Views From the Top: Climbs to Six Spectacular Oklahoma Views - MetroFamily Magazine
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Views From the Top: Climbs to Six Spectacular Oklahoma Views

by Mae Kiggins

Upon first glance at Oklahoma’s topography, the state might not seem like it would have many picturesque views to offer.

But if you’ve ever seen the sunset reflecting off one of the state’s glistening lakes or watched prairie grass sway in the wind between towering red canyon walls, you realize Oklahoma is packed with some pretty spectacular scenes.

Oklahoma is home to mountains, prairies, canyons, lakes, rivers and wildlife preserves all settled in 33 state parks. If you’re looking for a particularly good view, we’ve rounded up five amazing ones in every direction of the Oklahoma City metro area.

Travel Tips: Many of these locations are rural and cell phone reception may be spotty or nonexistent. Check ahead of time and bring all of the information you may need with you, including directions to the park.

All state parks in Oklahoma have restrooms, picnic tables, pavilions and most have playgrounds for kids, making them ideal destinations for families.

1. Natural Falls State Park

Near West Siloam Springs, about two hours and 40 minutes northeast of the metro

Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily

Fee: $5/Vehicle

We’ve highlighted this park many times before because it’s so great for the entire family. The park boasts a 77-foot waterfall that plummets to the bottom of a small canyon. The hike to the bottom of the canyon is short but strenuous. For those who don’t want to hike, there’s still an incredible view of the falls from the overlook and bridge. The best time of year to visit is spring because the flow of water tends to slow as the summer heat hits.

2. Wichita Mountains

Near Lawton, one hour and 40 minutes southwest of the metro

Hours: Visitor’s Center open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily

Fee: None

If your ideal Oklahoma view is one dotted with native bison, a trip to the top of Mt. Scott at the Wichita Mountains is a must. The seed stock to rebuild the nation’s bison population comes from these mountains. This is the most visited wildlife refuge in the U.S. and Mt. Scott is the highest point in the refuge and affords beautiful vistas from huge granite rocks. Visitors can drive or hike all the way to the top. Mt. Scott is located on Hwy 46 on the east side of the refuge. Another beautiful area to explore is the Charon’s Garden Wilderness Area. This area is perfect if you are looking to climb, hike and just explore.

 

3. Gloss Mountain State Park

North of Fairview, two hours northwest of the metro

Hours: Dawn until dusk

Fee: None

The Gloss Mountains, sometimes called the Glass Mountains, are made up of a unique red granite that creates a stunning contrast against the blue sky and colorful wildflowers. The towering granite has a unique shiny feature that makes it glisten in the sun, which is how the park got its name. The hike to the top is short but demanding so it’s recommended for older kids and more experienced hikers. There is no visitor’s center here but there are restrooms.

 

4. Red Rock Canyon

Near Hinton, one hour west of the metro

Hours: Sunrise to sunset for day use; overnight camping available

Fee: None for day use

Red Rock Canyon is unique and known for its towering walls of red rock. These can be enjoyed with a drive through the canyon, with a hike or from the pool (open Memorial Day through Labor Day). This park also is known as one of the best areas in the state to repel, offering a unique view for visitors.

 

5. Roman Nose State Park

NearWatonga, about an hour and a half northwest of the metro

Hours: Sunrise to sunset for day use; overnight camping available

Fee: None for day use

When visiting Roman Nose, plan time for hiking. Any of the trails around the lake offers delightful views. If you prefer not to hike, there are views from the back patio just off of the Lodge restaurant. Roman Nose also has equestrian trails and a pool, offering plenty of ways to sit back and enjoy the view.

 

6. Black Mesa Stake Park

Near Kenton, about six hours northwest of the metro

Hours: Sunrise to sunset for day use; overnight camping available

Fee: None for day use

This state park is stunning as it offers both mesas and a canyon. It is a little bit of a drive from OKC but well worth it because it’s the highest point in the entire state. There are two areas to this park: Black Mesa Nature Preserve and Black Mesa State Park. Stop by the park office at the Black Mesa State Park for maps and information before you depart into the park. Black Mesa Nature Preserve is home to the highest point in Oklahoma. It is a 4.2-mile (one-way) hike to the highest point. Most of the hike is fairly easy but it is long. Plan for plenty of time and bring lots of water and snacks. Black Mesa State Park is home to Lake Carl Etling which is located at the bottom of a small canyon.

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