding gems during the spring, summer, and autumn. The state park doesn’t inform visitors of when they’ll plow the field. It’s kept a secret when they plow, so don’t worry about the specific date you choose.
Crater of Diamonds State Park is also closed during major holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Check beforehand that they’ll be open on the day you want to visit. Also be aware that their hours sometimes change with the seasons.
2. Use the Right Tools for Gem Hunting
Several tools that are good for gem hunting are flowerbed trowels, plastic buckets, full-sized shovels, and sifting screens. Crater of Diamonds State Park allows you to bring your own tools, but you have the option of renting tools from them too. If you don’t want to haul a large shovel with you, consider renting one from the state park. It’s only $10 to rent a basic diamond hunting kit that includes a folding shovel, bucket, and screen set. For those who prefer bringing their own tools, you can buy a folding shovel for greater ease of transport.
Image Source: Flickr
3. Wear the Right Clothing
You should wear comfortable clothing that you don’t mind getting dirty. Remember you’ll be digging through dirt the whole day. An accessory you should bring that many people forget about is knee pads. You will be able to search longer for gems when you protect your knees with knee pads. The state park rents out knee pads for $4 per day. Also bring boots with you to the park in case it has rained recently. Sorting through mud in tennis shoes isn’t comfortable.
4. Look at Pictures of Diamonds in the Rough
An unusual entry on our Crater of Diamonds State Park tips list is to know what to look for. Diamonds look different when they’re found in the ground, so you should look at pictures of diamonds in the rough to know what you’re looking for. In Arkansas, diamonds are brown, yellow, or white. You can usually see into them but not entirely through them. They are commonly smooth and well-rounded too. Despite being found in the ground, diamonds aren’t dirty. Their oily film protects them from dirt.
Most diamonds are small as well. A one carat diamond is around the size of a green pea. Diamonds in the rough also have a metallic luster, rather than a solid dull. If you’ve found any diamonds, Crater of Diamonds State Park will identify and certify them for you at the Diamond Discovery Center free of charge. Even if you’re only interested in finding diamonds at the park, keep any gems you find in case they are diamonds or another valuable stone.
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5. Choose the Right Technique
The last of the Crater of Diamonds State Park tips would be to choose the perfect method for gem sifting. Here are the most effective techniques:
Surface searching is a good technique for gem hunting. To surface search, walk around and examine the ground for gems. You’ll sometimes find them at the surface of the soil. Surface searching is often most lucrative after a hard rain because it washes away soil, revealing more gems at the top.
It’s possible to find diamonds using the surface search method. Their smooth, slick exterior makes them more noticeable. You can walk along each plowed row to surface search or sit down to inspect small areas. Use tweezers or a pocket knife to easily pick up gems and minerals. While surface searching, you can also use a hand trowel to swipe away gravel in low lying areas to expose more gems.
Dry sifting is another method you can use to hunt for gems, but it can only be done when the soil is dry. Use a hand trowel to scoop two to three piles of dirt into a mesh box screen. Then, sift the dirt in the screen to reveal gems. Diamonds are easy to spot during dry sifting because of their metallic shine and smooth, rounded surface. Sift dirt over the same area to avoid sifting dirt that has already been looked through.
The last of our Crater of Diamonds State Park tips and one of the quickest ways to go through the dirt searching for gems is wet shifting. You’ll need to shovel dirt into a bucket, then wet shift it in water with a double screen set at the washing pavilion. The best areas for collecting dirt to wet sift are low areas with heavy gravel. You can find diamonds near small, heavy rocks and minerals. These areas are good for collecting dirt to wet sift through. When you wet sift, make sure the large mesh screen is set on top of the small mesh screen. You should also pile dirt into the top wet screen; don’t place it in between the screens.
