Start the New Year off on the Right Foot

By Sarah Reap


Greetings from Crater of Diamonds State Park! As 2023 draws to a close, we look forward to the excitement a new year brings, with more diamond finds, exciting park events, and fun memories with friends and family! To kick off 2024, Crater of Diamonds is once again participating in First Day Hikes, a nationwide initiative to encourage people to get outdoors and start the year on the right foot.

First Day Hikes are a great way to get outside, go to a new place, and meet new people. Guided hikes will be offered all around the state. This year’s guided First Day Hike at the Crater will take place on the Little Missouri River Trail, located across from site 22 in the campground. The hike will begin promptly at 9 a.m. and last about one hour. Parking at the trailhead is limited; participants are encouraged to park at the nearby bathhouse or amphitheater and walk to the trailhead. Participants are invited to share their First Day Hike experiences by uploading photos and/or videos to the Arkansas State Parks website, or use #ARStateParks and #FirstDayHikes when sharing on social media.

Can’t make it to the guided hike? Guests are also welcome to take a self-guided First Day Hike on the Little Missouri River Trail or the Wildlife Observation Blind Trail. Please note, the diamond search area and Prospector Trail will be closed on January 1 for New Year’s Day and will reopen at 8 a.m. on January 2.

The Little Missouri River Trail offers an easy, one-hour walk featuring a view of the Little Missouri River. Educational panels along the way highlight native plants and animals, and two exercise stations offer a variety of physical fitness challenges. Half of the 1.2-mile loop is paved and wheelchair-accessible. The unpaved portion of the trail is also easily walked.

The Wildlife Observation Blind Trail takes you down a graveled path to a wildlife observation viewing area. This quarter-mile trail takes about 15 minutes to complete, giving you plenty of time to sit and wait for wildlife to walk by. Whitetail deer, gray squirrels, armadillos, numerous bird species, and other wildlife may be observed from the blind.

Park facilities and the diamond search area will be closed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. For more information or directions, call Crater of Diamonds State Park at 870-285-3113 or visit Hope to see you on the trail January first!

Search area last plowed: August 27, 2023

Most recent significant rain: December 8, 2023

Recent diamond finds (100 points = 1 carat):

December 10 – Larry and Harley Taylor, Fayetteville, WV, 85 pt. white & 5 pt. yellow

December 11 – Calvin Nelson, Bristol, ME, 4 pt. white; Edward Lambert, Ashdown, AR, 28 pt. white

December 12 – Larry and Harley Taylor, Fayetteville, WV, 1 pt. white & 8 pt. white; Scott Kreykes, Dierks, AR, 1 pt. brown & 1 pt. white

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