Oklahoma is one of the most naturally beautiful places in the world. With ancient mountain ranges, sprawling prairies, mesas, and even wonderfully rich eastern forests. I love to visit Oklahoma, and because I love metal detecting, that also means that I love to metal detect in Oklahoma. Whether you live in the sooner state, or are just planning a vacation, Oklahoma is a treasure amongst treasure hunters a real detectorists paradise.
If you’re looking for coins or jewelry, like every other place, Oklahoma’s got them. If you’re looking for artifacts, either from the Native Americans or the Sooners themselves, Oklahoma’s got them. If you’re not looking for anything in particular, Oklahoma’s got those things too. No matter what you’re looking for, this list of fifteen Oklahoma locations are amongst the best places to metal detect in the state.
1. Osage Hills State Park
Like many of the state parks in this part of the country, the Osage Hills State park was constructed for the State of Oklahoma by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the early twentieth century. During construction the CCC workers were housed at the north end of the park, and the remnants of the housing area can still be found today. Who knows what treasures they left behind?
Today the park is a 1,100-acre expanse of lakes, creeks, and hiking trails. Osage Hills State Park is a very popular tourist destination for anyone in north-east and central Oklahoma, bringing in tens of thousands (possibly hundreds of thousands) or guests every year. They come for the parks many recreational opportunities, as well as the tent campgrounds and RV parking areas that the park rents out.
According the Osage Hills State Park office to metal detect in their park you need to first visit their office where you can fill out a daily use permit as well as receive a map of the locations in the park in which you can detect. Once the permit is signed by the park manager, you’re on your way.
2. Robbers Cave State Park
Originally name Latimer State park, Robbers Cave State park received its current name in 1936 due to its long history of sheltering fugitives from the law. Some notable examples include none other than Jesse James and Belle Starr. The Dalton Gang, the Youngers, and the Rufus Buck Gang are also amongst the more well-known criminals that once his out on the land that now makes up this state park. I can only imagine the kinds of relics and treasures they left behind (either on accident or on purpose)!
The park and its adjoining wildlife management area are over 8,000-acres in size and have three lakes in total. It offers a multitude of recreational activities, of which many thousands of people engage in every year. Furthermore, the park hosts multiple festivals every year. The amount of foot traffic in this park is one of the highest in the state when it comes to public lands.
According to the Robbers Cave State Park office, to metal detect in their park you simply need to obtain a daily use permit from the office as well as fill any holes you dig. In general, it’s always to use metal detecting best practiced when on land you don’t own, even if it is just to stay out of trouble.
3. Beavers Bend State Park
Named after John T. Beavers, a Choctaw himself, the Beavers Bend State park is located on what used to be an old Choctaw settlement. Running through the park is the legendary Mountain Fork River, which at a certain point in the park makes an almost 180-degree turn, giving the park the remaining portion of its name. Furthermore, the Broken bow Lake, with its impressive 14,000-acres of water, is a popular destination for scuba divers if underwater metal detecting is your thing.
The park has the second highest visitation rate amongst all of the state parks in Oklahoma and brings in millions in revenues every year. The amount of foot traffic here is almost unparalleled. That combined with the history of natives, settlers, and over a hundred years of conservation work, the Beavers Bend State Park truly earns its place on this list as one of the best places to metal detect in the state of Oklahoma.
According to the Beavers Bend State Park office, to metal detect in the park you need only to visit the front office and fill out a daily use permit which can be obtained at no charge. Although the recreation fee and parking fee might set you back a couple of bucks.
4. Ouachita National Forest
The Ouachita National is the oldest National Forest in the south, and its immense 1,784,457-acres of spread through two states (Arkansas and Oklahoma), mountains, and seemingly unending forest. The land was once home to Native Americans, but also to European explorers from both Spain and France. Today the forest is uninhabited, save its thousands of visitors which come to hike on its hundreds of miles of trails every year.
In addition to metallic treasures that you may happen upon in the Ouachita National Forest, a portion of the Cossatot river several miles wide contain high concentrations of quartz crystals as well as other precious minerals. These loose crystals are free to pick up with the permission of the district ranger.
Due to National Forest Service regulations, metal detecting is permitted although restricted in National Forests and in most cases can be done without a permit. For more information regarding the regulations regarding metal detecting on land managed by the National Forest Service look HERE.
