7 SURPRISING Oklahoma National Parks (in Photos + Helpful Tips) 2022

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“7 SURPRISING Oklahoma National Parks (in Photos + Helpful Tips) 2022”
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#Oklahoma #OklahomaNationalPark #BestNationalParksInOklahoma #OklahomaVisitNationalParks
From protected shoreline areas to elevated mountain ranges, the top 5 national parks in Oklahoma boast some of the best views and natural scenery in Oklahoma. Oklahoma is full of state parks, national heritage areas, historical parks, a national seashore, and other parks. There are over a hundred state protected areas in Oklahoma which include wildlife areas, state forests, nature reserves, state parks, and so much more. If you’re in Oklahoma and enjoy nature and spending time outdoors, then this list of Oklahoma parks is for you. The comprehensive list covers twenty-five of the best outdoor recreational spaces which preserve the natural beauty of the land while providing ample opportunity to partake in activities such as hiking, fishing, swimming, camping, and more. In many of the parks we’ve listed, the fun continues during the colder winter months as they also provide snowshoeing, ice fishing, and cross-country skiing. Check out the top 10 best National Parks to visit in Oklahoma and put together a trip itinerary that kids and adults alike will remember for a lifetime.

Wiki Peaks is on a mission to promote the tourism in the World. We are here to show you the beautiful places in the world. You can see the beauty of this world from the comfort of your home.

There are many beautiful national parks in Oklahoma. USA has some of the best national parks in Oklahoma. We collected data on the top 10 national parks to visit in Oklahoma. There are many famous national parks in Oklahoma and some of them are beautiful national parks in Oklahoma. People from all over USA love these Oklahoma beautiful national parks which are also Oklahoma famous national parks. In this video, we will show you the beautiful national parks to visit in Oklahoma.

Please help us in our cause and share this channel as much as possible with your friends and family.

***All images used in this video are a property of their owners. We have no intention of showing these images as our own property. We used these images just to promote tourism.***

Oklahoma City Memorial | Oklahoma National Parks

OklahomaNational Parks

Oklahoma National Parks! We’ve got 7 national park sites for you to see on your next visit to the Sooner State.

I’ve been to so many of these amazing places since retiring from teaching in 2018. Did I mention that I taught history? I spent a lifetime teaching about the history behind these momentous sites. Then I got to see them firsthand. And now I’m sharing the stories of these incredible places with you. It doesn’t get any better than that!

If you’re planning a trip to the Sooner State then one book that I highly recommend is: Greater Than a Tourist- Oklahoma USA: 50 Travel Tips from a Local (Greater Than a Tourist United States) by Collin Hinds.

We’ll give you 7 wonderful reasons why you’ll want to make Oklahoma your next vacation destination.


Oklahoma National Parks Table Of Contents

  1. Chickasaw National Recreation Area
  2. Deep Fork National Wildlife Refuge
  3. John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park
  4. Oklahoma City National Memorial
  5. Santa Fe National Historic Trail
  6. Trail Of Tears National Historic Trail
  7. Washita Battlefield National Historic Site
  8. Map Of Oklahoma National Parks
  9. About The People Behind More Than Just Parks
  10. Meet The Parks Brothers



Best Oklahoma National Parks

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1. Chickasaw National Recreation Area

Activities: boating, skiing, sailing, fishing, swimming, hiking, camping. 

Chickasaw National Recreation Area is Oklahoma’s oldest national park area.

Here’s a little history. In 1902, the U.S. Government purchased 640 acres from the Chickasaw Nation to protect the mineral and freshwater springs.

In 1906, it was renamed Platt National Park at which time additional acreage was added. In 1976, Platt National Park and Arbuckle Recreation Area joined to form the Chickasaw National Recreation Area.

Chickasaw National Recreation Area Oklahoma Chickasaw National Recreation Area | Oklahoma National Parks

Recreational Opportunities

Today this beautiful national park is a lovely oasis of water, foliage and wildlife. It all comes together to create the perfect outdoor experience. The park is located in south-central Oklahoma.

