Discovering Beavers Bend State Park – Broken Bow, OK

An indian monument carved out of a 450 year-old Bald Cypress
An indian monument carved out of a 450 year-old Bald Cypress

Our second (and final) stop in Oklahoma this year happened during the last week of October.  As we prepared to leave the state and enter Texas, we found yet another little gem that we had never heard of.  Just like all of the Oklahomans and Texans (they were everywhere in this place), once I heard about Beavers Bend State Park we made a beeline to this very popular resort.

Of the 110 electric and water sites here, only 31 are reservable and the rest are on a first-come first-served basis (here’s Steve’s campground review).  Knowing this in advance, we left Hodgen, Oklahoma very early so we could hopefully lock up a site for Betsy.  We lucked out and managed to grab a river view site just minutes after the previous campers left.  Although we don’t much like the FCFS method used by some parks, we certainly had no complaints about it now as we settled in at this wonderful site!

Beavers Bend State Park
Without a fire, a bit of a chill settled over these happy campers

The park was named after John T. Beavers, a Choctaw intermarried citizen.  The “bend” in the park’s name refers to an area where a portion of Mountain Fork River changes direction sharply, making an almost 180-degree turn.  It is commonly known as River Bend, and is a popular area for trout fishing, canoeing and swimming.

Beavers Bend, Lower Fork Mountain River
Here’s where the Beavers Bend bends viewed from Cedar Bluff Trail
Beavers Bend, Lower Form Mountain River
The cypress trees were displayed in all of their fall glory

View from Cedar Bluff Trail

As we hiked the trails, we were pleasantly surprised to see several beautiful rock formations.  We later learned that they are unique within the state of Oklahoma.  Geology students make frequent field trips here to see the geology first-hand.  The sedimentary rock has been thrust upward due to an ancient collision of the north and south American plates, forming what is now the Ouachita Mountains.  Evidence of what is called the Ouachita orogeny can be seen all over the park, where some layers of rock are tilted up at angles of almost 60 degrees.  We saw features where eons of erosion have left behind unusual features.

Sedimentary Rocks, Oklahoma

Mornings were special here.  Steve (Mr. early riser) woke me up several times so we could gaze together at the shrouds of fog running down the river as the sun came up – fabulous! We saw the myriad movements of the fog as we enjoyed our cup of java.  Sometimes it would swirl like a little tornado right over the river.

Mountain Fork River

Beavers Bend State Park

As the sun dipped below the horizon in the evening, the hickory, oak and cypress trees across the river reflected their colorful palette of orange, yellow and red onto the water.  It was so scenic that I got crazy with my camera, trying to capture all of the beauty around us.

Beavers Bend State ParkThe park is also home to the Forest Heritage Center Museum, where I was enlightened about the history of this area’s forestry.  Without a doubt, the largest business concern here was the logging industry.  At its height between 1918-1968, there were “traveling timber towns” that were repeatedly built and dismantled as they moved to the next area of timber to be felled.

Travelling Timber Town
An average mobile town consisted of 200 homes and 800 residents

The Civilian Conservation Corps #2815 has left a lasting legacy here, as they were responsible for developing the park between 1935 and 1941.  During our travels of the U.S., we have learned what a tremendous contribution they have made by building the beautiful parks and waterways that have survived almost a century and given so much enjoyment to millions of Americans.  Thank you to all of those hard-working CCC folks, what a great service you have done for all of us!

As usual, we explored beyond our campsite onto the trails just a few steps away.  Even though there was no cellular service here, the wonderful trails made it a great place to get “off the grid” for a while.  We laced up our shoes and did several hikes – some trails were easy, and others were challenging with steep climbs.  We walked through towering pines and hopped onto rock formations while walking around Broken Bow lake.  Hiking is the best way to explore the area, and we got to enjoy beautiful scenery that we didn’t even know existed in Oklahoma.

Whether I looked up or down, many unusual fungi were there for my peering eyes.

We somehow lost our way for a few minutes, and while looking around I found these Turkey Vultures giving me “the look”.  I kept moving along until Steve figured out how to get us back on track.

Turkey Vultures

Broken Bow Lake, Ok
It was very windy that day at Broken Bow Lake

I’ll let the pictures below show why Beavers Bend State Park is a good destination for southerners and adventurers to enjoy the autumn months:

Broken Bow Lake, OK
Calm day at Broken Bow Lake

Mountain Fork River, Beavers Bend State Park

Beavers Bend State Park

Beavers Bend State Park

Beavers Bend State Park

Beavers Bend

Beavers Bend

And with this sunset we must say goodbye to Oklahoma!

Sunset in Oklahoma

The Beavers Bend area may not look like what I imagined when I thought of Oklahoma, but now I know it looks just fine – as most Oklahomans already know!





  1. I’m surprised at the beauty and forest in Oklahoma! Thanks for sharing all the beauty. You had a great spot. What gorgeous reflection photos! You had some very pretty fall colors:) Glad you found some hikes available with great views. Love the views from the bluff! And that fog created nice photos.

  2. This is an area we want to visit as time allows, and your post just makes me want to visit sooner rather than later! Great photos and post!

  3. I too have never (foolishly) given much thought to Oklahoma as a scenic destination. You have opened my eyes, thanks. I was wondering if the hikes in the State park were dog friendly?

  4. What a gorgeous state park! Your photos of the autumn finery of the cypress and the mist rising off the lake are just lovely. The hiking looks wonderful, and the lake looks like it would be a great place to kayak. This one is definitely going on our list. The longer we’re on the road, the more we like the option of first-come first-served campsites. There have been too many times that we’ve cancelled reservations because we’ve changed our minds along the way!

    • Laurel, this and Buffalo River are great places to kayak and I do recommend it to you. I think you and Eric would really like this place. Before our res. fridge we can probably handle a first-come first served campsites.

  5. Wow, this doesn’t look like Oklahoma at all. What a find and what a fantastic campsite. Your pictures are just gorgeous. The fall colors and the reflections, the rocks, I can’t say which I enjoyed more. Thanks so much for showing it to me. Oklahoma has a lot more than I ever realized. I think it’s time for it to become a destination spot.

  6. Gorgeous header photo! Great job.
    Beavers Bend is beautiful. Your photos are fabulous. The fog photos are my favorite! What a great place to call home for a while.

  7. Surprising Oklahoma beauty. You are educating this Easterner and opening my eyes to new places to explore.

  8. Love your header photo MonaLiza and those foggy, reflection shots. Given your posts of OK, I might have to reconsider my thoughts. Given we only see Tulsa and OK City when visiting family, I had no idea there was such beauty in the state.

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