It’s hard to believe that fall is here. What happened to summer? For some of us fair weather people though, we are welcoming the cooler temperatures and looking forward to the best parts about fall. One of those being the changing of the trees to the beautiful reds and gold that paint the landscape. If you are looking for the best places to view the fall foliage at its peak, we’ve got your top 3 places to travel in Oklahoma.
There are three scenic drives that showcase the best fall colors. The first one being the Taliema National Scenic Byway. This is southeast Oklahoma’s most popular drive. It is 54 miles long and takes you through the wonderful scenery of the Ouachita National Forest. Starting in Talihina this drive winds and twists through the tall oaks and offers stunning views of the mountain ranges. You’ll also pass through Taliema State Park, which has places to pull over so you can get out and really take in the vast expanse of fall color that overtakes the valleys below.
Before ending your trip consider getting out, stretching those legs, and enjoying the wonderful colors up close and personal. There are ample opportunities for biking and hiking on the trails that wind through both Ouachita National Forest and Taliema State Park. You can even take a leisurely stroll on horseback through designated parts of the park. Or you can view the colors from the waters edge of Cedar Lake.The best time to be out would be at dawn when there’s peace and quiet, and the sun comes up over the horizon and grazes the tips of the tree tops.
The second scenic drive takes you through Tahlequah and Highway 10. Okies often refer to this northeastern part of the state as “Green Country”. Boasting with high bluffs and dense forests, the fall colors here are in abundance. Starting your drive in Miami will take you down highway 10 and through Tahlequah, which is the capitol of the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma. This town spans 44 acres of wilderness nestled in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains. The colors you’ll see that span up and over the mountain tops are picture perfect, in fact many professional photographers come to the Ozarks to use as backdrops for their pictures.
This part of the drive also takes you past Grand Lake, which offers 1300 miles of shoreline, giving you the opportunity to view the colors from a different perspective. You can also explore the colors of Green Country by water via the Illinois River. Many people choose to canoe or kayak down the river and take in the view of the colors reflecting across the rolling waters.
The third scenic drive takes you through the popular Robbers Cave State Park. The fall foliage of the Sans Bois Mountain range is top among travelers of the state. Robbers Cave offers a variety of viewpoints from which to see the spray of colors. Rappelling is a popular sport in Robbers Cave and gives climbers the vantage point of an eagle, viewing the array of colors overlooking a hill covered valley.
You can also view the foliage by foot. There are a number of hiking trails in Robbers Cave State Park that gives the chance to wind through the forest of colors and be bathed in the glow of yellows and reds as the sun casts light down through the tree tops.
When you are done hiking the trails you can stop back at the park for their fall festival. Every year Robbers Cave hosts a festival mid October that draws 65,000 people from all over. They have roasted plenty of homemade sweets like caramel apples and roasted sweet corn. Vendors are on hand selling their one of a kind crafts including hand painted jewelry and pottery. The park also offers a fall foliage cruise that showcases 450 vehicles that were made before 1979. Many proud owners bring their vehicles in to showcase the history and style, and of course show off these vintage cards they have taken such good care in over the years. The Robbers Cave fall festival is fun for everyone!
If you have a favorite fall foliage drive, let us know!