If you enjoy a good hike there are more than 30 miles of trails for both novice and experienced hikers to enjoy. Newcomers to the park should begin their experience at the Travertine Nature Center. It’s the park’s main educational center.

It provides interactive learning opportunities, informational exhibits and other Ranger-led programs including guided hikes and educational tours on the flora and fauna found within the park.

backpacker, hiking, trail-1246836.jpg Oklahoma National Parks

2. Deep Fork National Wildlife Refuge

*Deep Fork is technically not a national park site – managed by US Fish & Wildlife.

Established in 1993 to protect the rapidly disappearing bottomland hardwood forests of eastern Oklahoma, Deep Fork National Wildlife Refuge is a truly breathtaking wilderness area.

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It’s a 10,000 acre refuge, which offers a crucial resource for waterfowl migrating along the Central Flyway in the spring and fall. This beautiful bottomland hardwood forest features trees which include the black walnut, bur oak, cottonwood, hackberry, pecan, pin oak and river birch.

Deep Fork National Wildlife Refuge Oklahoma Deep Fork National Wildlife Refuge | Oklahoma National Parks

Wildlife

If you enjoy watching wildlife, four of the state’s species dwell here: alligator snapping turtle, Bell’s vireo, the northern scarlet snake and the river otter.

There are 254 bird species to be found on the refuge for at least part of the year. There are also 51 confirmed mammal species in the Deep Fork River basin.  Okmulgee County is a great place to see wildlife as it is home to over 50 species of reptiles and 22 species of amphibians.



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3. John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park

The John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park, which features Hope Plaza and the Tower of Reconciliation, memorializes the history of African Americans in Oklahoma, including the lives lost to racial violence, with the goal of transforming years of racial division into a hopeful future of reconciliation and cooperation for Tulsa and the Nation. 

The Park is named for distinguished historian, educator, and civil rights advocate Dr. John Hope Franklin who irrevocably transformed our understanding of American history through his scholarship and activism, while advancing the cause of the African American civil rights movement during the twentieth century.

Franklin’s father Buck Colbert (B.C.) Franklin, a prominent lawyer, moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma, and bore witness to what became known as the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921. He survived the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921 and defended other survivors of the massacre, successfully suing the city before the Oklahoma Supreme Court, which overturned a Tulsa ordinance that restricted the city’s Black community in its efforts to rebuild after the Tulsa Massacre. 

After the rebuilding began, B.C. Franklin’s family, including his wife, Molly (Parker), son John Hope Franklin, and daughter Harriett joined him in Tulsa in 1925.  (Source: NPS)

Tulsa race massacre 1921 | Courtesy of the Library of Congress

CHECK OUT: 20 BEST Black History Sites In America For You To Visit


1921 Black Wall Street Memorial

At the turn of the 20th century, African Americans founded and developed the Greenwood District in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Built on what had formerly been Indian Territory, the community grew and flourished as a Black economic and cultural mecca—until May 31, 1921. 

As African-Americans began to share in what we call the “American Dream,” Booker T. Washington dubbed this community “Black Wall Street.” Unfortunately for them, all of that changed on May 31, 1921.

It was on that date that a white mob began a rampage through some 35 square blocks, decimating the community known proudly as “Black Wall Street.” It would become known as the Tulsa Race Massacre.

Armed rioters, many of whom had been deputized by local police, looted and burned down businesses, homes, schools, churches, a hospital, hotel, public library, newspaper offices and more.

The official death toll resulting from this carnage was 36, but historians put the actual number closer to 300.

The incident stands as one most horrific acts of racial violence, and domestic terrorism, ever committed on American soil.

If you’re interesting in learning more about the tragic events which took place in Tulsa in 1921 then I recommend two books. One is Tulsa, 1921: Reporting a Massacre by Randy Krehbiel. The other is Burning by Tim Madigan.

The Tower of Reconciliation | Oklahoma National Parks

Check Out: 10 BEST Civil Rights Sites In America


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4. Oklahoma City National Memorial

On April 19, 1995, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, detonated a bomb at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.

This horrific bombing happened at 9:02 a.m. It killed 168 people and injured more than 680 others. The bomb destroyed more than one-third of the building, which then had to be demolished.

