A sharp turn onto Highway 8A about 10 minutes north of Watonga, OK will steer you towards Roman Nose State Park. And if you love the outdoors, there’s something for you here in the canyon.
We arrived at Roman Nose in search of fall colors. Unfortunately, we were a little early. But that didn’t keep us from finding some great ways to spend time at here. And in the end we were treated to a beautiful sight in the woods.
But first, a little bit about Roman Nose State Park
Henry Roman Nose was a Cheyenne chief who grew up within the walls of this canyon. The hills and mesas of this area were a common camping ground for Cheyenne in the area.
After combat in the Red River War and a long trip to St. Augustine, Florida, where he converted to Christianity and became known as Henry, Roman Nose returned to the land where he grew up.
In the 1930s the Civilian Conservation Corps went to work constructing what would become present-day Roman Nose State Park. Today the once-home of Chief Henry Roman Nose is open for all to experience the beauty of this part of Oklahoma.
What to do at Roman Nose
There’s something for everyone here. Like most state parks in Oklahoma, Roman Nose provides many ways to enjoy the scenery. Along with hiking and biking trails, fishing and camping, horse-lovers can enjoy a ride along the canyon’s equestrian trial.
Roman Nose State Park also features a beautiful 18-hole golf course with holes that offer a great view of the rolling hills and rocky canyon walls.
While we didn’t see the red and orange beauty of fall at Roman Nose this year, I’ve heard that the fall colors here are spectacular, making this a great destination for photographers eager for great autumn shots.
The treasure in the woods
In my opinion the best sight at Roman Nose State Park is “Big Spring,” a natural spring located near the park’s swimming pool.
As you walk near the swimming pool, it’s hard to miss the sound of rushing water in the woods beyond. You can hike across a bridge and up a short hill to the Big Spring, a waterfall inside a small cave.
The cave that surrounds Big Spring is composed of the white alabaster commonly found in this part of Oklahoma. If you’re willing to brave the somewhat steep sides of the stream (my photographer accidentally went for a swim), you can get great pictures of the spring. It’s especially beautiful how the flow water reflects off of the cave walls in the sunlight.
Only about an hour and a half from the OKC metro, Roman Nose State Park is at a great location for a day trip or weekender from Oklahoma City. I highly recommend visiting in fall when the leaves start to turn for a scenic hike and some fishing in Watonga Lake.