While holding the screen set together, shake it in the water. Set the screen aside to dry. Once it’s dry, look through the gravel for gems. You can use the smaller screen to wet sift the finer gravel. Rock the sides of the screen and then turn it to rock again. This process causes gravel to gather in the center. Tap the screen in the water after a few repetitions to spread the gravel into a flat, even layer. Flip the screen upside down on a table to cause the heaviest gravel to appear on top of the pile. This makes it easier to find the gems.
Crater of Diamonds State Park is one of the best places to go gem hunting. They have an abundance of diamonds and let visitors keep any gem they find regardless of how valuable it is. If you want to return home with a nice assortment of gems, follow the Crater of Diamonds State Park tips listed above. It’s not guaranteed that you’ll find a diamond, but you’re more likely to when you know how to effectively hunt for gems.
How you search for diamonds usually depends on how much time you have to search or weather conditions at the park.
There are three methods of diamond searching. Surface searching consists of walking up and down the rows of dirt looking for diamonds lying on top of the ground. This is the most productive method following a hard rain. Rain washes the soil away, leaving diamonds and other rocks and minerals exposed on the surface.
Most visitors like to dig in the soil and screen for diamonds. This usually involves searching through the first six inches to one foot of soil. Visitors can turn the soil over with a small hand tool while looking in the loose soil. Some visitors like to use a screen to sift the soil.
The third method of diamond hunting requires a lot of hard work, and previous experience is helpful. This method is usually preferred by the repeat or regular visitor, and involves digging deep holes, removing the right type soil, washing the soil in a series of screens and patiently hand sorting the concentrated gravels from the screens. Some searchers look for low areas in the field where diamonds may have settled out over the years, or for tailings from the earlier commercial mining plants of the 20’s and 30’s. Tailings are the waste gravel that went out of the plant. Over the years, these tailing piles were covered by topsoil. The experienced regular hunters look for the tiny gravel, dig it up and wash it again by hand, looking for the small diamonds.
One of the only places in the world where the public can search for real diamonds in their original volcanic source, Crater of Diamonds is a one-of-a-kind experience that brings people from all over the world to Murfreesboro, Arkansas. Visitors to the park search a 37-acre field, the eroded surface of a volcanic crater, for a variety of rocks, minerals, and gemstones – and any rock or mineral you find is yours to keep. You may bring your own mining equipment to search with (no battery-operated or motor-driven mining tools allowed), or rent tools from the park.
Your diamond search begins here, where you can prepare for your visit by learning about diamonds and how to search for them. At the park’s visitor center, you can view real, uncut diamonds and interact with exhibits illustrating the area’s unique history and geology. At the Diamond Discovery Center, you can learn more about rocks and minerals found at the park and how to search for diamonds using various techniques. Diamonds come in all colors of the rainbow: the three colors found here at the park are white, brown, and yellow. Amethyst, garnet, jasper, agate, quartz, and other rocks and minerals naturally occur here. Park staff provide complimentary identification of rocks and minerals found at the park, as well as diamond mining demonstrations and other interpretive programs.
More than 33,100 diamonds have been found by park visitors since the Crater of Diamonds became an Arkansas state park in 1972. Notable diamonds found at the Crater include the 40.23-carat Uncle Sam, the largest diamond ever unearthed in the U.S.; the 16.37-carat Amarillo Starlight; the 15.33-carat Star of Arkansas; and the 8.52-carat Esperanza.
Other amenities include walking trails, picnic sites, 47 Class AAA campsites (50 Amp/30 Amp/Water/Sewer), 5 walk-in tent sites, a gift shop, and Diamond Springs Water Park (seasonal), which is a great place to cool off after a summer day of digging for diamonds.
Noreen Wredberg and her husband, Michael, weren’t really expecting to find anything at Arkansas’ Crater of Diamonds State Park, she said, and she wasn’t sure what she had found when she picked up a stone.
A Northern California couple found a 4.38-carat yellow diamond while visiting Arkansas, making it the biggest piece of bling found this year at a state park known for yielding the shiny stones.
