Motorcycling in Western Oklahoma: Top Five Rides
Explore these top five routes for motorcycles in western and south-central Oklahoma and enjoy the freedom of Oklahoma’s bike-friendly highways.
|Photo: Lee Griffin|
From wooded landscapes with twisting curves to expansive, red dirt plains, Oklahoma’s diverse terrain offers stunning scenery perfect for your next motorcycle road trip. From the classic nostalgia of Route 66 to lesser-known gems west of I-35, western and south-central Oklahoma are poised and ready to welcome motorcyclists along their bike-tested routes. Enjoy a two wheel journey through scenic state parks, along historic roads and into the breathtaking western Oklahoma sunset.
Route 66 West Through El Reno & Weatherford
Past the foothills of northeast Oklahoma's Green Country and through the Canadian River Valley, motorcyclists will begin to experience the famed wide open prairie of western Oklahoma. Begin in Oklahoma City and continue west on Route 66 to El Reno to sample the city's world-famous fried onion burgers. With three dining options - Robert’s Grill, Sid’s Diner and Johnnie’s Grill - you can’t go wrong with this historic mouthwatering favorite, which dates back to the Great Depression when onions were cheaper than beef.
If you’ve got time, ride over to the ghost town of Bridgeport to see the famous pony truss bridge, which spans nearly 4,000 feet across the South Canadian River. The town was basically abandoned after Route 66, which originally ran through the town, was moved a mile away.
Another piece of history lies ahead at Lucille's Service Station in Hydro, which is one of only two upper-story, out-thrust porch style stations left on Oklahoma's stretch of Route 66. Built in 1929, the station remained open until the owner, Lucille Hamons, died in 2000. However, Lucille's still attracts tourists and Route 66 enthusiasts from around the world. In Weatherford, Lucille's Roadhouse, a Route 66 themed restaurant, was inspired by the original Lucille's Service Station and serves all-American classics such as chicken and dumplings, catfish, burgers and chicken fried steak.
Wichita Mountains Scenic Byway
Nestled alongside the Wichita Mountains in southwest Oklahoma, the Wichita Mountains Scenic Byway showcases an awe-inspiring mosaic of rocky lowlands, mixed-grass prairie and cross timbers. Motorcyclists will be greeted with twisty, winding roads, bursts of color from wildflowers in the summer and beautiful foliage in the fall.
One thing that makes this motorcycle ride stand out is the Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge. More than 50 species of mammals, 240 species of birds and 64 species of reptiles are free-ranging on the property, which means that it's not unusual to see a giant buffalo crossing the road. Make sure to enjoy the spiraling ride to the top of Mount Scott for spectacular, neverending views of the scenery below.
Motorcyclists will be greeted with gently winding roads, bursts of color from wildflowers in the summer and beautiful foliage in the fall.
While you're there, ride over to the quiet oasis known as Medicine Park. The Plains Indians were well-acquainted with this colorful place, which features scenic trails, Medicine Creek, Bath Lake and quaint shops. With mountains in the background, water running through the center of the town and cobblestone buildings, Medicine Park is truly a one-of-a-kind town that you won’t want to put in your rearview mirror.
If your stomach is growling louder than your ride, head over to Meers Store & Restaurant located on the northeast side of the refuge. The store, which has been added to the National Register of Historic Places, is the only thing that remains of the small boom town that got its start in the turn-of-the-century gold rush. Famous for their extra-lean 7 inch longhorn burger, the store raises its own herd and never freezes the meat. Save room for the homemade vanilla ice cream and cobbler.
OK-8 through Roman Nose & Red Rock Canyon State Park
Head northwest for Oklahoma's famous red dirt as far as the eye can see at Roman Nose State Park in Watonga. Roman Nose State Park, named after a Cheyenne chief, offers many breathtaking views of a canyon and gypsum rock cliffs, and is also home to three natural springs. Eastern Red Cedar trees provide bursts of color in the winter, while Oklahoma's state tree, the Redbud, fills the park with pink blossoms in the spring and the state wildflower, the Indian Blanket, provides bright orange, red and yellow blooms all summer. View the native wildlife or check out the two lakes set in the park.
Next, take the 42-mile trip south through the towns of Watonga and Geary, cross over the Mother Road and check out Red Rock Canyon State Park in Hinton. Known for its namesake red sandstone canyon walls, the park welcomes visitors to reconnect with the natural world while exploring the park's trails. Whether you're looking to stretch your legs after a long ride on one of the park's two nature trails or are up for trying a more strenuous hike, Red Rock Canyon State Park is a great stop on your ride.
Highway 7 from Sulphur to Davis
If you’re looking for a shorter motorcycle trip to reconnect with nature, head to south-central Oklahoma's Arbuckle Mountains and soak up all that the Chickasaw National Recreation Area in Sulphur has to offer. Wind your way through the park's curvy roads along flowing creeks and rippling waterfalls. With heavy tree overhang and plenty of twists and turns, it makes for a motorcyclist's paradise. Stop on the side of the road and take in the cold, fresh-water streams at favorite swimming holes like the Little Niagara area on Travertine Creek.
If you’ve worked up an appetite, cruise on over to Smokin’ Joe's Rib Ranch off Highway 77 in Davis. This all-American restaurant offers traditional barbecue favorites like smoked ribs, pulled pork, chopped beef and smoked brisket, as well as delicious homemade sides. You’ll want to save some room for the unique ‘Strawberries on a Cloud’ dessert. Arrive early for dinner, as the out-of-this-world food at Smokin' Joe's means that you may run into a wait.
Last on the Arbuckle Mountains area tour, take a ride through Turner Falls Park to see Oklahoma’s tallest waterfall. The Arbuckle Mountains serve as a beautiful backdrop for your motorcycle adventure as you wind through the park’s many one-lane paved roads. Take a break and check out the rock castle, wade in the spring-fed creeks or hike up to one of the many caves.
Route 33 from Guthrie to Perkins
Take a nostalgic trip back in time to the original territorial capital of Oklahoma with a ride along Route 33 from Guthrie to Perkins in Oklahoma's central Frontier County. Begin your motorcycle adventure at Guthrie's two-story, red brick Santa Fe Depot, which housed passenger service, mail service, a newsstand, employee living quarters and offices in the early 1900s. Stay in Guthrie for a meal at the popular Stables Café, located in the historic downtown area. This restaurant is decked out in full Western flair and is known for their delicious steaks and gourmet burgers.
Cross over the Canadian River and continue your trek northeast to Perkins. While there, be sure to visit the Oklahoma Territorial Plaza on Main Street for another look at the past. This six-acre, open air museum features several restored buildings from territorial days including a 1901 log cabin, an 1800s one-room schoolhouse, a 1950s-60s service station and the former home of Frank Eaton, the inspiration for Oklahoma State University's cowboy “Pistol Pete.”
Motorcycling in Eastern Oklahoma
For more motorcycling routes across Oklahoma, check out Motorcycling in Eastern Oklahoma: Top Five Rides for motorcycle rides and biker-friendly destinations available in the eastern half of the state!