On the way home from Cossatot River State Park I stopped at Broken Bow Lake in southeast Oklahoma to look around and do a short hike. I’ve spent a little time around Winding Stair Mountain but this was my first time south of OK63 and deep into Kiamichi country so that was a bonus. It’s a far cry from the flat red dirt I once imagined covered all of Oklahoma.
The lake was made by damming the Mountain Fork river. At the south end, below the dam, is Beavers Bend State Park and the site of some interconnected trails that are collectively called the David Boren Hiking Trail. There are also nature trails that connect with the hiking trails. Oklahoma Hiking Trails has a description and map of 3 hikes. Crude hand-drawn maps are also available at the lake and on-line so you can do your own thing.
I selected what the book calls “Loop Trail from Forest Heritage Center” and the park’s map calls “Challenging 3 Mile Loop”. This starts at the FHC and climbs over Lookout Mountain then returns to the FHC. There is no view from the mountain but it’s still a good challenge and has typically-nice Ouachita scenery. If you do this loop counter-clockwise the climb is longer and not so steep. There’s about 10 more miles of the David Boren Hiking Trail so I barely scratched the surface. The Skyline section sounds particularly interesting.
Other trails near the lake are the 5-mile Indian Nations Trail (different than the one on Winding Stair Mountain) heading north from the spillway, and the 4-mile Lakeview Lodge loop. Of special note is the 14,000-acre McCurtain County Wilderness Area northeast of the lake – apparently the largest remaining chunk of virgin short-leaf pine forest.