Noreen and Michael Wredberg took a trip to two national parks in Arkansas last month, then decided on a whim to travel an hour south to Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro. About 40 minutes into their walk, Noreen saw something sparkly on the ground.
“I didn’t know it was a diamond then, but it was clean and shiny, so I picked it up,” she told park officials, according to a news release. “We really didn’t think we would find one, let alone something that big.”
Since retiring in 2011, Noreen and her husband Michael have spent much of their leisure time traveling and visiting America’s National Parks. During a recent stop at Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas, Noreen realized that they were also close to another destination she had long wanted to visit, Crater of Diamonds State Park.
“I first saw the park featured on a TV show several years ago,” she said. “When I realized we weren’t too far away, I knew we had to come!”
“Arkansas is the only state in the country that has a diamond mine open to the public,” said Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism Secretary Stacy Hurst. “It’s such a unique experience and visitors make lifetime memories, whether or not they find a diamond. Of course, finding a diamond adds to the experience!”
The couple arrived at Crater of Diamonds on Thursday, September 23, a sunny-but-cool fall morning. She started to search in a shaded area near the mine entrance, but her husband suggested they venture farther out.
“It was cold in the shade that morning,” Michael said, “so I told Noreen that we should go to the middle of the field, where it was warmer.”
His suggestion paid off about 40 minutes later. She was walking just north of a central pathway in the search area when she spotted the sparkling gem on top of the ground.
She said, “I didn’t know it was a diamond then, but it was clean and shiny, so I picked it up!”
She gave the stone to her husband, who brought it to the park’s Diamond Discovery Center for identification. After examining the stone, park staff informed Michael that he was in possession of a very large yellow diamond.
Park Superintendent Caleb Howell said, “When I first saw this diamond under the microscope, I thought, ‘Wow, what a beautiful shape and color!’ Mrs. Wredberg’s diamond weighs more than four carats and is about the size of a jellybean, with a pear shape and a lemonade yellow color.”
Noreen was surprised and excited when park staff gave her the news a few minutes later, saying, “We really didn’t think we would find one, let alone something that big!”
Park Interpreter Waymon Cox says that many of the park’s largest diamonds are found right on top of the ground. “We plow the search area periodically to loosen the soil and promote natural erosion. Diamonds are somewhat heavy for their size and lack static electricity, so dirt doesn’t stick to them. When rain uncovers a larger diamond and the sun comes out, its reflective surface is often easy to see.”
Cox noted that weather conditions were perfect for Noreen to find her diamond. “Many visitors surface search for diamonds after a good rain. More than one inch of rain fell at the park between September 19 and 21. The soil had dried a little, and the sun was out when Mrs. Wredberg visited two days later. She was in just the right place to see her diamond sparkle in the morning sunlight!”
Weighing 4.38 carats, Noreen’s diamond is the largest found at the park since last October, when a visitor from Fayetteville, Ark., .
Finders of large Crater diamonds often choose to name their gems. Noreen named hers Lucy’s Diamond, for her husband’s kitten. “The name is sentimental to us. Lucy is mostly gray but has slight tints of yellow in her fur, similar to the light yellow of my diamond.”
Noreen isn’t sure what she will do with her diamond but says she might have it cut, depending on the quality. “I don’t even know what it’s worth yet. It’s all new to me!”
Park staff is not trained in diamond appraisals but offers resources to help finders decide what to do with their gems.
As of this publication, 258 diamonds have been registered at Crater of Diamonds State Park in 2021, weighing more than 46 carats in total. An average of one to two diamonds are found by park visitors each day.
We have, in the past, shown you places where you can still pan for gold. But if you know where to look, you’ll be surprised what other valuable gems you can discover for yourself.
We are talking about precious gemstones like diamonds, sapphires, rubies, garnets, moonstones, emeralds and more.
For instance, at the Crater of Diamonds State Park, 12-year-old Michael Dettlaff recently found a 5 carat diamond, which with an estimated value of $15,000 was far better than any of the souvenirs in the visitor center. In fact, they figure that visitors have found more than 75,000 diamonds of various sizes in the former volcanic crater over the years.
