Posts Tagged ‘Robbers Cave State Park’

Backpacking Robber’s Cave State Park, OK

20 May 2016

Summary:  Six miles and 500 ft of backpacking a beautiful park with a group of great Girl Scouts.

Photos are on my Google+ site here.

Last weekend, the Girl Scouts of Western Oklahoma (GS-West) High Adventure Team (HAT) had a Beginners Backpacking trip to Robber’s Cave State Park in eastern Oklahoma.

One cool thing, this was Edition 2 of this trip.  The first trip, about a month ago, maxed out and had a waiting list, so we did a second one.

We got to camp Friday evening around 1900.  We had reservations at the Equestrian Camp.  This was pretty cool.  We were at the south end of the camp in a large grassy area under big trees, with a couple picnic tables to sit at.  Very nice, real bathrooms (with showers), and lots of horses to look at.  The Ranger came and checked on us, and he let us know about the need for a backcountry permit that we were not aware of.

Here’s the skinny:  we wanted to leave our cars at the trailhead at the Cave.  That area gets locked up each night, but you can park there.  We scored a permit form from the park office, put all three of our cars on one form, and left it on the dash of one of the cars.

The next morning, we got up, had a trail breakfast, packed, and headed over to the Cave area.  There were a LOT of people there at 0930, including a Cub Scout Pack and at least three Boy Scout Troops.

We let the Scouts head up on the wonderful rocks to warm up a bit, then we shouldered our packs and headed out from the trailhead, which is on the south side of the parking area.

It’s a nice trail to walk on.  The last time I hiked it, I missed a turn that headed up hill, and the same thing happened to our girls.  We had lunch at the bottom of Rough Canyon, and took a shortcut up a road to get to Cattail Pond, and eventually found our way around the loop to Lost Lake.

What a beautiful campsite!  I hiked past Lost Lake a couple years ago.  It’s a great campsite, with tall, beautiful trees, pine needles all over the ground that are great to sleep on, a couple big fire rings, and that pretty lake in front of you.  I walked all the way around the lake, it was very peaceful.

The next morning we got up and hiked back to Robber’s Cave, played on the rocks for a while, and headed back to OKC.

There was a LOT of water around on this trip, numerous small streams, Lost Lake and Cattail Pond, and Rough Canyon.  We had little in the way of bug problems, but a couple of the girls ran across ticks.  There was quite a bit of poison ivy around as well.

This was a really nice backpacking trip.  A little altitude gain, a nice trail that was easy to follow.  It might be possible to get a 10-miler out of this trail, if you figure-8 around Rough Canyon.

Hiking Robbers Cave State Park, OK

14 April 2014

Hike Summary: 6.7 miles through beautiful Ozarks terrain, and a 10-mile weekend.

I posted the pictures from this hike at my Google+ site:

https://plus.google.com/photos/105156699699052376728/albums/6002117905448460353

Our Scout Troop 15 had our monthly camp at Robbers Cave this past weekend. I got there early since I came in directly from a business trip to Dallas, and had a chance to hike a beautiful trail.

I love Robbers Cave State Park. I grew up in Muskogee, and so our family made many trips to Robbers Cave. The trails in the park have been added since those days, when we would hike around Lake Carleton by bushwhacking. I got to hike the Mountain Trail at Robbers Cave when our Troop had Winter Camp there in 2012.

I got to our Eagles Nest campsite around 1645 and set up my tent, and then headed off. The blue-blazed trail extends north from the Mountain Trail just west of our campsite; I walked a short distance on a yellow-blazed trail to get to the intersection.

The yellow-blazed trail is an equestrian trail.

The trail winds generally north to Cattail Pond. The dam on the east side of the pond was torn up. I found out from a Ranger later that a primitive campsite is being built on the west side (we did a night hike to Cattail Saturday night, and sat at the under-construction camp for telling ghost stories). On the way, you get to walk along the side of Rough Canyon, which is really a Rough Ravine, that has a very nice stream running through it.

From Cattail, you swing east and go up and down until you get to Lost Lake. That is such a beautiful area. The Lake has a great-looking primitive camp area, and would be a good swimming area.

The next landmark is the Cave area. I had not realized it, but the trail goes right in front of another huge bouldering area that is a couple hundred yards west of the Cave area. That is on the list for exploring next time I’m there.

There are no trail signs to lead you there, but the trail ends up in the parking area below the Cave area. It continues on from the west side of the parking lot, and follows Fourche Maline Creek for a while. Fourche Maline is French, and means “bad fork” in English. I wonder why?

As the trail veers away from Fourche Maline, it heads up. I managed to miss the fork in the trail, and followed a social trail for a couple hundred yards until I realized I had not seen any blazes in a while. I backtracked a little, and soon saw blazes higher up, and bushwhacked up to them.

The trail goes up and over a ridge, and is flattish until you get near Rough Canyon again. There is a beautiful creek crossing, then it’s back up and out of the Canyon, and then pretty much all downhill back to camp.

This trail was lovely. It’s quite rocky. You are shaded most of the time. If you want to pump water, there are a number of creeks that were flowing in April (Rough Canyon in particular had quite a bit) and of course Cattail and Lost Lake had lots of water.

Here are the topo and altitude profiles:

Saturday I talked to a Venture Crew that was getting in shape for Philmont. They were doing a loop from the base area, to the Cave area, to Lost Lake to camp, and then on around to the Mountain Trail to finish off. That sounds like a great loop.

The Troop had a 2.8 mile night hike from Eagles Nest to Cattail Pond using a road (maps below). This gave me 9.5 hiking miles for the weekend, and certainly over 10 once you count all the walks up and around the Cave area.

I talked to a Ranger Saturday evening about the trails. I had seen several references to a Yellow trail. Turns out that is an equestrian trail – network! The Ranger said there were about *90* miles of trails! I found this map online. I also got a paper map from the park office that I will scan and post. The Ranger said that while the trails were meant for horse riders, they had no problem with hikers or backpackers using them, as long as it wasn’t the same time as an equestrian event, and as long as the use is coordinated with the Rangers. Some these trails are in the Wildlife Management Area (WMA) to the east, but others are on the far north side, and some very nice trails on the far west side up in the mountains. Lots of terrain there to be explored.