5. Lake Murray State Park
Not only is Lake Murray State Park Oklahoma’s first state park, it is also Oklahoma’s largest state park coming in at a whopping 12,500-acres of land. The park consists of forested, rolling, hills surrounding the iconic Lake Murray. However, the park isn’t just undeveloped woodland. Large portions of the park are dedicated to golfing, picnicking, and sports facilities.
Whether you’re looking for beach detecting, field detecting, or a woodland hunt, Lake Murray State Park is the place to go if you’re in Oklahoma. I mean… there’s over 150-miles of shoreline! With shaded pavilions and peaceful trails to bout. Accommodations range from natural campground to an upscale lodge with all of the luxury of a hotel.
Unlike the previous parks on this list, you with have to pay to metal detect in this park. A metal detecting permit for Lake Murray State Park can be obtained at the front office for $25.00. The permit is good up to the end of the year of purchase and needs to be renewed in January.
6. Tenkiller State Park
It might not be the 150-miles of shoreline surrounding Lake Murray, but there is still 130-miles of shoreline bordering the famous Lake Tenkiller. The park is known as “heaven in the hills” to Oklahomans all across the state. It, like all of the parks on this list, is a highly popular tourist and recreation destination. The beaches and the trails both offer some interesting metal detecting possibilities.
According to the Tenkiller State Park office, to metal detect in the park you need to go to their main office and obtain a daily-use permit. This permit costs $25.00 and needs to be approved by the park manager. Maps of the park can also be found at this office.
7. Boiling Springs State Park
As the name suggests, Boiling Springs State Park is home to sandy-bottom springs which appear to be boiling because of an inrush of subsurface currents that produce bubbles on the surface of a spring fed pond. The park is around 820-acres in size and was originally built by the CCC in the early twentieth century. Foot traffic from visitors is what makes Boiling Springs a great place to metal detect.
The Boiling Springs State Park office tells me that to metal detect in their park you need to visit their front office and fill out a daily use permit and get it signed by the park manager. Maps of the park can also be found in this office.
8. Sequoyah State Park
Jutting into the eastern shore of Fort Gibson Lake, the Sequoyah State Park is a peninsular recreation area 2,200-acres in size. A large portion of the park is dedicated to the Sequoyah Park Golf Course, an accompanying Lodge can house over a hundred guests all of which could be dropping things on sandy beaches or open fields. It’s a beautiful park with tons of metal detecting potential. I always love metal detecting near golf courses, people who golf tend to be the kinds of people that drop things you’ll want to find.
Furthermore, according to the Sequoyah State Park office, to metal detect in the park all you need to do is visit the front office and fill out a daily use permit which is approved by the park manager. Maps and further direction regarding where you can metal detect in the park can also be found in this office.
9. Private Land
Public land is a wonderful resource for detectorist across the globe, but some of the best finds can be found on private land. Private land offers a uniquely undisturbed opportunity for treasure hunting. The only problem is that most of the time you need to actually own the land to metal detect on it… right? Well actually, often if you ask politely and promise to not leave a trace then many people with large yards or properties will allow someone to detect on their land. You just have to ask the right people and say the right things. Remember, you only need to get one person to say yes!
Personally, I like to ask older people, people with a lot of land, and people who seem very friendly. It isn’t a crime to ask someone if you can metal detect on their property, but it feels a lot better when you aren’t getting shut down all the time. It takes a keen eye, and ear, but with practice you can often tell who the kind of person might be to let you hunt for treasure in their back yard.
Offering to split the profits of anything found can often convince a landowner to let you metal detect on their property.
10. Local Beaches
Local public beaches often don’t have regulations or oversight which would prevent you from metal detecting. As long as you don’t disturb the land too much, or the people, then nobody will bother you either. These beaches aren’t particularly popular, so there isn’t much foot traffic, but that also means that they probably won’t have anyone else detecting on them. Fresh ground is always an exciting opportunity to a detectorist.
Just make sure that it is in fact a public beach as metal detecting on a private beach is trespassing just as much as if you were to walk around someone’s front yard and start digging holes. In general, its always best to make sure you have the full permissions wherever, and whenever, you’re metal detecting.
11. Texola, Oklahoma
Texola has always been a small town, in its heyday in 1910 Texola had around 400 residence. In 2010 Texola had barely 30 residence within its limits. The town is so isolated it’s not even technically served by the Oklahoma highway system, although a single road can bring you to I-40. Many of its buildings have crumbled and been taken over by vegetation, forgotten and unwanted. It’s here where urban explorers and treasure hunters alike can find exciting metal detecting opportunities.
