It’s the perfect time of the year to get outdoors and explore the majestic beauty that sits with the borders of the Sooner State. From waterfalls to prairies to caves, there are many natural wonders tucked away in Oklahoma waiting to be discovered. And the great thing about them is, they are free to visit…except for a small parking fee at a few of them. Check out 9 of them below, then pack up the car and take a little adventure.
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
1. Heavener Runestone State Park (Heavener)
Heavener Runestone Park is a 55-acre, day-use park located in Le Flore County. A beautiful waterfall flows freely below the rocks and is surrounded by lush greenery. It's a small park that is loaded with mystery, scenic views, and nature trails.
2. Talimena Scenic Drive: Talihina
One dreamy place every Oklahoman should visit is the Talimena Scenic Drive in the Ouachita National Forest in southeastern Oklahoma. The 54-mile drive will take you through the most breathtaking vistas in the state, introduce you to quaint, historic gateway towns and take you exploring on an endless number of trails (if you choose). If you wish to just take a leisurely drive, it will take you about an hour; if you want to spend days in the area, there’s plenty to do.
3. Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge: Indiahoma
Located in southwestern Oklahoma, near Lawton, Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge is over 59,000 acres of beautiful land. Visitors can hike, bike, climb, rappel, camp, fish, and enjoy all nature has to offer.
4. Medicine Creek: Medicine Park
Situated at the base of the Wichita Mountains is the quaint, cobblestone town of Medicine Park. It's the perfect town to enjoy an outdoor walk, swim in the creek, spend an afternoon fishing, or enjoying the splendid beauty of the mountains all around. Medicine Creek is open to visitors and is a great spot to cool off on a hot, summer day.
5. Chickasaw National Recreation Area: Sulphur
Chickasaw National Recreation Area has been described as an oasis in the Oklahoma prairie. From its pristine waters to picturesque scenery, the Chickasaw National Recreation Area in south-central Oklahoma is the perfect place to explore the great outdoors. This Oklahoma oasis is situated at the foothills of the Arbuckle Mountains and is made up of Veteran’s Lake, Lake of the Arbuckles, Travertine Creek, and Rock Creek.
6. Black Mesa State Park: Kenton
The highest point in Oklahoma can be found at Black Mesa at 4,973 feet above sea level. Black Mesa is located in the Oklahoma panhandle, along with portions of New Mexico and Colorado. It is a favorite spot for bird-lovers and wildlife enthusiasts, as there are an abundance of bird species and wildlife in the park and preserve. The hike to the top of the mesa takes about 4 hours to the top and back.
7. Robbers Cave State Park: Wilburton
Robbers Cave State Park is located in the San Bois Mountains of southeastern Oklahoma and features over 12 miles of trails that wind you through caves, lakes, streams, and breathtaking scenery. The popular caves are made of sandstone (not the usual limestone) and were popular hideouts for outlaws Jesse James and Belle Star.
8. Red Rock Canyon State Park
Red Rock Canyon State Park is one of Oklahoma’s crown jewels for outdoor enthusiasts. Located near Hinton, Oklahoma in the west-central portion of the state, Red Rock Canyon is the place to go for epic hikes, rappelling, camping and, exploring the outdoors. The canyon hike at Red Rock is an unrivaled experience everyone should enjoy at least once.
9. Natural Falls State Park: Colcord
There’s an enchanting spot in the northeastern corner of the state that will make you feel like you’ve stepped through a magical wardrobe. From gorgeous waterfalls to lush greenery to scenic forests, this park in Oklahoma may feel more like a scene from The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe than the Sooner State. Go ahead, step into Natural Falls State Park – an otherworldly place that is filled with magnificent scenery.
If you are interested in learning more about Red Rock Canyon, you can read more about it