Mt. Ida is the quartz crystal capital of the world for good reason. There is quartz everywhere and at Crystal Vista, you can bring them home for FREE!
We’ve been traveling around Mt. Ida for several days now and we have had so much fun.
If you know anything about Mt. Ida, you have probably heard of the quartz here.
In fact, the BEST quartz in the world can only be found in Brazil and Arkansas.
“Geologists say that Arkansas and Brazil have the best quality quartz on Earth, and today rock hounds, families and tourists from all over the world head for the Hot Springs and Mount Ida area to go prospecting in the abundant quartz crystal deposits of the Ouachita Mountains in hopes of finding these unique clear, prismatic stones.”source
There are a lot of “pay-to-dig” mines around Mt. Ida but, if you’re like me, you like to save money when you can.
We wanted to dig for quartz while we were in the area but we didn’t want to pay around $75 for our family of 5 to dig the good spots at the mines.
That’s when we found Crystal Vista. It’s part of my Favorite Things to Do in Mt. Ida!
About Crystal Vista
All Trails calls Crystal Vista a “moderately challenging trail” and I would say that’s accurate. –source
This digging area is on top of Gardner Mountain. You will begin at the parking lot that is at an elevation of 900 feet and you will climb to an elevation of 1,200 feet.
That might sound terrible but it’s only a mile and it will only take you about 20 minutes.
Be prepared and try to hike up when it’s not blistering hot out like we did.
We hiked up with our three kids who are 11, 7 and 4. They did it with no problems. In fact, there was a lady hiking behind us and she was wearing flip-flops.
When we got to the top, there was a family with a small baby. They had carried the baby all the way up the trail.
So, while it is an uphill walk, it wasn’t too bad.
Crystal Vista is a former commercial mine
This 4 acre area is a former commercial mine.
We were able to collect quartz crystal that was lying on the surface of the dirt. (We forgot to bring shovels.)
However, if you want to dig, bring your hand shovel and some buckets. There were quite a few people up there digging and having a great time.
Things to remember at Crystal Vista
- You can keep what you find but you can’t sell them.
- No campfires
- Hand tools only
- No ATVs
- No bathrooms
- Pack in/ Pack out
- Bring plenty of water for yourself
- Gloves will come in handy
- These crystals are in good ole Arkansas clay so wear old clothes.
- IT’S FREE!!
- Open year round
Crystal Vista Location
When you go, be sure to take Hwy 27 from Mt. Ida then on to Hwy 28. We took Logan Gap Rd and Collier Springs Rd which ended up being several miles of gravel roads.
If you would rather buy quartz instead of dig for it, check out my favorite rock shop in Mt. Ida.
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