Not many finds rank with Michael’s, but there are several places around the United States where you can search for valuable “rocks” and diamonds, and you get to keep what you find!
The best ones are family-friendly, with low admission fees, equipment rental, and even cabins to rent. The staff will be able to explain what to look for, and take you on tours. When you find your gem, they may even be able to mount it and explain the geology and history of its formation.
To get you started, here are seven places that you can search for and find diamonds, gold and other gemstones:
Table of Contents
1. Gold Prospecting Adventures – Jamestown, California
This is located about 70 miles west of Yosemite, and is a small mining camp established in 1849, during the period of the great gold rush. It has all the character of the era, complete with a saloon and mining tents, and staff dressed up in period costumes.
The town has a family admission, where for $60 two adults and up to three children can pan for gem for an hour; or for $105 you get to pan for three hours.
If you want to sluice-and-pan, this is available for $135 for two hours. It’s only closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.
2. Herkimer Diamond Mines – Herkimer, New York
While what you can find here are not actually diamonds, but brilliant quartz crystals, there are plenty of them. Reputed to be as much as 500 million years old, they are hexagonal with points on each end. To the untrained eye, they might look like real diamonds, which is how the name came about. You can break them out with a hammer and chisel, or find them simply looking around.
Admission is $10 for adults, and children are $8.
3. Emerald Hollow Mine – Hiddenite, North Carolina
This is the only emerald mine in the States which is open to the public. There are three sluice ways, and you get a bucketful of potential gems included with your entrance fee of $5.
The mine has many different types of gems, including sapphires, garnets, amethysts, topaz, and aquamarines, as well as the emeralds that it is named after.
If you are inspired to search for longer, you can pay for additional buckets.
4. Gem Mountain – Philipsburg, Montana
Gem Mountain is off the beaten track, but promises great rewards (like sapphires) if you make the effort to get there.
Staff are happy to dig up the dirt, removing the larger stones, and providing you with the tools and equipment to go through the gravel and see if you can spot rough sapphires.
You pay by the bucket full of gravel. Staff will also help you spot the stones that are worth further cleaning and treating.
Wear your old clothes, as it is a dirty experience.
5. Crater of Diamonds State Park – Murfreesboro, Arkansas
As mentioned in the introduction, many people have found diamonds in this location. It’s the only place in the world that the public is allowed to search for diamonds.
Though diamond finds are quite rare, there are 40 other rocks and minerals in the area, so you can usually pick up a unique souvenir.
The admission is $7 for adults, and children are $4.
6. Royal Peacock Mine – Virgin Valley, Nevada
This mine, situated in northern Nevada in the Virgin Valley, is the place to come for opals.
It is expensive, at $180 per person per day to dig in the banks, but you can expect to find many opals.
You can also dig through the mine tailings, the rock that has been taken out of the mine, for just $75 per day.
7. Cherokee Ruby Mine – Franklin, North Carolina
At the Cherokee Ruby Mine, the emphasis is on family fun. It’s just $7 for adults and $4 for children, and for that you’re provided with a seat cushion and a screen box.
They show you what to look for (as rough gems are very different from the polished examples you are used to), then you go to the flume line, where you can fill your box and begin searching.
Exploring for Natural Beauty
In a world of artificial amusements and pastimes, it’s refreshing to find that you can take time out to see what the earth has hidden just beneath the surface. When you search for diamonds and gold, you learn about the geology of the area and how the rocks and gems came about, and you discover how to appreciate the beauty hidden just underneath your feet.
And best of all, if you get lucky, you can perhaps find a nice diamond or other gems that could be worth a lot of money!
Check out what lucky prospectors at the Crater of Diamonds have found so far this year. Remember, they get to keep what they find. You can too.
The Mine & The Park
It’s finder’s keepers at the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas. The only public diamond mine in the world, Crater of Diamonds offers you a one-of-a-kind adventure – the opportunity to hunt for real diamonds and to keep any mineral you find.
