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Oklahoma Scenic Byways



Talimena Scenic Drive- This drive winds through the Ouachita National Forest along the crest of the Rich and Winding Stair Mountains between Mena, AR and Talihina, OK. It spans the highest mountain range between the Appalachians and the Rockies.

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General Information

Description - Talimena Scenic Drive is Oklahoma's designated scenic byway. It is a National Forest Byway which winds through the Ouachita National Forest along the crest of the Rich and Winding Stair Mountains between Mena, AR and Talihina, OK. It spans the highest mountain range between the Appalachians and the Rockies.

Recreation - Byways provide access to numerous cultural, historical, natural, recreational and scenic sites. Some of the most popular activities along the byways include hiking, camping, picnicking, biking, fishing, photographing scenery, viewing historic sites and of course scenic driving.

Climate - This state has a mild climate due to its southern location and low elevations. The western regions of the state are somewhat drier than that of the east. Winter temperatures range from 50 degrees to 25 degrees F. The season extends from December through February and very little snow fall during this period. Spring begins in March, with temperatures between 50 and 70 degrees F. Temperatures rise throughout the season and summer highs begin to peak in July and August. All regions of Oklahoma receive days with temperatures reaching 100 degrees. The southwestern corner of the state usually records the hottest temperatures. by October fall temperatures provide relief from the heat of summer. Temperatures during this season reach into the 60s for highs and dip into the 30s for the lows. The relative humidity has an annual average of 64 percent. The most rainfall occurs during the months of May and June.

Location - Talimena Scenic Drive is found in southeastern Oklahoma.


Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
Add your own trip Report! Newly re-released feature. One of the most popular features on Wildernet, trip reports allow you to share your experiences with others. This is an invaluable resource for determining what to expect on your outdoor adventure, so please participate! To prevent spamming, you must be a registered user of Wildernet in order to submit a trip report

Filed By: Frank (Redwater, Texas)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: With our four daughters out of the nest, my wife and I decided to visit Rich Mountain campground in our homemade, woodie, little rig. It grew a lot of attention on Rich Mountain and we met several nice people. After two nights at Rich, we traveled hwy 1, as suggested from our neighbor camper from Norman, OK. Taking our time on this beautiful route, we happened upon a black bear. We traveling about 20 mph rounding a curve to our and the bear's surprise. We were headed to Winding Stair campground, as suggsted by "Norman." The campground ground was void of people and so, so beautiful. Reading the posting at the campground info board, we discovered the well was dry - no restroom service or water. So disapointed. WE WILL RETURN TO WINDING STAIR CAMPGROUND in the fall.

Filed By: A.A. (gilmer, tx)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Well me and my fiance drove west from hwy 259 onto scenic hwy 1 towards 271, at first it was a very nice view then we got into some clouds (it had been raining that day) and we couldn't see 5ft in front of us driving the rest of the way the whole 20 miles down hwy 1. I don't reccomend driving down that road if its foggy or had been raining or even low clouds. We saw nothing after we got into the fog, lol.

Filed By: Joanne and Richard (tulsa, OK)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: My husband and I returned yesterday to the Winding Stair Campground. Our heavy hearts and spirits were soothed to find it as peaceful, green, lush and as majestically beautiful as always. The tall pines were hushed with quiet reverence. With the absence of campers or hikers, the campground felt abandoned, but also like it was patiently awaiting a new season. A few crickets and dragonflies rushed excitedly to greet us and beckon us to come in, pitch our tent and stay. We stood silently embracing each other at the gate, trying hard to understand how anyone who enters this serene campground could feel anything but awe and inspiration or uplifted by its cathedral like appearance...the high reaching trees and stained-glass blue sky overhead. We wanted to be there for the other campers, to share in spirit the joys of life in the out-of-doors, from climbing out of a warm cozy sleeping bag to watch the sunrise at Emerald Vista, to returning exhilarated and out of breath from hiking the OT to drink cool water from the communal campground spigot, and delighting in the thousands of neon yellow fireflies guiding a path at night while stargazing. Not only has the Winding Stair Campground been a wonderful respite from the everyday routine of city life, but yesterday it also serendipitously healed our tears... as we were reassured that as life is precious, the spirit is also as strong and resilient as the forest is alive and vibrant. We are indeed again dreaming of returning to our favorite campsite to embrace and enjoy all of its beauty and offerings.

Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: My husband and I headed for the serene, quiet Winding Stair Campground on the Talimena Drive May 26, 2003, and found only a few other tents. With no overhead lights on utility poles, this is our favorite campground, because it is midnight black at night, so you can see millions of bright stars. With the sshhhh of the wind in the tall pines it would be hard to hear a bear sneaking up on you, but we did not see or hear any bears. We hiked the breathtaking Ouachita Trail up to the old Winding Stair Tower site south of camp. From the site the view to the southeast was spectacular. Butterflies were everywhere, especially the Great Spangled Fritillary. We also hiked from the Big Cedar Trailhead on Hwy. 259 up to the top of Rough Mountain, Just 2.2 mi. Be sure to find Red Springs on this trail not far from the old logging read on the top. The Kerr Center on Hwy. 1 is full of educational information about all the trees in the area, birds and other wildlife. A must to identify all the special things on the Oachita Trial. Then on south on 259 to Broken Bow Lake to camp with lots of raccoons and fish for trout. Be sure to visit the Beaver's Bend Nature Center to see the hawks, owls and vulture up close, handle the snakes and flying squirrels. Hochatown has a great Internet Cafe. We ate lunch Sunday at the cafe in Honobia. Best BLT and Angel Fire Burger, and great conversation with local folk. Buy Tim Ernst's Oachita Trail Guide for hiking the OT, buy forestry maps, do a little homework about identifying trees, etc. Take gobs of film. Forget your city life, and pretend you're there in the Oachita and Kiamichi mountains 150 years ago. Your spirit will be soothed, healed and unbelievably lifted. You will have your next hike planned before you leave!


Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Scenic Driving Oklahoma Scenic Byways
Yes
ICON Viewing Scenery Oklahoma Scenic Byways
Yes


More Information

Additional Information:
Oklahoma - Oklahoma is a southwestern state that lies north of Texas. The state's topography consists of small mountains in the east and high prairies in the western regions.

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