As one of only four states with more than 10 eco-regions, Oklahoma’s beautiful topography is waiting to be discovered. Most visitors (and residents) aren’t aware of all the places to explore in the Sooner State. Here are 13 incredible places in Oklahoma that will bring out the explorer in you.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge
The 59,020-acre Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge hosts a rare piece of the past - a remnant mixed grass prairie. Included within the refuge are the 5,723-acre Charon's Garden Wilderness, and the 36,620-acre Special Use Area. There are nine designated hiking trails in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, ranging in length from about 0.3 to 5.7 miles.
2. Osage Hills State Park
Osage Hills State Park is a 1,100-acre located near Pawhuska and Bartlesville. The park offers outdoor recreation opportunities including camping, hiking, fishing and wildlife watching. Anglers can practice their skills at Lookout Lake or at Sand Creek, which winds through the park. Bass, crappie, catfish and perch, among other fish, can be found. Fishing boats are available for rental at the lake.
3. Cedar Lake
Cedar Lake is located in southeast Oklahoma, in the pine and hardwood-forested mountains of Ouachita National Forest. The campground is situated on the shores of the scenic lake, a popular destination for boating, fishing, horseback riding and hiking. Cedar Lake covers 86 acres and is situated at an elevation of 900 feet. Campers and day visitors can choose from a wide variety of activities including picnicking, swimming, fishing, canoeing, hiking the three mile trail around the lake, walking a short nature trail or just relaxing.
4. Ouachita National Forest
The Ouachita National Forest covers 1.8 million acres in southeastern Oklahoma and central Arkansas. The forest encompasses 700 miles of trails, 43 vistas, six wilderness areas and the highest elevations between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Rockies. Two wilderness areas are found in the forest - The 13,139-acre Black Fork Mountain Wilderness (located in both Arkansas and Oklahoma) and the 9,754-acre Upper Kiamichi River Wilderness (located solely in Oklahoma).
5. Robbers Cave State Park
Robbers Cave State Park is located in the beautiful, hilly woodlands of the Sans Bois Mountains of southeast Oklahoma. This park is popular with rappellers, equestrians, hikers and outdoor lovers. The park and adjacent wildlife management area offers acres of discovery and enjoyment including trout fishing, hunting, miles of hiking and equestrian trails, rugged cliffs for climbing and fall foliage viewing.
6. Alabaster Caverns State Park
Located just six miles south of Freedom is "Nature’s Underground Wonderland." Alabaster Caverns is the nation's largest publicly held gypsum cave which is open to visitors. It is 3/4 of a mile long and descends several hundred feet below the earth's surface. Guided tours are conducted daily and thousands of visitors can view massive boulders of alabaster and selenite as they wind their way through the cave. The average temperature in the caverns is fifty degrees year-round. The park also boasts hiking, wildlife viewing and other outdoor recreational activities.
7. Upper Mountain Fork River
Mountain Fork River, located in southeast Oklahoma, is a popular canoe stream that empties into Broken Bow Lake. The Upper Mountain Fork River is home to some great canoeing, kayaking and tube floating. Canoe & kayak outfitters are available throughout warmer seasons. Prepare to get wet, when you take a kayak or canoe down the 3-4 miles of rock gardens, rapids and small waterfalls.
8. Natural Falls State Park
Natural Falls State Park is one of the most
beautiful scenic wonders in the state of Oklahoma. The highlight of Natural Falls State Park, of
course, is the 77-foot waterfall that is one of
the largest and easiest to access in the
entire Oklahoma and Arkansas mountain
region. A paved trail leads to overlooks and a
viewing platform at the bottom of the falls. The bottom of the ravine is sanctuary of
peace and quiet, disturbed only by the sound
of the waterfall.
9. Blue River
Enjoy an array of outdoor recreational activities at the Blue River in Tishomingo including deer, turkey and wild hog hunting in addition to fishing, swimming and camping. Greater adventure calls for those who brave kayaking down the river. As a Class II-III river, these waters offer a pleasant floating experience featuring several short falls, interval currents and ledges. Learn more about the Blue River at
10. Little Sahara State Park
Little Sahara State Park boasts over 1,600 acres of sand dunes, ranging in height from 25 to 75 feet. The main attraction at Little Sahara State Park is dune buggy and ATV riding across the sand dunes. Visitors can either bring their own ATV or rent one off-site by a private vendor. Either way, visitors will have a blast in this mini-desert atmosphere, known as one of the best riding spots for ATVs in the Midwest.
11. Gloss Mountains
Glass Mountains State Park (also called Gloss Mountain State Park) is an Oklahoma state park located near the city of Fairview. It is a recreational-educational park that is accessible for hiking and picnicking from sunrise to sunset. The Gloss Mountains consist of buttes which rise from 50 to 175 feet above the valley floor. The northern most butte, named Lone Peak, is the highest.
12. Beavers Bend State Park
Beavers Bend State Park is a 1,300 acres Oklahoma state park located in McCurtain County along the shores of Broken Bow Lake and the Mountain Fork River. Visitors traveling down the winding roads through the forests of pine and hardwood trees will find adventure, stunning scenery and plenty of activities inside this state park.
13. Roman Nose State Park
Roman Nose State Park, named after a Cheyenne chief, is one of the original seven Oklahoma state parks. Set amidst a beautiful canyon, recreational activities at this state park include exploring the natural springs and Civilian Conservation Corp structures, an 18-hole golf course, swimming pools, hiking trails, two lakes, trout fishing in season, canoeing, paddle boats, mountain biking, horse stables and hayrides by reservation (seasonal). Rentals include canoes, kayaks, paddleboats and mountain bikes. Swimming in the lakes is not allowed, but fishing and no-wake boating are welcome.