Petrified wood never fails to captivate with its timeless beauty and the rich history it holds. From warm reds and oranges to cool blues and purples, its colors are like rainbows frozen in time! So it’s no surprise that plenty of people go on an adventure to find petrified wood in Oklahoma.
However, finding petrified wood in our state can be challenging without the right guidance. In fact, many enthusiasts and collectors failed to find them due to the lack of information or exploring the wrong areas.
Despite this, our state is home to numerous great places for petrified wood, so we went around and found them for you. From the Cimarron River region to the Black Mesa area, join us as we discuss the great ways you can discover amazing Oklahoma petrified wood. Let’s get started!
What Is Oklahoma Petrified Wood
A long, long time ago, fallen trees got buried underground. Over millions of years, minerals seeped into the wood, turning it into solid rock while keeping the tree’s original shape intact. The result is petrified wood, a fossilized wonder that looks like wood but is actually solid rock!
Luckily, petrified wood can be found in many places around the world and in the U.S., including Oklahoma! It’s commonly discovered in areas where there were ancient forests or near rivers where trees once grew. With a keen eye and a bit of guidance, you could stumble upon beautifully preserved pieces of Oklahoma petrified wood!
The Types of Petrified Wood Found in Oklahoma
While trying to find petrified wood in Oklahoma, there are different types of it that you have the chance to encounter. Take note of their individual characteristics and distinguishing features. For more information on identifying petrified wood in general, check out our article on that.
Petrified palm, also known as fossilized palmwood, is the preserved remains of ancient palm trees that have been petrified. This process turned the palmwood into a stone-like material while retaining the intricate grain patterns and textures present in the living tree.
The resulting petrified palm exhibits the unique beauty and characteristics of the ancient palm trees— with original tree rings, growth patterns, and even the bark textures. Its colors range from shades of browns and grays to vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows due to the different minerals present during the petrification process.
Opalized Petrified Wood
Opalized petrified wood is like a magical blend of gemstone and ancient trees! It forms when wood turns into opal over millions of years. It can showcase a mesmerizing range of colors: from shimmering blues and greens to fiery reds and yellows.
The opal within the wood gives it a vibrant glow that seems to dance in the light. People treasure opalized petrified wood for its sheer beauty and rarity.
Druzy Petrified Wood
Druzy petrified wood is formed when minerals that seeped through tiny cavities within a wood crystalize, creating a sparkling layer known as druzy. This type is a dazzling spectacle, with countless tiny crystals covering the inner surfaces of the wood.
The crystals can come in various colors, such as shimmering whites, sparkling blues, or glimmering purples— druzy petrified wood looks like a bedazzled wonderland! That’s why some people use it in jewelry, with stunning pieces that showcase the natural sparkle and charm of the wood.
Petrified fern is like a prehistoric time capsule frozen in stone. You can see the fern’s fronds, veins, and even the delicate textures on the surface. Specimens of this type come in various colors, ranging from earthy browns to vibrant yellows and greens, depending on the different minerals that replaced the fern’s organic matter.
These remarkable natural treasures can be found in different parts of the world, in areas where ferns once thrived.
The tools every petrified wood hunter will need
When you're out looking for petrified wood having the right tools for the job is really going to make or break your success. You don't need a lot for most trips but there are a handful that are critical and will make your life a lot easier.
We get asked a lot about the equipment we use. Over the years we've found a handful of tools that we recommend to both new and experienced petrified wood hunters which we outline in great detail in our complete rockhounding tools and kit guide. These are quality options that also happen to be relatively inexpensive.
Below are the basic tools that make your life so much easier and save you a ton of time. Check out the full guide to see everything we recommend bringing. One quick note, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases but we try very hard to only recommend gear we would use ourselves and often recommend brands you can't find on Amazon.
At a minimum you should have:
1 - Sturdy rock hammer: The Estwing Rock Pick is our standard
2 - Rugged chisels: Try Kendo' 3-piece Chisel Set
3 - Compact shovel: The Koleiya 28-inch shovel works well
4 - Rock screen pan: The Wazakura Soil Sieve Set fits the bill
5 - Eye protection: DeWalt Safety Glasses are cheap and comfortable
6 - Head protection: Malta's Safety Helmet has been our go-to
7 - Jewelers lens with at least 20x magnification: Jarlink's Jewelers Loop is perfect
The petrified wood-finding books that we use most
There are also a few books that have been extremely helpful in the search for gems. These books have great recommendations and tips:
We provide links to find these tools on Amazon but some can also be found at your local hardware stores. For more recommendations check out the link to our full tool guide above.
