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Loop 6 – Cimarron Loop

This is the Loop of breath-taking views!  Cutting this loop diagonally in half, the wide, sandy-bottomed Cimarron River separates two distinct types of astounding geologic features.  North of the Cimarron River visitors have the opportunity to observe active and stabilized sand dunes.  These “waves of sand” range from 25’ to 75’ thick! On the south side of the Cimarron, geologic evidence of a warm, shallow inland sea that existed in this area over 250 million years ago is exposed within a long narrow band of badlands known as the Cimarron Gypsum Hills.  Water and wind have sculpted the alternating layers of gypsum and red shales and sandstones into intricate mazes of narrow ravines, knife-sharp vertical ridges, buttes and spectacular pinnacles.  Shadows from the soaring Turkey Vultures move along the ground and the song of the Rock Wren can be heard bouncing off the bluffs. A mixture of mixed-grass and shortgrass prairie plants with abundant scatterings of sand sagebrush and yucca create habitat for roadrunners, mule deer, bobcats, badgers, kangaroo rats, many species of skipper butterflies, the Texas horned lizard, and  numerous raptors such as the American Kestrel, Loggerhead Shrike, and Red-tailed Hawk.

Little Sahara State Park (6-1) 580.824.1471; www.travelok.com.   Directions:  Located 4 miles south of the town of Waynoka on Hwy 281.

 

Lodging: Waynoka:  Trails Inn: 580.824.2461. Camping & RV – Little Sahara State Park (see info above); Deuces Wild 580.824.0085.  Alva:  www.alvaok.net (2) motels & hotels, B&Bs; (3).  Guest Ranch:  Western Cedar Hunting Preserve (6-9), www.glossmountainoutfitters.com;  580.884.1305.

 

One-Day Outing:  Breakfast in Waynoka, fill up your gas tank and pack a picnic lunch (grocery stores in Waynoka and Alva) or enjoy lunch at any of the local cafes and restaurants. Public restrooms are located in Waynoka, Mooreland and Little Sahara State Park.

 

Little Sahara State Park (6-1):  Known as the “biggest sand box in the Mid-West”, this state park offers over 1,450 acres of sand dunes for off-road vehicle enthusiasts, mixed in with some fascinating history. Please check out their website, www.waynoka.com to get up to date information on sand and weather conditions.  This site provides a lot of additional information to prepare travelers for their visit, including local business coupons.

 

Birding Route:  For a great birding weekend consider traveling this Loop in conjunction with Gloss Mountain Loop.  Travel west on Waynoka/Aline route (6-6) to Hwy 281 (approx. 30 miles).  Travel north and east on Hwy 281 for approx. 1.2 miles then turn north.  Travel 1 mile then turn and go east ½ mile to the Waynoka Prairie Dog Town (6-4).  Travel back south on Hwy 281 to Little Sahara State Park (6-1).  Have lunch at the restored Harvey House at the train depot.  Next travel south on Hwy 281 approx. 6 miles, cross the Cimarron River and turn west onto Belva blacktop Road and take the Curtis Hill Route (6-7) to Hwy 412 (approx. 14 ½ miles).Turn east on Hwy 412 and continue into the Gloss Mountain Loop on the Gloss Mountain Scenic Route (8-5).

 

Off the Beaten Trail:  Both of these scenic routes should only be driven during good weather.  Wet conditions make these roads very slippery.  A high-clearance vehicle is strongly recommended.

 

Deer Run (6-5):  At Hwy 281 and Hwy 14 junction, travel west approx. 15 miles curving through beautiful  mixed-grass prairie.  Cimarron Scenic Route (6-8) offers some of the most breath-taking views.  This 25 ½ miles drive spurs north off of the Curtis Hill Route (6-7) and is sure to provide a few surprises and many memorable experiences.

 

Guest Ranches:  For a truly wonderful guided experience, consider visits to the Baird Ranch (6-2) 580.824.3134 and the Barker Ranch (6-3) 580.824.9011.  The visitor will have the opportunity to learn from these knowledgeable ranch owners the colorful history about the Cimarron area as well as the opportunity to immerse yourself in the wild country along the Cimarron River. Reservations are required.  The Western Cedar Hunting Preserve (6-9), a 640-acre ranch provides a wonderful place to hunt and bird watch.  Contact: See Lodging.

 

 

 

 

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updated June 19, 2012 09:32 AM