Black Mesa provides an exotic Oklahoma hiking destination

From trail’s end at 4,973 feet above sea level, resting hikers can view the foothills of the Rocky Mountains to the west in New Mexico and to the north in Colorado.

The buttes, mesas and bristling cholla cacti provide scenery reminiscent of remote areas of the rugged West.

Few would recognize this arid terrain as a part of Oklahoma, but exotic Black Mesa Summit in the extreme northwestern corner of the Oklahoma Panhandle rewards adventurous hikers with stunning western vistas.

A part of Black Mesa Nature Preserve, the state’s highest point lies nearly six hours northwest of Oklahoma City. Oklahomans from the populated areas of the state rarely visit this trail, but a true hiking adventure awaits trekkers who dare.

The 8.5-mile trail that winds to Black Mesa Summit begins around 4,200 feet, so hikers contend with only 800 feet of altitude gain along the more than four-mile trail to the top. Most of the climbing is along a challenging, one-mile ascent up the side of the mesa. The well-marked trail provides good footing, and the overall hike rates at only moderately strenuous.

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