Day trip – Red Rock Canyon

This weekend we took advantage of highs around 50 and drove west to visit Red Rock Canyon State Park.  Located about an hour west on I-40, just south of Hinton, OK, it’s an easy day trip from OKC.

We heard about Red Rock from a friend who had camped there a few years back.  It’s a unique rupture in the plains of central OK–a little desert ecosystem that reminds me of my time in southern Utah, complete with red sandstone, prickly pear, horsetail, and yucca.

Red Rock Incline by dbarronoss

Photo by dbarronoss, used under the Creative Commons license

We didn’t really know what to expect when we got there–just a little from what we had googled beforehand.  Upon entering the park, the road drops suddenly and steeply–a couple of hairpin turns and you are at the bottom.  We parked at the first turnoff and started on the Horsetail Nature Trail, then climbed up to the rim the first chance we saw.  From there we followed various trails clockwise around the canyon on a six-mile loop.  It looked like there were several different trails with varying degrees of clarity, but on the whole it wasn’t too difficult to find our way around.  The park isn’t very big and there are only so many places you can go.

Photo from textilesdiva, used under the Creative Commons license

Photo by textilesdiva, used under the Creative Commons license

There were some particularly nice spots where the trees cleared out and exposed the bare rock and some great views.  The fact that the bottom of the canyon was itself occupied by roads and campgrounds caught me off guard, but I suppose it makes sense given that from pioneer days the canyon has been used as a campsite.  Definitely a worthwhile trip overall, especially on a gorgeous day like this past Sunday.  I’m sure we’ll be back.

On the way home we drove Route 66, looking for a kitschy place to grab a bite.  We certainly found it in the Fat Elvis Diner.  The food was about what you could expect from the name and probably negated any calorie-burning effects of our 3-hour hike, but it was cheap, and (bonus!) we found this guy:



So worth it.


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