The Oklahoma City National Memorial is a memorial honoring the victims, survivors, rescuers, and all who were affected by this tragic event. It was authorized on October 9, 1997, by President Bill Clinton’s signing of the Oklahoma City National Memorial Act.

The Memorial is located on NW 5th Street between N. Robinson Avenue and N. Harvey Avenue.

oklahoma city national memorial Oklahoma City National Memorial | Oklahoma National Parks

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The Museum

Visitors are encouraged to check out the Memorial Museum. It’s an interactive learning experience. It takes visitors on self-guided tours through the story of those who were killed, those who survived and those whose lives were changed forever.

The Museum includes 35 interactive exhibits as well as hundreds of hours of video and artifacts to show visitors each personal detail. Admission fees help to maintain the Memorial.

Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum | Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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5. Santa Fe National Historic Trail

Westward Ho! Between 1821 and 1880, the Santa Fe Trail was a highway connecting Missouri and Santa Fe, New Mexico. The route was originally pioneered by Missouri trader William Becknell.

Once Bucknell showed how it was done, others decided to follow. By 1825, goods from Missouri were being traded in Santa Fe, as well as other points farther south.

The Old Santa Fe Historic Trail by Frederick Remington | Courtesy of Wikimedia

The Routes

There were two major routes. Some used the Mountain Route, which offered more dependable water, but required an arduous trip over Raton Pass.

Others took the Cimarron Route. It was shorter and faster, but required knowledge of where the route’s scarce water supplies were located. It you ran out of water then you weren’t likely to survive the journey.

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Now here’s an interesting fact. During the Mexican-American War, the U.S. Army actually followed the Santa Fe Trail westward to successfully invade Mexico. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ended this war in 1848.

Afterward, the Santa Fe Trail became a national road connecting the more settled parts of the United States to the new southwest territories.

CHECK OUT: 10 MUST-SEE Historic Sites In New Mexico

Santa Fe Trail Sculpture | Courtesy of the National Park Service

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The Santa Fe Trail Today

Today the Santa Fe National Historic Trail extends between western Missouri to Santa Fe, New Mexico. Along the way, there are museums, historic sites, landmarks, and original trail segments located all along the length of this historic trail.

There’s a wonderful book filled with amazing stories about life on the legendary Santa Fe Trail. Written by David Dary, it’s titledThe Santa Fe Trail: Its History, Legends, and Lore.

The Santa Fe Trail logo | Courtesy of the National Park Service

RELATED: 30+ Best National Parks Books (Great Gifts For Park Lovers) 2021

Highlights

If you’re planning a trip then I would recommend that you definitely see the following five sights:

Rabbit Ears Mountain served as a vital landmark for Santa Fe Trail travelers on the Cimarron Route.

Santa Clara Cemetery was a landmark for covered wagon trains and traders going up and down the Santa Fe Trail. It’s now the Wagon Mound National Historic Landmark.

Starvation Peak is a butte that sits at over 7,000 feet, located along Interstate 25 between the town of Pecos and Las Vegas.

Raton Pass which was one of the segments of the Mountain Branch of the Santa Fe Trail. It cut through the snow-capped Sangre de Cristo Mountains, allowing wagons access to the vast western territory.

Santa Fe Spring which was an important water source for Santa Fe Trail travelers heading West.

You may want to do some research before you go, however, as there are other amazing historical and natural sites that you may find to be of particular interest to you.


6. Trail Of Tears National Historic Trail

As a former history teacher, I believe no study of American history is complete without an understanding of the Trail of Tears. This history lesson begins in 1830. It was in that year that Congress passed the Indian Removal Act.

This infamous piece of legislation forced various Native American tribes to relinquish their lands in exchange for federal territory.

Most of the major tribes – the Choctaws, Muscogee Creeks, Seminoles, and Chickasaws – agreed to be relocated to Indian Territory (in present-day Oklahoma). 

The Trail of Tears map shows one of the most shameful episodes of American history, today preserved as the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail | Courtesy of the National Park Service

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The Trail Of Tears

As the National Park Service reports, “U.S. Army troops, along with various state militia, moved into the tribe’s homelands and forcibly evicted more than 16,000 Cherokee Indian people from their homelands in Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina, and Georgia.”

