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Loop 8 – Gloss Mountains Loop

This Loop offers the uniqueness of the rugged, high topped mesas springing up from the relatively flat land.  They glitter with the brightest hues of red, blue, white, shades of green and golden yellow. These mesas contain three types of gypsum:  satin spar, massive, and selenite.  The cap rock is massive gypsum.  The selenite is shiny and crumbly and the satin spar, sometimes crystalline, is stained with various tones of red.  Here in the mesas look for soaring Turkey Vultures, roadrunners pursuing lizards, and listen for the echoing song of the Rock Wren.  Beneath the mesas lie geologic formations from the Pennsylvania era (over 350 million years ago) that produce oil and gas. 

Major County Economic Development – 580.227.2512; www.okmajordev.org Directions:  Located on north end of town of Fairview off of Hwy 60.  Address:  2004 Commerce Street.

 

 

Lodging: Fairview:  Heritage Inn Motel www.heritageinnmotelatfairview.com; Ringwood:  Indian Creek Village Winery and Village Inn, www.indiancreekvillage.com, 580.883.4919Lodge/Private Camping:  Newton Ranch, www.glossmountainoutfitters.com, 580.884.1305; Lodging/RV Parking:  Plymouth Valley Cellars, www.plymouthvalleycellars.com, 580.227.3207;

 

One-Day Outings:  Fill up your gas tank and pack a picnic lunch (grocery stores in Fairview) or enjoy lunch at any of the local cafes in Fairview. 

 

Gloss Mountain Scenic Route (8-5) is a drive between Orienta and Bouse Junction on Hwy 412 that will take you along 24 miles of the breathtaking Gloss Mountains. About 6 miles along this scenic route stop at Gloss Mountain State Park (8-1). Hike the Cathedral Mountain Trail (1.2 miles total length) from the lower parking lot and picnic area to the top of Cathedral Mountain where the trail continues across the mesa and at trail’s end take in a spectacular 360° view.  In a delightful show of hospitality and good conservation, the state park staff provides pieces of selenite in two baskets at adjoining trails. In exchange they ask that you leave everything else untouched for the enjoyment of future visitors.  Visit Indian Creek Village Winery (8-4) for a walk along a wildlife trail and for a tour of the winery.  On Hwy 58 east in Fairview visit the Major County Historical Society Complex (8-8) to view wildlife along Sand Creek which is accessed by crossing a swinging bridge.  At this site you can also step back into time and see the great plains during settlement.  For some wine-tasting surrounded by the Gloss Mountains visit Plymouth Valley Cellars (8-9) south of Fairview off of Hwy 51A.

Birding Route:  For a great birding weekend in this area, consider traveling this Loop in conjunction with the Cimarron Loop.  Travel the Gloss Mountain Scenic Route (8-5) eastbound on HWY 412 between junctions of Hwy 281 and Hwy 60. Turn north on Hwy 8 and stop at the Sod House Museum (8-3) for a fun break to find out how the bison actually helped pioneers with material to build their first homes on the prairie as well as to watch birds in the shelterbelt around the museum. Continue north to Aline and travel west on the Waynoka/Aline route (6-6). Follow directions for the Birding Route under Cimarron Loop.

Off the Beaten Trail: If you have a high clearance vehicle drive the 26 mile Griever Canyon Scenic Route (8-6), through amazing Technicolor mesas exhibiting geologic features resembling turrets, spires, and even a teepee.  It is recommended to travel with the sun to your back for the optimal experience.

Guest Ranches:  Cornelsen Ranch (8-2) (http://www.orientlodge.com/; 580.227.0622) offers several thousand acres of mixed-grass prairie, sand hills and floodplain of the Cimarron River to explore.  Of historic interest, a remnant of where the Kansas City, Mexico, and Orient Railway crossed the Cimarron River is marked by a dirt berm that stretches across the Ranch.  On Newton Ranch (8-7) (info under Lodging) allow Gloss Mountain Outfitters to arrange a trip for campers, hikers and horseback riders of any experience as well as lodging at Cedar Haven Lodge. Scenic vistas, wildflowers, caverns, sunsets and more await you.

 

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updated June 19, 2012 09:32 AM