Oklahoma has some stunning landscapes best experienced via hiking. If you’re looking for a weekend backpack camping trip, this is your state. From vast wildlife management areas to prairie grasslands that will take your breath away, here are five beautiful backpack camping spots in Oklahoma.
Situated on the Oklahoma/Texas, Love Valley is a popular spot among hunters, but also serves as a wonderful place to truly get off the beaten path. There are several primitive camping spots throughout the management area that allow for an authentic, rustic camping experience.
The Ouachita Mountains are absolutely stunning any season, but fall is when nature takes it up a notch. There are several trail systems, some just one-mile-long while others are a bit more challenging and lengthy. The main campground is only open from March 1 through Dec. 1 each year, but the backpacker’s camp is open year-round. The amenities include tent pads, fire rings, lantern poles, and a pit toilet. It’s located on the Talimena Scenic Byway, but you’ll have to take a small hike to get to the campground itself.
Go out west to the Black Kettle National Grassland in Roger Mills County. It’s a 30,000-acre prairie with wide open spaces and lots of sky. Scenes from the movie, “The Grapes of Wrath” were filmed just a few miles away from here. You’ll get a glimpse of what life was like in the grasslands. There are plenty of hiking trails and camping areas, but some are primitive. Even in the winter months, it can still be temperate enough to backpack and camp, just bring warm clothes for sleeping.
Take the 18-mile Ankle Express Trail for an interesting hike that includes a swinging bridge, some uneven terrain, and steep grades for a challenge. Hiking is free, too, but visitors are required to register with the time of departure, emergency contact number, and their own cell phone number for safety. Kids fish at no charge in the kids pond and no permit is required. Although some of the RV campsites close for the winter season, from Dec. 1 to March 1, many of the campgrounds remain open to backpackers.
Spanning 101,620 acres, the Honobia Creek Wildlife Management Area makes for some of the best backcountry camping in the state. Be sure to pick up a Land Access Permit, which is required of all visitors of the area. Wildlife abounds at Honobia Creek, with quail, deer, turkey, rabbit, and waterfowl inhabiting the area. There are no designated camping areas here, but pack-in camping is permitted.