ATVing Beaver's Bend Area in Oklahoma

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PHOTOS

ATV Trip to trails near Broken Bow Lake, Oklahoma

DAY 1

Our trip began early the morning of August 5, 2003 from the surrounding Longview, Texas area. We met in Daingerfield at McDonalds and made our way north up US259. We drove until we got to Broken Bow, Oklahoma and there stopped at a grocery store and bought supplies for the group. Loading back up we stopped again a Hochatown, Oklahoma and filled our gas tanks. From there we drove a couple of miles to the Whippoorwill resort, where our cabins awaited.

Once settled into our two cabins, we headed out to ride our 4 wheelers. We drove about 2 miles north on US259 to a parking area/trailhead on the east side of the highway. The trails are the property of the U.S.Forest Service and are free for the riding. We unloaded our ATV's and hit the trail. We chose from two trail entrance points and took the "high trail" (the trail further north). After riding several miles, we came upon a crosstrail where we turned left and encountered one difficult wash, from there we rode until we descended to the shores of Broken Bow Lake.

There we rested and ate and took in the scenery. We skipped rocks across the lake and talked. Keith, who's nickname is "Bull" had found a turkey feather on the trail and we made sure that we took a photo of "Sitting Bull".

We then started up and headed back up the trail we had entered upon. When arriving at the crossroad, we turned left again onto the extension of the original trail and rode several miles along the ridge of some very scenic hollows. Turning left onto a fainter trail, we descended to another cove on the lake. By this time it was getting fairly late into the afternoon and we just sat and ate and checked out the scenery.

Hunger called and we drove the ten miles or so back to the trailhead. We loaded up and headed to a nearby restaurant named Abednego's. We were in luck! It was $8.95 all-you-could-eat buffet night and we did our best to break even!

We headed back to our cabin and rested. The anticipation of exploring new trails the next morning couldn't overcome the body's need for sleep and we were soon snoring the night away.

DAY 2

Day 2 arrived and we were up and at a local restaurant by 8 a.m. We left and drove the 4 miles north to the trailhead. We took the "lower"trail and crossed a creek several times until we took a rightside trail and ascended up a large hill until coming to an old bread truck that had been abandoned decades before. We took the left split at this truck and descended until we popped out on a power line right of way. We crossed the power line and circled back to it where we started up a fairly steep hill. There we broke quickly and took a few photos of Broken Bow Lake.

We returned down that hill and turned right onto the previous trail and rode until we came to a county highway. We turned right on another trail and immediately ascended a major hill with a steep slope. I was only on a two-wheel drive and had to keep my speed up to overcome this hill. I definately recommend a four-wheel drive for this hill especially when we descended back down after eating lunch.

We then returned to the trailhead, where 3 members of our group had to leave to return back home to Texas. The remaining 8 riders again took the high trail and rode to the crosstrail point where we took a right to explore new territory.

We rode several miles on the edge of several very scenic hollows. This was by far the prettiest forest on these trails. We came to a Tee and took a left and turned back to the right and ascended a long slope that eventually took us out on a peninsula like peak. This peak was surrounded on three sides by Broken Bow Lake. We were ~300 feet above the lake and needless to say, it was quite exhilerating.

We then descended from this peak and turned right on an unexplored trail. We saw a less used trail to our right and turned onto it. It quickly became very steep and this is where we made a bad decision. One ATV was not a 4-wheel drive and almost caused a serious injury to one rider because his brakes nor transmission would hold on the slope. By the grace of God alone he escaped injury after sliding down the slope more than 100 feet and navigating through trees barely spaced further than his ATV. This hill now has the name "Petty Hill", it's holy ground because a miracle happened here.

After having this near-miss, we came to the lake and rested and breathed a sigh of relief. We found a trail through the hollow and up a less steep trail and rode until we came again to the crosstrail. We then returned to the trailhead and beat a trail to Abednego's for the largest medium sized hamburger that I have ever eaten.

We returned to our cabin where a friendly game of poker broke out. We watched the Astros destroy the Mets and got a well-deserved night of rest. We arose early the next morning, went by Beaver's Bend Park restaurant and headed back home to Texas.

I know of no good trailmaps for this area. The trails on the High Trail are fairly easy to figure out. There are several washes and slopes that require an experienced rider with a 4-wheel drive ATV. I rode most of it on a 2-wheel drive but it was difficult. The Low Trail can get confusing with a lot of side trails. I would definetely recommend the use of a GPS for these trails.

I was asked how I would compare these trails to those in Arkansas that I have ridden. Each has it's strong point. Some of the scenery on Mount Magazine is more spectacular than that at Broken Bow Lake but overall the trails are better at this trail. In my opinion, Mill Creek is the best of all. It combines excellent trails with pristine mountainous forests and plenty of clear running streams.

Broken Bow Lake area trails are less than three hours from my home. It is actually close enough for a well planned day trip. It is located in far southeast Oklahoma. This alone makes it very attractive for north Texans.