Black Mesa is located in Oklahoma's panhandle along the tri-state border with Colorado and New Mexico. Black Mesa takes its name from the layer of black lava rock that coated the mesa about 30 million years ago. Visitors can hike to the top of the plateau, Oklahoma's highest point at 4,973 feet above sea level, in Black Mesa Nature Preserve. The nature preserve is operated by the Oklahoma Tourism & Recreation Department in conjunction with Black Mesa State Park. The nature preserve consists of approximately 1,600 acres where visitors can hike and enjoy 23 rare plants and 8 rare animal species. The unique area marks the point where the Rocky Mountains meet the shortgrass prairie and many species are at the easternmost or westernmost point of their natural range. Black Mesa State Park & Nature Preserve are a birder's paradise with golden eagles, scaled quail, black-billed magpies, and pinyon jays being frequently spotted. Other wildlife in the area includes black bear, bobcat, mountain lion, mule deer, bighorn sheep and antelope. Located about 15 miles from the nature preserve, Black Mesa State Park is adjacent to Lake Carl Etling and offers RV, tent campsites, picnic facilities, boat ramps and a mooring buoy, trout fishing in season, a playground, restrooms with showers and a group camp with bunkhouses. Black Mesa Nature Park is open dawn to dusk only. Allow at least four hours to hike to the top of the mesa from the parking area and back. No restrooms are available in the nature park and no camping is allowed. But both are available at Black Mesa State Park. Hikers need to be prepared for high temperatures during summer and bring plenty of water. NOTE: There is no boat access to Lake Carl Etling at this time. For specific lake conditions, please contact the park office.

It's a unique and cool high point. Cool views on top. It's hot and there's zero shade. Pretty easy hike as others have said - one small climb to top of mesa. Saw a rattlesnake on way careful!

Nice enough, views good on way up/down. Not much on the top. But is my 35th!

Pretty easy trail. The only uphill section is for maybe a half mile around mile marker 3. I got lucky and got 70 degrees and breezy. I can imagine doing this in July...

There are signs pointing you in the right direction along the way, in case the trail weren't easy enough to follow. There are benches at mile markers 1,2, and 3. After the uphill climb, once you reach mile 3.5 or so, the views disappear. Pretty dull at the highpoint itself, but the first 3 miles are pretty nice with mesa views.

I was excited to hike our first high point, and being from Oklahoma, it only seemed fitting to do this one first. It was a decent hike with some great views from the trail. There was nothing in the box to sign once we got there. I kinda thought that was a thing, but maybe not? Anyway, I wouldn't recommend this hike in the middle of summer. Our hike in March proved to be almost perfect weather, considering there's almost no shade on the trail. Overall, I'm really glad we did it. And if you have time, I recommend delving into Kenton's history and spending a little time exploring the area.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Hiked last week and great views. Very enjoyable !

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Trail is a 4.2 mile out and back (totaling 8.4 miles). Property is owned by the Nature Conservancy and managed by OK Tourism. Aside from the ~1.5 mile ascent and descent, the hike is easy. Plan some time at the top to explore off trail. The NM/OK state line is only 1/4 mile west of the marker at the top of the Mesa. Views from there are beautiful.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Completed the hike in 3 hours 45 minutes. No shade on the trail which makes this a very hot hike. After completing a short series of switchbacks, the hike to the monument is much like the approach before the switchbacks. Would not recommend this hike. Views are not very good for the length and lack of shade.

The ending is anticlimactic.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

If you are looking a picturesque hike like you might find in the rockies, this is not it, but it does have its charm. Worth going if it is convenient on your travels even if you don't have any interest in bagging a state highpoint. The end of the hike is a little anti-climactic as you can see taller things in the near distance in other states and is functionally a slightly higher spot in a very flat mesa/field, however the midpoint of the hike up the mesa wall offers a gorgeous vista of the other small mesas in the area. For us, this was a perfect spot to camp to break up a trip to Taos and get a little exercise.

