Great Salt Plains Lake, Oklahoma, USA

Welcome to the ultimate guide for history, statistics, local fun facts and the best things to do at Great Salt Plains Lake.

If you’re considering Great Salt Plains Lake vacation rentals, we’ve made it super easy to explore accommodations and nearby hotels using the interactive map below. Simply click on a listing to compare similar properties, best rates and availability for your dates. Or keep scrolling to read our Great Salt Plains Lake guide!

Great Salt Plains Lake visitor and community guide

Lake Locations: USA - Southwest - Oklahoma - Red Carpet Country -

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.

Custom Great Salt Plains Lake house decor

Read our full review of these personalized lake house signs.

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

Best hotels and vacation rentals at Great Salt Plains Lake

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Great Salt Plains Lake photo gallery

New photos coming soon!

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

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