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Growing up in Oklahoma City, my dad would let me tag along as he headed off to work at the hospitals around Southwest Oklahoma. We'd frequent Cordell, Hobart, and Sayer, always making a stop at the Cherokee Trading Post Restaurant on the way home for a bison burger. Despite having all those memories visiting the area, it was only when I got older that I began to visit Quartz Mountain State Park.

While it is a bit further of a drive than hitting trails at Roman Nose State Park or exploring the scenery of Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, this park feels like a hidden gem tucked away in an area rich with history. And for those who take the extra time to visit, they're rewarded with incredible clear, cool waters of Lake Altus, stunning views from the park's trails, and fascinating glimpses into the Golden Age of Route 66.

What To Do

Quartz Mountain State Park offers a wide range of trails ready for any skill level. I highly recommend checking out All Trails to see which would be the best for you.

Whether you want a low-key day enjoying the sun or just a quick cool off after finishing a trail, taking a dip in Lake Altus is a must. The clear water is a standout for Oklahoma and a reason itself for the trip.

Visiting the Quartz Mountain Nature Center is a great way to learn more about the ecology and wildlife that calls this area home. I personally was able to geek out on all the information about the mountain range and surrounding prairies' history.

And if you want a trip down memory lane, be sure to visit the Wind and Stone Fun Park outside Quartz Mountain's entrance. While we only stopped for a snow cone, walking through admiring the history behind each ride was a fun trip down memory lane. It seems every conversation I have with people from this area, a common story of field trips at the end of their school year always comes up.


There are plenty of options coming in and surrounding Quartz Mountain State Park. While I haven't been able to try them all yet, here are a few I would strongly recommend.

While in the park, if you didn't bring food with you there's always the Lookout Kitchen for a quick bite without having to leave the park.

When you're wrapping up your stay, I can't recommend taking a quick drive south to the Backdoor Steakhouse enough. The food is incredible and the atmosphere sums up the areas history perfectly.


I'm a big fan of bringing a tent and camping out in our state parks. But Quartz Mountain State Park has a wide range of options for everyone.

The Quartz Mountain Lodge has beautiful rooms if you're looking for a comfy bed and cool AC to unwind after a day exploring. There are also cabins for rent along Lake Altus to stay in as well.



My favorite part visiting Quartz Mountain is all the stops along the way. From museums to diners, there's plenty to see and do as you travel through Southwestern Oklahoma.

While the towns further away from I-40 don't have the same amount of traffic coming through, I would highly recommend stopping in Cordell and Hobart to explore the amazing architecture, signage, and history of these towns.


Even as an Okie, I hear about the drive between Oklahoma City and Amarillo complained about plenty. But to me it's always been a wasted opportunity. This area is rich with history and for decades catered to the Route 66 traffic of travelers exploring America's southwest. While off the beaten path, Quartz Mountain offers an amazing opportunity to explore for those who take it.