“The impact of the resulting Cherokee “Trail of Tears” was devastating. More than a thousand Cherokee – particularly the old, the young, and the infirm – died during their trip west, hundreds more deserted from the detachments, and an unknown number – perhaps several thousand – perished from the consequences of the forced migration.

The tragic relocation was completed by the end of March 1839, and resettlement of tribal members in Oklahoma began soon afterward.” (Source: National Park Service)

photo, archive, archival-1023416.jpg In 1838, the Cherokee people were forcibly taken from their homes,  incarcerated in stockades, forced to walk more than a thousand miles, and removed to Indian Territory, now Oklahoma. More than 4,000 died and many are buried in unmarked graves along “The Trail Where They Cried.” (Source: Museum of the Cherokee Indian)

“I could not but think that some fearful retribution would come upon us. The scene seemed to me like a distempered dream, or something worthy of the dark ages rather than a present reality.”

-Lieutenant John W. Phelps, who assisted with the removal

The Trail Of Tears Today

This incredible trail stretches 5,043 miles across nine states. You can follow the trail on foot, by vehicle, over water, by bicycle or by horse. Along the way, you will see sacred sites which tell the story of death and suffering as well as survival.

While in Oklahoma, check out the Cherokee Heritage Center. It’s on 44 heavily wooded acres in the Oklahoma foothills of the Ozark Mountains. The Center honors the rich Cherokee history and culture. It includes a fascinating exhibit on the Trail of Tears among other informative displays.

Hikers retrace the Trail of Tears | Courtesy of the National Park Service

7. Washita Battlefield National Historic Site

On November 27, 1868, Lt. Colonel George Armstrong Custer led his famed 7th US Cavalry on a surprise dawn attack on a Cheyenne village. In his military dispatches, Custer referred to it as the Battle of Washita.

The strike was hailed by the military as a significant victory aimed at reducing Indian raids on frontier settlements as it forced the Cheyenne back to the reservation set aside for them.

Washita Battlefield National Historic Site | Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

For a long time it was seen as a glorious victory for Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer against Chief Black Kettle of the Cheyenne Nation. Instead of winning against Cheyenne soldiers, however, Custer and his troops reportedly massacred more than a hundred people, including Chief Black Kettle and his wife.

Custer’s glorious victory at Washita was subsequently determined to have been a massacre | Courtesy of Wikimedia

From the numbers of women and children who were senselessly slaughtered at the site, it has since been determined to have been not a battle, but a massacre.

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The Dust & Fire Trail

Visitors can learn about this time in history at the Washita Battlefield National Historic Site in Roger Mills County. There is a one and a half mile trail which is self guided with many brochure stops along the way.

There’s also a shorter Dust & Fire Trail. While walking it, you can learn about life on the prairie. Visitors can also explore flora, fauna, a dugout house, and a working windmill.

If you’ve never been there before then I would highly recommend starting your visit at the visitor center. It provides interactive and educational experiences including a 27-minute park film called Destiny at Dawn.

The film describes the engagement which happened on the site and the events leading up to it. There’s also a museum providing views of the Washita River Valley, which includes the Western National Parks Association Bookstore.

Children participating in a scavenger hunt on the Dust & Fire Trail | Courtesy of the National Park Service

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Little Big Man

If you’re a film buff, there’s a 1970 western movie titled, “Little Big Man.” It’s based on the 1964 novel by Thomas Berger of the same name. It’s the story of a white man who was raised by members of the Cheyenne nation during the 19th century. 

The film is sympathetic in its treatment of Native Americans. The main character of this story incredibly survived both the Washita Massacre and the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Of course, remember that it’s fiction.

The film depicts the surprise attack made by Custer’s 7th Calvary on the Native American village at Washita.

Filming locations for Little Big Man included: Virginia City, Billings, Alberta and Calgary Canada, on the Cheyenne Indian Reservation in Lame Deer, the Montana, Crow Agency, Montana, Nevada City, Montana, the Crow Indian Reservation in Hardin, Little Big Horn River, Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, Los Angeles, California and Thousand Oaks, California.

