Oklahoma is home to several locations that are ideal destinations for landscape and nature photographers. These destinations may not be as well known or as widely recognized as some places in states a little further to the west, but that gives you an opportunity to get photos that will be more unique and stand out. Here you will find information on some of the best places to photograph in Oklahoma. The interactive map below shows the location of each spot mentioned on this page.
This page will continue to be a work in progress, so please feel free to leave a comment with your own suggestions of great places to photograph.
Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge
If you are not familiar with the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge take a few minutes to do a Google search and look at the photos of this area. You will wonder why it does not get more attention for its amazing scenery.
The refuge is located in southwestern Oklahoma. The prairie is home to bison, elk, Texas longhorns, and other wildlife. But the refuge also features stunning rugged landscape. A little more than one third of the refuge is open to the public, and it is a popular area for rock climbing. There are about 30 miles of trails that allow you to see plenty of natural beauty.
Rock Garden on the Lower Mountain Fork River
In southeast Oklahoma near Broken Bow the Lower Mountain Fork River includes a beautiful rocky stretch known as The Rock Garden. This are is north of U.S. Highway 70 and is popular for kayaking, canoeing, and tubing. It’s also a great place to photograph a picturesque and unique landscape.
Beavers Bend State Park
Beavers Bend State Park is in southeastern Oklahoma, about 10 miles north of Broken Bow. This is one of the more popular state parks in Oklahoma and is near Broken Bow Lake and the Mountain Fork River. The forests, water views, and rock formations make it a great place to photograph.
Gloss Mountain State Park
Gloss Mountain State Park (also known as Glass Mountain State Park) is in northern Oklahoma, about 115 miles northwest of Oklahoma City. This park is mostly undeveloped with few facilities, but offers lots of natural beauty. You can hike the trail to the top of Cathedral Mountain for an outstanding view of the surrounding landscape.
Chickasaw National Recreation Area
The Chickasaw National Recreation Area is in southern Oklahoma at the foothills of the Arbuckle Mountains. Part of this land was once known as Platt National Park. About 25% of the area is covered by water. The lakes, streams, and springs provide recreational opportunities, and they are also great for photographs.
Lake Hefner is a reservoir in Oklahoma City. This popular recreational spot is surrounded by more than 9 miles of bicycle trails. The marina and small lighthouse also make nice photographic subjects.
Talimena National Scenic Byway
The Talimena National Scenic Byway is in southeastern Oklahoma, and extending into Arkansas. It spans more than 50 miles of Oklahoma State Highway 1. It runs along the highest points of the Winding Stair Mountains with impressive views of the Ouachita National Forest. There are more than 20 scenic overlooks where you can pull over for a great view, and several trails are accessible as well.
Natural Falls State Park
Natural Falls State Park is in northeastern Oklahoma, very close to the Arkansas state line. The 77-foot waterfall is the centerpiece of the park, and getting a great view of the falls is easy. There is an observation platform that is a great vantage point for photographs. The park also includes a few miles of trails through dense forests.
Turner Falls Park
In southern Oklahoma, just a few miles west of the Chickasaw National Recreation Area, Turner Falls Park is home to a unique and scenic waterfall. The 77-foot waterfall drops into a natural swimming pool. The park also includes sandy beaches and caves.
Osage Hills State Park
Osage Hills State Park in northern Oklahoma is about 60 miles north of Tulsa. This park features bluffs, forests, and the Sand Creek. Hiking trails allow you to explore and photograph the park.
Robbers Cave State Park
Robbers Cave State Park is located in the woodlands of the Sans Bois Mountains of eastern Oklahoma. Following the Civil War this area became known for sheltering fugitives, including Jesse James. The nature here includes high cliffs, 3 lakes, beautiful woods, and of course the cave.
Black Mesa State Park
Black Mesa State Park is on the western Oklahoma panhandle, close to New Mexico. Black Mesa is the highest point in Oklahoma. The park is mostly undeveloped, but with a little hiking you can find some great views of beautiful landscape.
Dripping Springs Lake
Dripping Springs Lake is in eastern Oklahoma, about 100 miles east of Oklahoma City. This 1,150-acre lake is a popular spot for fishing. You can capture some nice lake views from the shoreline, or take a boat onto the lake to get the best views.
Okmulgee Lake is just a short distance from Dripping Springs Lake and also offers plenty of photographic opportunities.
Want to learn more about neighboring states? Please see:
- The Best Places to Photograph in Kansas
- The Best Places to Photograph in Colorado
- The Best Places to Photograph in New Mexico
- The Best Places to Photograph in Texas
- The Best Places to Photograph in Arkansas
- The Best Places to Photograph in Missouri
Photo license links: CC BY 2.0, CC BY-ND 2.0
Just wanted to thank you for this visual treat. Remarkable photography. Very talented photographers capturing the spirit of the plains.