You’ll search over a 37-acre plowed field – the eroded surface of an ancient, diamond-bearing volcanic pipe. Begin your diamond hunting adventure at the visitor center featuring geological exhibits and an audio/visual program that offers a bit of education and explains the area’s geology and offers tips on recognizing diamonds in the rough.
Since diamonds were first discovered on the site in 1906, over 75,000 diamonds have been unearthed.
The Park offers 47 Class AAA campsites, picnic areas, a seasonal restaurant, laundry, gift shop, hiking trails, interpretive programs and Diamond Springs Water Park for the thousands of people who travel to the park each year.
When John Huddleston plucked two diamonds from the greenish-colored dirt of his farm, a hysteria known as “diamond fever” ensued. Although the excitement has since waned, interest in Arkansas’s diamond mine remains high. About 120,000 people come to Huddleston’s old farm site, now the Crater of Diamonds State Park, each year to search for these precious gems.
The crater is the only diamond mine in the world where the public can pay a fee to dig and keep any gems they find.
Dig for your own diamond
The Legend of “Diamond John” – Howard Millar, a former operator of a tourist operation at the Crater of Diamonds and an expert on the crater’s history, wrote in his book, “It Was Finders-Keepers at America’s Only Diamond Mine,” that two geologists had studied the crater site several years before Huddleston found diamonds here. However, they didn’t find any diamonds.
In 1906, Huddleston bought a farm on the site that the geologists had studied and in August of that year, he found two diamonds.
According to Millar, Huddleston discovered the first diamonds in Arkansas while he was spreading rock salt on his hog farm. He saw some shiny specks in the dirt that he thought might be gold.
But instead of gold, he found two stones.
Huddleston declined an offer from a local bank cashier, who said he would pay Huddleston 50 cents for the stones. Eventually, the stones were sent to a gem expert in New York City and it was determined that they were indeed genuine diamonds.
Word soon got out about the diamonds and “Diamond John” Huddleston became famous and put Murfreesboro on the map.
Thousands of people flocked to the little town, sparking a boomtown atmosphere. In one year, over 10,000 people were turned away from the Conway Hotel in Murfreesboro. Soon after his find, Huddleston sold his farm for $36,000 and this portion of the crater was closed to the public.
“Crater of Diamonds” is Born
M. M. Mauney owned another portion of the diamond mine, and he originated the idea of letting visitors pay to hunt for diamonds. On Sunday afternoons, diamond prospectors and their families would pay 50 cents to search for diamonds on Mauney’s land.
Several companies also attempted to commercially mine for diamonds near Murfreesboro in the years after the discovery, but for many reasons, including lawsuits, fines, and bankruptcy, they were all unsuccessful. In 1952, Howard Millar opened a tourist operation on Mauney’s former portion of the diamond-bearing crater.
He dubbed the site, the “Crater of Diamonds.”
Millar promoted the site aggressively and received lots of national publicity. A museum, gift shop and restaurant were built and Millar, who was a geologist, gave lectures about the properties and characteristics of diamonds and also identified the visitors’ finds. He received a 25 percent royalty on the value of any stone over 5 carats.
During those years, thousands of diamonds were found. The most famous find was made in 1956 by Mrs. A. L. Parker of Dallas. Millar wrote that Parker found the diamond after heavy rains had fallen on the freshly plowed field. The historic find was a 15.33 carat white diamond.
It fueled “diamond fever” here again as the crater was “almost overrun with diamond hunters,” Millar wrote.
In 1969, the crater was sold to a General Earth Minerals, a mining company in Dallas, and in 1972 the state of Arkansas purchased it. The site was developed into a 911-acre park nestled in a mixed pine and hardwood forest along the banks of the Little Missouri River. There is a visitor’s center, gift shop, Diamond Discovery Center, picnic area, restaurant, walking trails, and 47 campsites with water and electricity.
