Cheaha State Park has a new attraction, the Pinhoti Mineral and Gem Mining Company. Park visitors can now purchase bags of gemstone-rich soil and pan for geologic treasures in a specially designed water trough located behind the Indian Relic Museum at the park’s main entrance.
The bags of soil are available from the park’s store for $6 to $20 from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. The bags contain a wide variety of gemstones, shark teeth, arrowheads, fossils and other geologic curiosities. Each bag comes with a brochure to help miners identify their treasure.
The mine is self-service. Once park visitors purchase a bag of soil they can pan for their treasure anytime from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. The Cheaha store also offers fool’s gold (pyrite), gemstones and other collectable items to remember your visit to Alabama’s highest elevation.
The gem mine is also available as part of a package tour which includes a tour of the Walter Farr Indian Artifacts Museum, a puppet show and meals. The tour is made available for public and homeschool field trips. For more information, contact the Cheaha events coordinator at Cheaha.email@example.com.
Nestled in the Appalachian foothills, Cheaha State Park is located in northern Clay and southwestern Cleburne counties. Cheaha is Alabama’s oldest continuously operating state park and includes the state’s highest elevation, Cheaha Mountain (more than 2,400 feet above sea level).
Park facilities include a lodge, restaurant, camp store, campsites, fishing and swimming lake, hiking and mountain biking trails, an Indian relic museum and the Pinhoti Mineral and Gem Mining Company. For more information, visit www.alapark.com