GPS said 8.4 miles, 755 feet elevation gain, and 3 hours 7 minutes. Weather was great. The hike up the mesa left us briefly winded but overall is a pretty easy hike (if you're a hiker this is an easy trail - do keep in mind that this is 3-4.5 hours of moderate exercise - decide for yourself if you are up for that).

Random note - take a picture at the top of the hike and bring it to the 93 year old gentlemen at the museum in Kenton (along the highway, there is a sign) and he will give you a certificate of achievement!

If you're looking at my map, my gps got confused and lost us for a second and then picked back up closer to the trail head. We came back the exact same way as we came in. So no, we did not cut through the prairie on the way back like my map says. Don't do that! Stick to the trail. The hike was absolutely gorgeous and fairly easy except for mile 2 to mile 3. The incline starts at mile 2 and gets pretty strenuous. But the miles before and after that are very flat. To those of you coming from within Oklahoma from the east, make sure you stop in Boise City for gas/food if you need it! There is nothing past that! I would definitely recommend this hike if you are a history buff and hiker like myself. We are 6 hours away but we came on Friday and camped in the park until our hike on Sunday. Definitely worth it!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Completed this the day after Christmas. The trail is very well marked. Most of the hike was easy except for about a half mile stretch after mile 2 where you start the incline. The views during the incline were my favorite part.

I would definitely recommend this trail if you have never been before. It was a 5 hour drive for me though, I would not make the drive again just for the hike.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Went up on New Years Day with a buddy. My first hike. was flat for the first 2 miles, pretty steep incline up for the next mile, then flat the last mile. amazing view from the top.

I did this almost 15 years ago and for being really young (10) it was quite difficult. Today I don't think it would be very hard. The trail is quite long and the climb to the top of the mesa was somewhat hard. The views were good and the satisfaction of being at the highest point in the state was great too. Watch out for cactus!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Not hard except for a short bit while actually climbing the Mesa. Otherwise it's pretty flat. Easy to follow the trail. It was very windy on top of the Mesa. It's probably not always like this, though We got sand-blasted a little, but the hike was fun, and the view from the top was pretty cool.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

A nice quiet trail, easy at the bottom, moderate incline at mile 3, easier incline near the top. The surrounding landscape has a true old west feel. Best in the spring and fall.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Fantastic view from the top. Been up 2 times, once with my son and his Boy Scout troop, and once with a Trail Life USA troop! Great times, and gave the boys one more adventure under their belt!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The trail starts at the Nature Preserve parking lot. You will go past a gate, then follow an old road for a couple of miles. You will then take a few of switch backs and work your way up one of the mesas. Once on the top, you'll follow the trail about a mile to the high point of Oklahoma. The trail is well marked the entire way and has mile-marked benches to let you know your progress. The views on the trail are pretty nice, plus it's nice to check off the high point in another state.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Other than being the Oklahoma high point, there isn't really anything to recommend this trail . Much of the trail up to the plateau is on an old road. Hiking is easy, watch out for rattle snakes in the warmer months.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

The Black Mesa trail itself is pretty easy. There are three benches, with back rests, that mark the first three miles of the trail. The hardest [if you can call it that] part of the trail is between miles 2 to just past mile 3, as that is on an incline. This part of the trail was at one point a road but has not been maintained. There are quite a few boulders, rocks and ruts in the trail. No vehicle would be able to pass currently and you should watch your footing. Once a the top of the mesa the trail is pretty easy and views are incredible. There is a fourth bench at the top near the monument.

I was the only hiker on the trail that day.

I actually did several Capulin Volcano hikes earlier and decided to do Black Mesa since I was in the general area.

After leaving Capulin, I went north to Folsom then got on 456 east to Kenton. Part of the road is an unpaved dirt road. On a wet, rainy day this would make for a messy trip, you might even get stuck. But it had been quite dry for me so it was an easy 1.5 hour drive.

After finishing the trail and returning to the lot, I drove back towards Kenton but then took 406 south to Clayton/Rt 64 and then headed west to Raton.

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