CHECK OUT: LOOK FAMILIAR? 25+ CLASSIC MOVIES FILMED IN THE NATIONAL PARKS

Custer, who led a massacre at the Washita River, was subsequently massacred along with much of his 7th Calvary at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876 | Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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Listof Oklahoma National Park Sites

  1. Chickasaw National Recreation Area
  2. Deep Fork National Wildlife Refuge
  3. John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park
  4. Oklahoma City National Memorial
  5. Santa Fe National Historic Trail
  6. Trail Of Tears National Historic Trail
  7. Washita Battlefield National Historic Site

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Map of Oklahoma National Parks


will jim tony pattiz Me (Tony) in the middle with my two sons Jim (left) & Will (right)

You should probably know that we don’t just make this stuff up out of thin air. My sons have spent their entire adult lives exploring and filming America’s national parks and public lands.

As for me, I’m a retired lifelong educator and a proud dad of these two wonderful guys who are hopelessly obsessed with the national parks. I taught history for over a quarter of a century. Now I enjoy researching and writing articles for More Than Just Parks. I’m always on the hunt for topics where nature and history intersect so please feel free to share any ideas that you might have with me.

We’ve worked with the National Park Service, the Department of Interior, and the U.S. Forest Service for years creating films on important places and issues. Our work has been featured in leading publications all over the world and even some people outside of our immediate family call us experts on the national parks.


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Meet The Parks Brothers

We’re Jim Pattiz and Will Pattiz, collectively known as the Pattiz Brothers (and sometimes the Parks Brothers) and we absolutely LOVE the national parks.

The Pattiz Brothers are regular contributors on The Weather Channel

Our goal here at More Than Just Parks is to share the beauty of America’s national parks and public lands through stunning short films in an effort to get Americans and the world to see the true value in land conservation. 

We hope you’ll follow our journey through the parks and help us to keep them the incredible places that they are. If you’re interested in joining the adventure then please sign up below! 



Check Out Our Comprehensive Guide

pattiz brothers black elk peak black hills south dakota The Pattiz Brothers are traveling the length and breadth of America to share its natural wonders with you

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about some amazing places to visit in Oklahoma. If you’re interested in learning more about our national parks please check out our comprehensive guide to all 63 of them.



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#Oklahoma #OklahomaNationalPark #BestNationalParksInOklahoma #OklahomaVisitNationalParks
From protected shoreline areas to elevated mountain ranges, the top 5 national parks in Oklahoma boast some of the best views and natural scenery in Oklahoma. Oklahoma is full of state parks, national heritage areas, historical parks, a national seashore, and other parks. There are over a hundred state protected areas in Oklahoma which include wildlife areas, state forests, nature reserves, state parks, and so much more. If you’re in Oklahoma and enjoy nature and spending time outdoors, then this list of Oklahoma parks is for you. The comprehensive list covers twenty-five of the best outdoor recreational spaces which preserve the natural beauty of the land while providing ample opportunity to partake in activities such as hiking, fishing, swimming, camping, and more. In many of the parks we’ve listed, the fun continues during the colder winter months as they also provide snowshoeing, ice fishing, and cross-country skiing. Check out the top 10 best National Parks to visit in Oklahoma and put together a trip itinerary that kids and adults alike will remember for a lifetime.

Wiki Peaks is on a mission to promote the tourism in the World. We are here to show you the beautiful places in the world. You can see the beauty of this world from the comfort of your home.

There are many beautiful national parks in Oklahoma. USA has some of the best national parks in Oklahoma. We collected data on the top 10 national parks to visit in Oklahoma. There are many famous national parks in Oklahoma and some of them are beautiful national parks in Oklahoma. People from all over USA love these Oklahoma beautiful national parks which are also Oklahoma famous national parks. In this video, we will show you the beautiful national parks to visit in Oklahoma.

Please help us in our cause and share this channel as much as possible with your friends and family.

***All images used in this video are a property of their owners. We have no intention of showing these images as our own property. We used these images just to promote tourism.***

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