Visiting my family in Oklahoma is always a good time, but it is usually far from a healthy endeavor. This past trip was a bit different though. My sister-in-law, Melissa, participated in the 52 Hike Challenge in 2016. While I could not keep up with that kind of badassery, I was happy to join her for two of her 52 hikes throughout the year. We hiked Cadillac Mountain in Maine earlier this year, and followed that up with a lovely hike at Roman Nose State Park over our Christmas visit.
Named after Chief Henry Roman Nose, who died in the park’s canyon, Roman Nose State Park is located in Northwest Oklahoma outside the town of Watonga. It’s not far at all from where I grew up, though somehow I’d never been there until this visit. The park boasts two lakes, a golf course, camp sites and a hotel. It’s free to enter for the day, and has some of the nicest facilities for a state park that I’ve ever seen.
Roman Nose offers four interconnected hiking trails with views of canyons, lakes and various wildlife. We wound up hiking a little over four miles since one part of Melissa’s planned hike was closed that day.
The trails are very well maintained, but not always clearly marked, so it is wise to grab a map from the welcome center. Shortly after beginning our hike, we were able to make a quick detour to see Boecher Lake, the smaller of the two lakes located at the park.
It was a chilly, windy day so we were two of the only hikers on the trail, lending a very peaceful feeling to our surroundings. In the distance, we spotted several teepees available for camping. I’m not much of a camper, but spending the night in a teepee next to a serene little lake could convince me to try again.
We rejoined the main trail again for a moderate hike to the main overlook. We were treated to sweeping views of evergreen spotted vistas.
Oklahoma gets a bad rap for being flat and boring, but it just isn’t so. Okay, there may be some flat and boring parts of the state, but this isn’t one of them.
Soon we got our first glimpse of Lake Watonga. The skies were a brilliant blue that day, making the water appear bluer than usual and quite stunning from a distance. I have to admit, this was not the kind of scenery I was expecting from an Oklahoma hike.
The main overlook at Roman Nose State Park is Inspiration Point, with canyon views on one side and lake views on the other.
Aside from being pretty, Lake Watonga is also known for its excellent fishing – especially bass and trout. I wish we’d had a little more time, and slightly better weather, so we could have gotten closer to the lakeshore and explored a bit.
Instead, we hit the road and undid our healthy efforts with a delicious meal of fried chicken. But I’m still telling myself we were healthy on this trip. Thanks for showing me a new side of Oklahoma, Melissa!
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