Great Salt Plains Lake, Oklahoma, USA

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Great Salt Plains Lake — things to do, where to stay, fun facts, history, stats and more. Let’s dive in!

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Looking for Great Salt Plains Lake cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore our comprehensive list of favorite travel partners.

All About Great Salt Plains Lake

With over 8,600 acres of water and 41 miles of shoreline, Great Salt Plains Lake in northern Oklahoma’s Red Carpet Country is an outdoor enthusiast’s ideal destination. Great Salt Plains Lake is located in a natural basin that has red shale bluffs and sandy beaches near the dam and salt plains on the west side that are literally a sea of salt.

No one really knows why there is such a great expanse of salt in the area, but one theory is that the salt is the remains of a prehistoric sea. However, one thing is known for certain and that is the fact that the Great Salt Plains Lake is the only place on earth that crystals form with hourglass shapes inside. These “hourglass selenite” are a delicate form of selenite which is a form of gypsum. Travelers from around the world visit the Great Salt Plains to mine for these crystals.

Great Salt Plains Lake naturally contains salty water that is about half as salty as the ocean. With six state maintained areas around the lake, visitors may have a hard time choosing what to do first. The recreational activities include boating, camping, picnicking, swimming, beaches, and multi-use trails for hiking, biking, and horse back riding. The campgrounds have groomed areas for tents, RVs and cabins available for vacation rentals.

Anglers will want to take advantage of the fishing dock and multiple boat ramps to gain access to the great fishing at Great Salt Plains Lake. The lake is regularly stocked with channel catfish, hybrid striped bass, and saugeye. White bass, sand bass, and trout are also abundant.

The Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge is located along the Great Salt Plains Lake and surrounding area. This refuge is part of the Continental Central Flyway which is a chain of refuge areas for migrating birds and waterfowl, especially duck and geese. The bald eagle and gold eagle spend their winters in the refuge. This area is a top destination for avid birdwatchers as it has been noted that one local birdwatcher spotted 110 species of birds in just one and half days.

If Great Salt Plains Lake does not have enough fun for you, just remember that it is located in the Red Carpet Country of Oklahoma with its many diverse attractions and landscapes. The geography of the area ranges from gypsum sand dunes to rugged buttes to massive mesas. With just a short drive from Great Salt Plains Lake you can step back to days of the Wild West and enjoy a bronco busting good time at a rodeo or the colorful costumes of Indian powwows and festivals. Enjoy the bright lights and many sounds of local casinos, the roar of stockcar racing, or the quiet and intellectually stimulating museums and historical sites.

Whether you choose crystal mining, bird watching, or just relaxing on the beach, visit the fun at the world famous Great Salt Plains Lake.

Things to Do at Great Salt Plains Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • National Wildlife Refuge
  • Museum
  • Casino Gambling

Fish Species Found at Great Salt Plains Lake

  • Bass
  • Catfish
  • Channel Catfish
  • Saugeye Perch
  • Striped Bass
  • Trout
  • White Bass

Find Places to Stay at Great Salt Plains Lake

If you’re considering a Great Salt Plains Lake lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.

Recommended Sites to Book a Great Salt Plains Lake Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Great Salt Plains Lake lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

Great Salt Plains Lake Statistics & Helpful Links


Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Surface Area: 8,690 acres

Shoreline Length: 41 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,125 feet

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 1,118 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 1,139 feet

Average Depth: 3 feet

Water Volume: 26,111 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1941

Drainage Area: 3,200 sq. miles

We strive to keep the information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. However, if you’ve found something in this article that needs updating, we’d certainly love to hear from you! Please fill out our Content Correction form.

Shop Great Salt Plains Lake Gifts

Custom Lake Tumblers

Captain / First Mate Custom 20 oz Tumbler

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Personalized My Boat My Rules Unisex T-Shirt

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On Lake Time Custom Coffee Mug – 11oz or 15oz


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