Want to see the greatest light show on earth? Look to the night sky at one of Oklahoma’s secluded stargazing hotspots. Enjoy awe-inspiring views from the back porch of a resort lodge with all the comforts of home, or take in the show from your backcountry campsite at a state park. Whether you join one of the orchestrated “star parties” in remote corners of the state or strike out on your own stargazing adventure, come to Oklahoma and see the universe in a whole new light.Learn More
Black Mesa State Park & Nature Preserve
Black Mesa is located in Oklahoma's panhandle along the tri-state border with Colorado and New Mexico. Black Mesa takes its name from the layer of black lava rock that coated the mesa about 30 million years ago. Visitors can hike to the top of the plateau, Oklahoma's highest point at 4,973 feet above sea level, while in the Black Mesa Nature Preserve.
The nature preserve is operated by the Oklahoma Tourism & Recreation Department in conjunction with Black Mesa State Park. The nature preserve consists of approximately 1,600 acres where visitors can hike and enjoy 23 rare plants and eight rare animal species. The unique area marks the point where the Rocky Mountains meet the shortgrass prairie and many species are at the easternmost or westernmost point of their natural range.
Black Mesa State Park & Nature Preserve are a birder's paradise with golden eagles, scaled quail, black-billed magpies, and pinyon jays frequently spotted. Other wildlife in the area includes black bear, bobcat, mountain lion, mule deer, bighorn sheep and antelope.
In addition to being an excellent location for wildlife watching, Black Mesa State Park boasts some of the darkest nighttime skies on publicly accessible land in the country. The dark skies draw countless astronomy enthusiasts to the area every year as they make star gazing ideal. The state park is especially popular each August when the annual Perseid meteor shower is visible. It is one of the most viewed meteor showers in the Northern Hemisphere and is best seen from remote areas such as the Oklahoma panhandle.
Located about 15 miles from the nature preserve, Black Mesa State Park is adjacent to Lake Carl Etling and offers approximately 29 RV sites with water and electric hookups, 25 tent sites, picnic facilities, boat ramps, trout fishing in season, a playground, restrooms with showers and a group camp with 12 bunkhouses. Campsites are available on a first come, first serve basis.
Black Mesa Nature Preserve is open dawn to dusk only. Allow at least four hours to hike to the top of the mesa from the parking area and back. A restroom is available at the nature preserve trailhead. Although camping is allowed within the state park, no camping is allowed within the nature preserve borders. Hikers need to be prepared for high temperatures during the summer and are advised to bring plenty of water.
RV sites with electric & water hookups: $22
Premium sites: Additional $5
Senior Discounts for Campsites:
The senior discount is currently $2 off the daily published rate for designated standard RV and tent campsites. Utility fees are not discounted.
Total disability discount is currently 50% of the base rate for designated standard RV and tent campsites. Utility and premium campsite fees are not discounted.
For more information on senior and disabled discounts, please click ’Senior Citizen & Physically Challenged Visitor Opportunities’ under Maps & Resources located below. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the pricing listed above, prices are subject to change without notice.
Water may be in shorter supply in northwestern Oklahoma’s Red Carpet Country, but there are still plenty of amazing places to take a swim, cast your line or take out the boat in this geographically distinct area. Characterized by majestic mesas and wide swaths of shortgrass prairie, Red Carpet Country is home to some of the most unique lakes in Oklahoma. We covered Kaw Lake in Ponca City in our overview of the state's major lakes, so now read all about these high-plains oases and make plans to visit this one-of-a-kind region today.Learn More
There’s more than meets the eye at Oklahoma State Parks. Unique natural features are just some of the wonders waiting to be found.Learn More
There’s more than meets the eye at Oklahoma State Parks. Rare wildlife species are just some of the wonders waiting to be found.Learn More