The Best Places To Find Petrified Wood In Oklahoma
We’ve spent a lot of time finding the best spots for rockhounding in Oklahoma, but if you want to focus your efforts on finding petrified wood here, below are the best places for you to explore:
Kiowa County is an absolute gem for petrified wood hunters! It boasts of a charming landscape, with rolling plains, amazing canyons, and the picturesque Washita River flowing through its heart. And with these come diverse geological wonders!
The county’s terrain is a blend of rugged beauty and open spaces. You’ll find impressive cliffs, fascinating rock outcrops, and even some hidden caves. The layers of sedimentary rocks here reveal stories of ancient environments and the passage of time.
On top of all these, getting to Kiowa County is easy. It’s well-connected by highways, and once you arrive, you’ll see for yourself that it offers a wealth of geological wonders to explore. Just make sure you’re familiar with Oklahoma’s latest collecting guidelines before you start exploring here.
Where we found petrified wood in Kiowa County
You can find petrified wood and petrified palm when you explore the following sites in Kiowa:
- West of Hobart area
- Lugert area
- Red River downstream from the Altus Reservoir Dam
- South shore of the Washita River
- Shoreline of Top Steed Reservoir, especially on the northern and western shores
- Gravel deposits in Snyder area
Mountain Fork offers a delightful blend of geography, terrain, and geological wonders. It’s characterized by the beautiful Ouachita Mountains, which provide a jaw-dropping backdrop for your exploration.
The geography of the Mountain Fork is a treat for the eyes. From lush forests to picturesque river valleys, its landscape offers a diverse range of natural beauty. Its terrain includes rolling hills, rocky slopes, and the mesmerizing Mountain Fork River itself, flowing through the heart of it all.
Mountain Fork’s geology is primarily composed of sedimentary rocks, including sandstone, shale, and limestone. These rocks hold clues to ancient environments and the incredible forces that shaped the area over millions of years. Of course, you can find the coveted petrified wood here, too.
Where we found petrified wood at Mountain Fork
Explore 2.5 miles east of Horseshoe Mountain at the Mountain Fork to find stunning samples of petrified wood.
Flowing through the heart of Oklahoma, the Arkansas River meanders its way and offers a sight to behold. From sprawling plains to rolling hills, the landscape is a treat for the eyes. The river itself carves through the land, creating scenic river valleys and vistas along its course.
The terrain along the Arkansas River is definitely exciting! You can explore the rocky slopes, gravel bars, and sandy banks that line the river’s edge when you go here. The river exposes a wide range of geological formations, including petrified wood.
Thanks to the excellent road networks and accessibility, getting to the Arkansas River is a breeze. It’s easily reached from nearby towns and cities, making it a popular destination for adventurers and nature lovers.
Where we found petrified wood at the Arkansas River
You can explore upstream and down along the Arkansas River to find amazing specimens of petrified wood, including petrified fern.
When you go to Flint Hills, you’ll see for yourself its rolling hills that stretch as far as the eye can see. These hills are covered in vibrant prairie grasses, highlighting the beauty of this place.
The terrain of the Flint Hills is also unlike any other. With its characteristic limestone layers, it creates a beautiful mosaic of exposed rock formations. This spot has yielded remarkable specimens of petrified wood that are waiting to be uncovered.
Luckily, Flint Hills is accessible from nearby towns and cities. Like our previous recommended sites, this spot is well-connected by roads, too.
Where we found petrified wood at Flint Hills
Uncover specimens of dark brown petrified wood that are often well-coated with quartz druzy when you explore Flint Hills, especially along the Kansas border.
Located in the northwestern part of Oklahoma, Woods County is endowed with a captivating blend of geography, diverse terrain, and intriguing rock formations.
The county encompasses rolling plains, fertile farmland, and pockets of picturesque natural beauty. And the county’s landscape offers a mix of prairies, woodlands, and even some river valleys, providing a scenic backdrop for your adventure.
The terrain of Woods County is a rockhound’s paradise. As you venture through it, you’ll encounter different geological formations, including layers of sedimentary rocks like sandstone, shale, and limestone. The county has also been known to reveal specimens of petrified wood that give us a glimpse into the past.
Where we found petrified wood in Woods County
Petrified wood is abundant in Woods County, so much so that you can find it countywide, especially in areas west and south of Alva. If you prefer to focus your search, you can explore southwestward over a broad area in Noel from the start of the dunes.