Great Finds from the Famous Crater
Although thousands of people have dug and sifted through the volcanic “lamproite” soil, there are still plenty of diamonds waiting to be discovered. Since the park opened in 1972, more than 30,000 diamonds have been found. This is still a place where diamonds are found regularly — park officials say about two are found by park visitors each day.
“Most of them are about the size of a match head or smaller, and people usually keep them for souvenirs.”
Not all of the finds have been small. The largest documented diamond find is the 40.23-carat “Uncle Sam” diamond, which was discovered in 1924. The largest diamond retrieved since the Crater of Diamonds became a state park was the 16.37-carat “Amarillo Starlight,” discovered in 1975.
Other notable finds include the “Star of Arkansas,” which was 15.33 carats and the 8.82-carat “Star of Shreveport.” The 4.25-carat “Kahn Canary” diamond was found here in 1977 and was mounted on a ring worn by Hillary Clinton during the presidential inaugural balls as well as two gubernatorial inaugurations.
The 3.03-carat “Strawn-Wagner Diamond,” found in 1990 was cut to a 1.09-carat gem graded D-flawless 0/0/0 (the highest grade a diamond can achieve) by the American Gem Society.
Geologists believe these diamonds were formed millions of years ago with tremendously high pressure and temperature and shot to the earth’s surface during a violent volcanic eruption. The portion of the crater that is known to be diamond bearing is about 37 acres and is the eroded surface of an ancient volcanic pipe. Test drilling at the crater has shown that the reserve is shaped like a martini glass.
It is believed to be the eighth largest diamond reserve in the world, in surface area.
Make plans to check out the only park in the world where diamonds are found and kept by visitors like you!
Woman discovers four-carat yellow diamond in Arkansas state park
A California woman discovered a 4.38-carat yellow diamond in Arkansas’ Crater of Diamonds State Park last month, the state Parks Department said.
Noreen Wredberg, of Granite Bay, California, was visiting Hot Springs National Park with her husband, Michael, when she decided to stop by Crater of Diamonds.
“I first saw the park featured on a TV show several years ago,” Wredberg told the Parks Department. “When I realized we weren’t too far away, I knew we had to come!”
She and her husband went to the park Sept, 23, a few days after an inch of rain fell, making for perfect diamond hunting conditions.
“The soil had dried a little, and the sun was out when Mrs. Wredberg visited two days later. She was in just the right place to see her diamond sparkle in the morning sunlight,” park interpreter Waymon Cox said in a release.
Wredberg had been searching for only about an hour when she spotted the massive gem.
“I didn’t know it was a diamond then, but it was clean and shiny, so I picked it up!” she said.
Arkansas is the only state with a public diamond mine. When visitors find diamonds, they take them to the park’s Diamond Discovery Center, which confirmed that Wredberg’s jelly-bean-size rock was, indeed, a diamond. The park said it is the largest diamond found in the park in the past year.
Wredberg, who gets to keep the gem, isn’t sure what she will do with it yet.
More than 75,000 diamonds have been discovered at the Crater of Diamonds since 1906.
Diamond Head is a volcanic cone on the Hawaiian island of Oahu and is the most popular Hawaii State Park. Hawaiians call it Lēʻahi (brow of the tuna) in reference to the formation’s ridgeline, which resembles the tuna fish’s dorsal fin. The British soldiers who visited the area in the 19th century thought that the sparkling calcite crystals on the neighboring beach were diamonds.
Diamond Head offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and Honolulu that you can hike to via a trail that takes you to the edge of the 300,000-year old crater.
An entry fee of $1 per walk-in visitor and $5 per vehicle applies.
What is Diamond Head?
Diamond Head is part of the Ko’olau Range of volcanoes that began erupting below sea level over 2.6 million years ago. A single eruption around 300,000 years ago created the crater.
The crater encompasses 350 acres. The crater is much larger than its rim as it was formed explosively. This type of formation is known as a tuff cone.
Diamond Head stands at an elevation of 762 feet above sea level. When measured from the crater floor, the Diamond Head Mountain towers to 560 feet.
Diamond Head is monogenetic, which means eruption occurs only once. The last eruption of the volcanic tuff cone was likely 150,000 to 200,000 years ago. It has remained dormant since.
What’s the Military Significance of Diamond Head?
The U.S. government purchased the Diamond Head Crater and some of the surrounding areas in 1905, and developed around 720 acres into Fort Ruger, as a way to strengthen the country’s coast artillery defense. It was Hawaii’s first U.S. military reservation. Batteries and guns were installed on the slopes of the crater and inside it. Post World War II, the facilities were upgraded, including the addition of anti-aircraft batteries to the crater’s rim.
Today, some of these installations remain. They include Battery 407, which was originally envisioned to mount guns salvaged from the USS Arizona; Birkhimer Tunnel, a bunker style battery; a National Guard emergency operations center; and the Hawaii State Civil Defense Headquarters.
The seven tunnels constructed into the crater’s outside slope have been used by a number of agencies. Tunnel 0 is used for communication and others (Tunnels 1 to 6) serve as storage areas. Many of the tunnels have ventilation systems.
What is there to do at Diamond Head State Park?
There aren’t many places in the world where you can hike to the edge of a volcano. The Diamond Head Trail allows this opportunity, which culminates in panoramic views of Oahu, the famous Diamond Head Lighthouse, a United States Coast Guard facility that has been featured on a U.S. postage stamp, and the beautiful Pacific Ocean. On a clear day, you can also the nearby island of Molokai.
Built-in 1908 as part of the army coastal artillery defense system, the trail scales the inside slope of the crater for 0.6 miles. It is a switchback trail with the mountain on one side and a railing on the other. The dirt trail was built to allow the movement of people and mules hauling material for the construction of a fire control station. In 1940, the Kahala tunnel was constructed and serves as the entrance to the crater.
There is a rest stop at a lookout point, and then you’ll make your way through tunnels and stairs. Climb 99 steps to get to the second lookout point where you’ll find a WW II bunker. A further 54 steps from there will bring you to the crater’s summit.
The crater rim houses a picnic area, restrooms, drinking fountains and information and historical displays.
A number of beaches and parks are in the proximity of the volcano.
How long does it take to hike Diamond Head?
It takes about 1.5-2 hours to hike Diamond Head (1.6 miles (2.5 km) roundtrip).
The paved surface and handrails make your hike safe and convenient. Still, some parts of the trail comprise of uneven rock, so make sure you walk carefully and don’t lose your footing. Note that you have to walk through a narrow tunnel on your way to the summit. If you’re claustrophobic, this may feel a tad uncomfortable, but you’ll be out soon and be rewarded with majestic views!
Also, exercise caution when ascending the 99 steps at the end of your hike. Wear good hiking shoes. And to be extra cautious, bring along a flashlight so you can watch your steps.
When is the Best Time of Year to Visit Diamond Head?
The hottest months to visit the Diamond Head are June, June, and August, with mid-August temperatures reaching 94.4 °F (34.7 °C), making it a slow season for tourism. Spring and winter are busy tourist seasons. Fall weather is pleasant to visit the volcanic formation but rainfall and snow may play spoilsport.
Are there Diamond Head Tours?
A tour that includes all the best attractions of Oahu, including Diamond Head can be both cost and time efficient. Sightseeing tours take care of all the arrangements for you, and you don’t have to worry about transportation and parking.
The cost of Diamond Head tours can vary quite a bit depending on the type of experience offered and different inclusions in the tour.
You can choose from a range of Diamond Head tours, from sunset tours on electric scooters, bike tours and audio hiking tours, to guided group tours taking you to other attractions such as Waimea Waterfall and hop-on, hop-off tours covering Honolulu, Pearl Harbor and Waikiki.
What time does Diamond Head open?