12. Ingalls, Oklahoma
Located in Payne County, Ingalls is essentially an empty field aside from a few wooden buildings. With a population that peaked in 1890 at around 150 people, Ingalls has always been a small town. However, it was the famous shootout between the Doolin-Dalton Gang and a troupe of U.S Marshals which cemented Ingalls as a true ghost town. Metal detectors have already helped uncover relics from the battle, but who knows what still in the ground just waiting to be found?
13. Lenora, Oklahoma
Once known as the “Pearl of the Prairies”, Lenora was once a heart of trade and commerce in Oklahoma. Today it is just another of Oklahoma’s many ghost towns which have huge metal detecting potential. In 1900 it had a population of 400, today its simply an unincorporated community a couple of miles out of Dewey, Oklahoma.
14. The Blue River
While there are a number of stories of buried treasure along Oklahoma’s Blue River, one stands out. During the civil war a band of Confederate soldiers robbed a Federal supply wagon in Kansas stealing two large barrels of gold coins that were destined for Texas. However, the soldiers were attacked themselves by outlaws who stole the treasure for themselves. They purportedly buried the treasure in a cave somewhere along the Blue River.
Just make sure not to trespass on any private land while in search of this legendary treasure.
15. Mill Creek and The Arbuckle Mountains
As they commonly were in the mid seventeenth century, a payroll coach was looted as it passed through Oklahoma. However, instead of being caught, the perpetrators made off with a large amount of stolen gold and silver coins. The loot was split into three piles, two of which were buried in pots along Mill Creek. The last, and largest, of the piles was taken to the Arbuckle Mountains where it was buried in another series of metal pots. No parts of the treasure were ever recovered. It’s like the treasure is just waiting for you to find!
Metal Detecting Laws in Oklahoma
Metal Detecting in Oklahoma State Parks:
Many Oklahoma State Parks allow metal detecting, although there is no single list of which parks do, and which parks do not allow it. The only way to find out is to contact the park office and ask. Furthermore, if a park does allow metal detecting, more often than not you will need to get some kind of daily-use permit. These usually have to be approved and signed by the park manager before you can begin metal detecting.
Metal Detecting on National Forest Service Land in Oklahoma:
As is the case in any state, you are allowed to metal detect on land managed by the National Forest service as long as you follow certain rules and regulations regarding what you can and cannot take from the forest. These regulations can be found here…
As I mentioned, it is because the National Forest service is ‘National’ that their regulations apply to any National Forest in the country. This is why National Forests are often a great place to find a bunch of land that you can metal detect on no matter where you are.
Metal Detecting on Private Land:
Unless you own the land, or have permission to detect on the land, it is always illegal to trespass on private land. It is especially illegal if you are digging on the property without permission. You always have to get permission to be on a property and you always need permission to treasure hunt on their land. Plus, in a place like Oklahoma if you trespass it might just be last thing you do if you catch my drift.
Oklahoma Metal Detecting Clubs
- The Oklahoma Metal Detecting and Treasure Hunting Club (Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/okmdclub/)
- Twin Territories Treasure Hunters Club (Website: http://twinterritoriestreasurehunters.com/)
- Cherokee Strip Treasure Hunters (Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Cherokee-Strip-Treasure-Hunters-422547067886067/)
- Central Oklahoma Research/Recovery Club (Website: http://www.comdc.club/)
Favorite Metal Detecting Shop in Oklahoma
- Big Boys Hobbies Metal Detectors Norman, Oklahoma (Website: https://bigboyshobbies.net/)
Metal Detecting Tips for Oklahoma
- Knee Pads are a must! Oklahoma has tons of hard dry ground filled with sharp gravel, without knee pads you’ll quickly have ripped pants at the least and bloody kneecaps at the worst.
- Get a sand scooper! Again, Oklahoma has tons of dry hard ground and with a sand scoop you’ll be able to look through the soil with ease. Plus, when you visit the beach, you’ll have one of the best metal detecting experiences of your life.
David Humphries, Writer and Creator of METAL DETECTING TIPS. After borrowing my son’s detector and finding $.25. I felt like a treasure hunter. FREE MONEY! I was seriously bitten by the metal detecting bug.