Other Great Places To Find Oklahoma Petrified Wood
If you’re planning to visit more places to find Petrified Wood in Oklahoma, below are plenty of other locations that contain them. We’ve arranged them by county to make it easier for you to use this guide.
|Caddo||Tindel Company Gravel Pit|
|Caddo||South shore of the Canadian River, adjacent prospects and quarries to the Canadian County border|
|Canadian||Gravel bars along the North Canadian River|
|Canadian||Dolese County gravel pit|
|Canadian||North of Union City area|
|Canadian||Hinkle Company Quarry|
|Cimarron||Coal mines in Mexahoma area|
|Cimarron||Downstream on South Carrizo Creek and both sides of Cottonwood Canyon to its mouth at the Cimarron River|
|Comanche||Faxon area gravel and sand pits|
|Comanche||Indiahoma area gravel and sand pits|
|Dewey||Seiling, Taloga area|
|Ellis||Gravel pit along Marquette Creek|
|Ellis||Grand area and gravel pit of Arnett area|
|Ellis||Gravel pits and sand pits along Wolf Creek in Gage and Shattuck areas|
|Grady||Gravel pits north of SR-37 at Tuttle|
|Greer||A few miles south of Jester|
|Greer||North of Mangum area|
|Greer||Salt Fork of the Red River|
|Harper||Surrounding town in Buffalo|
|Harper||West of US-183|
|Jackson||Elmer area gravel pits|
|Johnston||Troy area gravel pits|
|McClain||Dolese Gravel Pit|
|Murray||Makins Gravel Pit|
|Okfuskee||North-northwest to Canadian River prospects|
|Okfuskee||Boley area prospects|
|Okfuskee||Coffman Gravel Pit|
|Oklahoma||Bethany area gravel pits|
|Osage||Surrounding hills and ravines of Fairfax|
|Pawnee||Abandoned copper mine at Pawnee|
|Payne||Copper prospect at Yost|
|Roger Mills||Gravel pits and sand pits of Durham area|
|Seminole||Dolese Company Gravel Pit|
General Areas You Should Try
A few of the places we’ve shared above may cover broad areas. If you want to focus your search on the usual areas where petrified wood can be found, make sure you check out the following spots when you go on your exploration:
Streams and Creeks
Streams and creeks are flowing water bodies that are treasure troves for collectors seeking petrified wood. Over time, erosion and the force of moving water can dislodge petrified wood from its original location. The water then carries these pieces downstream and unveils their beauty.
And did you know that you can find petrified wood concentrated in certain areas of these waterways? It’s because streams and creeks act as natural sieves, sorting the rocks and minerals based on their size and density.
Rivers and River Banks
Exploring rivers and river banks for petrified wood is a perfectly sound idea. Rivers gradually wear away the surrounding rocks and expose hidden treasures. Over time, petrified wood can be unearthed and transported downstream, eventually coming to rest along the river banks.
River banks also provide excellent exposure to geological layers. As the river cuts through the land, it exposes different rock formations, including those that may contain petrified wood.
Sediments have the amazing ability to preserve organic materials over time. When fallen trees or branches are buried under layers of sediment, they become protected. As years go by, minerals in groundwater start to seep into the wood’s cellular structure, replacing organic matter bit by bit.
The result? Petrified wood! When you explore sediment deposits, keep an eye out for distinct rock formations, such as sandstone or mudstone, as they often harbor hidden petrified wood treasures within their layers.
Common Questions About Finding Petrified Wood In Oklahoma
We’ll answer some of the most commonly-asked questions when it comes to finding petrified wood in our state in case you share the same queries in mind.
How old is Petrified Wood in Oklahoma
Petrified wood offers a remarkable glimpse into the ancient past, with some specimens in Oklahoma dating back millions of years. The majority of these originate from the Late Paleozoic Era, which spanned approximately 360 to 300 million years ago.
During this time, our state was covered by vast forests dominated by tree species, such as ferns, horsetails, and early conifers. As these trees fell and were buried by sediments in rivers and swamps, the preservation process began. The result is an astounding record of rich petrified wood deposits.
Can you find Petrified Palm Wood in Oklahoma
Petrified palm wood naturally occurs in several areas in Oklahoma (you can review our discussion above), so if you’re specifically aiming to find them, you’ll have no problem uncovering them here.
The Best Places To Buy Petrified Wood In Oklahoma
If you prefer an easier (and breezier!) way of observing and taking home a petrified wood, you can visit our local trusted shops that have great selections of these natural wonders. Below are some of them: