Wrangling the Western Experience
The Oklahoma panhandle is a one-of-a-kind destination where authentic history and tall tales meet. Check into one of these three guest ranches in Kenton to take the reins on your own unforgettable Wild West experience.
|Photo: David Fitzgerald|
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Settled on one of the most unique landscapes in the country, Kenton offers a type of tranquility you won’t find anywhere else. This hidden gem is the ideal destination for history buffs, nature lovers, wildlife watchers and astronomers alike. Visitors head to this unique spot to get away from everyday stress and connect with nature and each other, while allowing the region to reveal stories of dinosaur discoveries, outlaw shootouts, Native American conflicts and brave travelers along the Santa Fe Trail.
Three ranchers in the area have opened up overnight accommodations to share their piece of paradise with those passing through. Read on to discover these unique properties that are known for delivering much more than a warm bed and a hot breakfast.
Hoot Owl Ranch
Mouthwatering meals, breathtaking landscapes and some of the friendliest hosts in the West make Hoot Owl Ranch an idyllic panhandle destination. This 1,400-acre working cattle ranch boasts an authentic Wild West experience with one-of-a-kind accommodations and an assortment of exciting activities. This beautiful piece of Oklahoma was homesteaded in the late 1800s but its storied past began long before that, making it the perfect destination for history lovers.
One of the earliest signs of exploration in the area can be found on the property’s famous Autograph Rock. This rock is where Spanish conquistador Coronado scrawled his signature in 1541 and many more Santa Fe Trail travelers made their mark in the same place throughout the 1800s. Besides the history, travelers are also drawn to this ranch for peace and quiet.
Hoot Owl Ranch boasts two serene cabins, which feature full bathrooms and kitchens as well as comfortable bedrooms. While cabin accommodations are cozy, you’ll want to spend most of your time outdoors. By day, the owners are happy to give visitors a peek at the day-to-day operations of the working cattle ranch. They also host ATV tours and hiking excursions and offer top-notch deer and turkey hunting opportunities.
As night falls every Friday and Saturday evening, the ranch restaurant opens to serve mouthwatering steaks, ribs and chicken to locals and travelers. The company is as pleasant as the food here, where guests are likely to see a lasso demonstration or hear centuries-old Oklahoma tales from the locals. The on-site restaurant offers the chance to settle in for some homestyle comfort food before taking in breathtaking views of the Oklahoma night sky.
The Hitching Post Bed & Breakfast and Ranch
The Hitching Post Bed & Breakfast and Ranch provides the perfect backdrop for a true Western experience. Traversing the expansive ranch by day and singing around a campfire by night, travelers to this piece of Oklahoma panhandle experience authentic ranch life. Check in to this B&B and you’ll be offered a ride in the same stagecoach that carried U.S. mail in 1882. Another draw to this ranch is the opportunity to take part in ranch labor. Depending on what time of year you visit, you could be recruited to help out with the cattle drive or calf branding.
The ranch boasts endless activities to keep visitors entertained. Fishing is a popular activity and hunting enthusiasts are drawn to the property for the abundant deer, antelope and quail. The Hitching Post offers an unmatched Old West experience by offering overnight trail rides complete with horseback riding and campfire cooking.
Nearby Black Mesa State Park & Nature Preserve offers endless opportunities for outdoor recreation. A hike up Black Mesa Summit Trail will take you through a rugged landscape all the way up to the highest point in the state at 4,973 feet above sea level. Your hard work will be rewarded with a breathtaking view of vistas over Oklahoma, New Mexico and Colorado.
When you descend from your summit adventure, your cozy accommodations nestled between high mesas and stunning scenery will be a welcome sight. Lodging options include a top-notch experience at the ranch house, which sleeps up to 11 guests. Extra accommodations are provided in two additional guests houses. Come sunrise, guests are treated to a hot, homemade breakfast they’ll be sure to write home about.
Black Mesa Bed & Breakfast
The native rock ranch house built in 1910 is the centerpiece of Kenton’s Black Mesa Bed & Breakfast. It stands today as the ideal location for a serene escape. Situated at the base of magnificent Black Mesa, this charming home has been surpassing the expectations of panhandle travelers for years. A trip to this B&B allows guests to glimpse what life was like for some of the first settlers in the U.S., starting with a hearty homemade breakfast and a spectacular sunrise.
Take advantage of daylight hours on the ranch to do some wildlife watching. After marveling at the dinosaur tracks on the property, you’ll be impressed with the variety of modern day animals that can be seen in the area. Don’t be surprised to see a bald eagle flying overhead or a bighorn sheep scaling the rugged mesas. More opportunities for wildlife viewing abound at nearby Black Mesa State Park & Nature Preserve, which is inhabited by black bear, bobcat, mountain lion, mule deer and antelope as well as an assortment of unique birds.
After an adventurous day, you’ll love tucking into the comfortable ranch house for the night. A variety of overnight accommodations are offered at Black Mesa Bed & Breakfast to meet the needs of all guests. The ranch house features a double occupancy room downstairs and a large suite upstairs perfect for families. In a nearby bunkhouse, visitors will find two more lodging options and a unique second-story guestroom on the property. The expansive Oklahoma skies will beckon you out of your cozy accommodations for some late night star gazing. The panhandle is known to have the darkest, clearest sky in the Southwest, making the stars appear as if you could reach out and touch them.