The park is open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Early mornings are quieter and temperatures are cooler. The time you can enter Diamond Head is 4.30 p.m. given the amount of time it takes to complete the hike. The park is open on all days, including holidays.
How to get to Diamond Head?
From Waikiki by Car
- Head southeast on Kalakaua Ave toward Uluniu Ave – 0.3 mi
- Turn left onto Kapahulu Ave – 0.6 mi
- Turn right onto Castle St – 0.3 mi
- Turn right onto 6th Ave – 246 ft
- Continue onto Alohea Ave – 0.6 mi
- Turn right onto Makapuu Ave – 272 ft
- Turn left onto Diamond Head Rd – 0.3 mi
- Turn right – 0.3 mi
- Continue onto Diamond Head Tunnel – 0.3 mi
- Turn left
You can pull through the side of the crater and park your vehicle in the parking lot. A parking fee of $10 for cars/vans and $20 for minibusses apply. On a busy day with limited parking opportunities, park your vehicle on the Diamond Head Road and walk 5-10 minutes to the crater.
Hop on the number 23 bus on Kuhio Avenue and get down at the Diamond Head State Monument bus stop. The bus will drop you just outside the crater, so there’s about a 10-minute walk to get to the start of the trail. Visit the Bus site for the most up-to-date fares and schedules.
Diamonds are found naturally in Kimberlite rocks or alluvial deposits. Kimberlite rocks are rocks occurring in old volcanic pipes and they are the main hosts. These rocks are carried by rivers, streams and waterfalls and diamond crystals are deposited in the water hence the pacer or alluvial deposits.
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Where are diamonds found in the world?
Diamonds are present in about 35 countries. South Africa, Russia and Botswana are the main producers of gem diamond while Australia produces most of the industrial diamond. They are also found in India, Russia, Siberia, Brazil, China, Canada and the United States.
Where are diamonds found in Africa?
In Africa, diamonds are found in Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Namibia, Sierra Leone, South Africa and Tanzania. This is a mineral rich continent but diamonds from some of these countries are referred to as conflict diamonds since the money is used to fund civil wars and other human rights violations. Sierra Leone and Angola are notorious for this.
This trade was brought to light in Leonardo di Caprio’s movie “Blood Diamond” and it is now common knowledge all over the world. The Kimberley Process has reduced this vice significantly but not completely due to forging of laser inscriptions and certificates.
Sources of Diamonds in the United States
Diamonds are found in three states: Arkansas, Colorado and Wyoming. They occur at the Colorado-Wyoming state line area which was named the Aultman, Ferris and Schaffer Kimberlites. There was also commercial mining of diamond in Kelsey Lake but it was closed in 1998 although there are plans to reopen it.
Arkansas is the home of the Crater of Diamonds State Park. This is the only mine which is publicly owned and visitors can look for diamond and keep what they get. It is owned by the state of Arkansas. It is a great mine and has produced over 70,000 diamonds.
The Herkimer and Ace of Diamonds mines in New York were thought to have diamond but they only have faceted quartz crystals which are pointed on both ends.
Diamond mining began in Canada at the time when African diamonds were rocked with corruption-Conflict diamonds. This country is the third largest diamond producer in the world. The EKATI diamond mine found in the North of Yellowknife produces an average of 4-5 million carats per annum. This was the first mine in Canada.
The Diavik diamond mine produces an average of 7-8 million carats per annum. It was the second to be discovered and is located at Lac de Gras East Island, Yellowknife. The mine is only 20km from the EKATI mine. It leads the world in environmental standards and produces high quality colorless diamonds.
There is also the Snap Lake diamond mine that produces an average of about 1.5 to 2 million carats per annum. It is also found in Yellowknife. The last diamond mine is Jericho mine which produces about 500,000 carats per annum.
Canadian diamonds are normally preferred since they have less corruption claims than many other countries. The source of diamonds is a very important consideration since no one would want his or her money to fuel conflicts in other countries.