Choctaw Country is home to historic towns, mom-and-pop diners, and some of the most breathtaking natural wonders the heartland has to offer. This road trip takes you from Hugo Lake State Park along the beautiful Talimena Scenic Drive toward Kerr Arboretum, ending at Heavener Runestone Park and Robbers Cave State Park.
Hugo Lake State Park
Hugo Lake State Park is a gorgeous place for some quiet time in nature. The park boasts a marina that rents pontoon boats and bikes, and plenty of shoreline or hanging out and passing an afternoon. A small shop in the park sells fishing licenses and all the gear you need to cast a line.
You’ll also find tons of hiking trails winding their way through the park's serene forests. Whether you want to cozy up at a luxurious resort cottage or rough it in a primitive cabin or campsite, you can easily extend your adventure into an overnight.
To really immerse yourself in the beauty of Choctaw Country, take a cruise along the Talimena Scenic Drive, which curves its way through the Ouachita National Forest along the Winding Stair Mountains. Trailheads and scenic pull-offs dot the route, but you don't even need to get out of the car to get a sense for how special the landscape is. It's fifty-four miles of pure Choctaw bliss!
Along the way, stop by Wheelock Academy (the first Choctaw National Academy), the town of Talihina, the Choctaw Nation Council House Museum, and Queen Wilhelmina State Park for even more to explore.
Kerr Arboretum Trails & Nature Trails
Kerr Arboretum is located in the lovely Ouachita National Forest along the Talimena Scenic Drive and offers a perfect side-stop for hiking. There are three trails here, all loops less than a mile long, each telling a different story about the plant life in the forest. As you make your way through Choctaw Country, pull over, stretch your legs, and drink in the fresh mountain air.
Heavener Runestone Park
Heavener Runestone Park is home to the Heavener Runestone, a rock with mysterious, ancient carvings on it. The carvings on the rock appear to be of Viking runes that were commonly used between 100 and 700 AD, well before Europeans were in the area. Discovered in 1923, most believe that it was carved by an unknown Swedish immigrant in the 1800s, but there are still many who question the stone's origins and believe that something stranger and more mysterious at work. Visit the park and examine the stone for yourself!
Robbers Cave State Park is the perfect place to end your scenic drive. It encompasses three lakes, shady woodlands, and rolling bluffs in the foothills of the Sans Bois Mountains. You can swim in the lakes off the beach, boat and fish for bass, crappie, and trout, hunt, hike, ride horses, take a dip in the pool, or play mini golf.
When you visit, be sure to spend some time exploring the rocky outcroppings along some of the trails; the park is most famous for being a hiding spot for notorious outlaws like Jesse James and Belle Starr, and with so many nooks and crannies to hide in, it's not hard to see why. Rent out a cabin or a campsite and make a whole day of your adventure!
As you cruise through the quiet and beautiful backroads of Choctaw Country, you'll discover a whole world of enchanting natural gems tucked away in the southeast corner of Oklahoma. It's the perfect peaceful retreat, and makes for a trip that you won't soon forget.
Whether you’re looking to wander off the beaten path, explore hidden gems, take a peek into the past, or enjoy beautiful scenery as you cruise, Choctaw Country in Southeastern Oklahoma has all the makings of the great American road trip.
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