7 Reasons to Explore Oklahoma’s Backcountry

7 Reasons to Explore Oklahoma’s Backcountry

7 Reasons to Explore Oklahoma’s Backcountry


Oklahoma, a member of the mid-western United States and part of the Great Plains, might be one of the last places you’d think to find decent hiking trails. In a landlocked state who faces many tornadoes every year, a backpacker might skip over this area altogether. However, those who haven’t looked into hiking in Oklahoma yet are surely missing out. If you want to backpack somewhere off the beaten path this summer, then don’t look any further than here.

1. The Beautiful Wichita Mountains

Wichita Mountains, Oklahoma, Backcountry, explore

The Wichita Mountains are probably Oklahoma’s biggest landmark, and one of the main reasons to explore here. These mountains are the site of America’s first national wildlife refuge, and though they are old, they still retain their original magic. The mountains are a great place to rock climb and hike, and many people come from all over the mid-west to put their skills to the test here.

2. The Thriving Wildlife

wildlife, Oklahoma, backcountry

Because of the history of the Wichita Mountains, you can be sure to find many animals here at this wildlife refuge. Theodore Roosevelt once helped in donating bison to the area, and since then, they have managed to grow the population of bison as well as other animals here. You can also find plenty of elk, deer, birds, amphibians, fish, and over 800 plant species.

3. The Historical Martha Songbird Trail

Oklahoma, backcountry

Oklahoma has a lot of good hikes, but there’s nothing quite like the Martha Songbird Trail which sits on the Fort Sill Historical Route. This area played a significant role during the Indian Wars, and it hosts Geronimo’s grave as well as markers where General Custer once camped. The Martha Songbird Trail is dedicated to the last passenger bird, and to celebrate nature, the trail is outlined with educational information about all the plants, trees, and insects. Therefore, it’s a great place to bring the family out for a day hike.

4. The View at Mt. Scott

Oklahoma, Mt. Scott

Though many people prefer to drive up to the lookout point here than hike, it is possible to make your way up the three-mile paved road. If you can’t make it here for the gorgeous sunset, then no worries; you’ll still get an incredible view of Oklahoma’s vast plains below.

5. A Rock Climber’s Paradise

Oklahoma, backcountry

Speaking of Mt. Scott, it’s an awesome place to rock-climb. Oklahoma is seriously underrated when it comes to popular rock-climbing destinations. But, if you’re looking for somewhere a little less crowded to get your game on, then here would be the best place to do it. If you’re not climbing in the Wichitas, then head to Quartz Mountain, Robber’s Cave, and Chandler Park for bouldering.

6. The Challenging Black Mesa Summit Trail

Oklahoma, backcountry, explore

Black Mesa is the highest point in Oklahoma, and those who are up for a challenge can find it here. Located in the very western part of the state, the journey to get here will be just as exciting as the actual trek. At one point, this area was volcanically active, and black pumice has since spread all over the area, hence the name of the trail. It’s is 8.4 miles out and back, and while you should hike it before it gets too hot, it will sure be an awesome experience.

7. Camping on the Lakes

Oklahoma, explore, backcountry

Oklahoma is home to some of the country’s most beautiful, yet little-known lakes. Many of them are open for camping, as well as other recreational activities like hiking, cycling, canoeing, fishing, and even soaking the day away in mineral springs. Check out the Lake of the Arbuckles in Chickasaw National Recreation Area, or Beavers Bend & Hochatown State Park for a camping weekend you’ll never forget!

Depending on where you’re from, Oklahoma might be a little off your radar, but don’t let that stop you from checking it out this summer!

hanalarock I'm Hana- a freelance travel writer and teacher who currently lives in South Korea. I'm originally from New York, but have spent the last two years traveling and living abroad. My first time hiking in the US was when I traveled around the country as a teenager. Though, my first adult backpacking trip was a year ago, when I hiked from Thailand down to Singapore for a month. I'm looking forward to many more adventures in the future. Visit my site for more information.