Black Mesa State Park and Nature Reserve is located in the Oklahoma Panhandle, close to the border of both Colorado and New Mexico. The Mesa was formed by volcanic rock and offers a unique wilderness experience for travelers. Surrounding the area are many Black Mesa State Park cabins to fully immerse yourself in nature.
Best Hiking Trails in Black Mesa State Park
Hiking in Black Mesa State Park takes you past dramatic landscapes and along trails filled with interesting wildlife. Spend days exploring these hiking routes to discover the beauty of this state park on foot.
1. Black Mesa Summit Trail
Plan at least four hours to hike up to the highest point in Oklahoma, with views of the dramatic desert landscape. Black Mesa is a transition zone between the Rocky Mountain foothills and the high grass prairies, so a variety of wildlife converges there.
2. Bird Haven Trail
For less experienced hikers, or mixed ability family groups, try Bird Haven Trail located inside the state park. Especially in the spring, you will instantly see how this trail got its name, as birds of all varieties will greet you as you walk by.
3. Dinosaur Quarry
If you stay in Black Mesa State Park hotels in nearby Kenton, take a short drive to the Dinosaur Quarry. Visitors are welcome during daylight hours. This is the best place to view dinosaur footprints preserved in the sandstone next to Carrizo Creek and samples of petrified wood.
Family Activities in Black Mesa State Park
This family trip is a real wilderness adventure, so come prepared with the proper clothing for the weather (hot in summer) and any supplies you might need. If you want to really get out in nature and away from the city then Black Mesa State Park can provide an idyllic family retreat.
1. Fishing in Lake Carl Etling
This lake is located adjacent to Black Mesa State Park, outside the Nature Preserve. This is good news for anglers, as fishing is allowed in Lake Carl Etling. Winter is the time to catch trout, and a variety of fish can be found all year round.
2. Learning from the Night Sky
Black Mesa State Park features some of the blackest night skies in the country, making the park a haven for amateur astronomers. The state park draws star watchers from all over each August when the annual Perseid meteor shower appears. Stay nearby in one of several Black Mesa State Park cabins and get your telescope ready.
3. Camping in the Park
The actual Nature Preserve is not open after dusk, but the park is available for tent camping, RV hook-ups, and a group camp facility with twelve Bunkhouses. Picnic facilities, boat ramps, and a well-maintained playground add to your camping experience.
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