Where is Beavers Bend State Park?
Beavers Bend US State Park sits in the southeast corner of Oklahoma, nestled in the Kiamichi Mountains of McCurtain County. Among the hardwoods you’ll find the park’s nature center, campgrounds, and lodge, right where Mountain Fork River meets Broken Bow Lake. The park is just east of route 259, about 10 miles north of Broken Bow.
How Big is Beavers Bend State Park?
At 1,300 acres, this large park surrounds Broken Bow Lake, which is 22 square miles itself. Located on one of the park’s 10 trails, the highest elevation in Beavers Bend is 944 feet. The park descends into 180 miles of shoreline created by its massive lake and the river.
Beavers Bend State Park Weather
The park is open in all seasons, and there is something to do in each of them. Even December and January are good times to visit Beavers Bend, because the winters are relatively mild. They average only an inch of snow per year, and November through February is prime eagle watching time. That being said, the area does get significantly more rain than the rest of the country, on average, so you may want to bring an umbrella, especially in spring. Summers are hot, routinely getting into the 90s in July and August, so bring lots of water and plan to enjoy the lake and the river at this time. Or take advantage of the air conditioning at some of the indoor venues like the gift shop or museum. For older individuals, this is a great way to spend the day with the grandkids when it’s scorching hot outside. Fall and spring are both temperate, and a good time to take advantage of the many trails the park offers.
When did Beavers Bend Become a State Park?
Beavers Bend became a state park in 1937. It’s no wonder it has been a popular destination since then, with its mountainous sections and glistening waters. In recent years Beavers Bend State Park is typically among the top three most visited parks in Oklahoma.
Things to do in Beavers Bend State Park
There are so many things to do in this large state park, most of them outdoors, of course. However, Beavers Bend stands out because there are plenty of indoor options too, like a museum, and even a grocery store. Guest artists and speakers appear at indoor and outdoor sites throughout the year. Our State Park Visitors Guide discusses more information about many of the park’s fun and unique activities and sights.
Peter Toth Native American Sculpture
You will find this near the Forest Heritage Center. Toth is a Hungarian sculptor, and this work is known as the “Whispering Giant”. It is one of the many Native American sculptures in a 50-state installation mourning the Trail of Tears.
Most people know Harry Rossoll’s “Smokey the Bear”. Rossoll created Smokey’s lesser-known cousin, “Tree Bear” to warn against deforestation and encourage tree planting. You may spot a replica in various forested parts, or you may catch Tree Bear live, in person, at the museum, educating folks about the value of trees.
Forest Heritage Center Museum
Everything you ever wanted to know about forestry, and more. Fourteen dioramas, a bronze statue of a firefighter, the art of Harry Rossoll, a tree library, and historical artifacts relating to the lumber and paper industries are featured here.
Speaking of trees, the campgrounds here are named after them. Hickory, Acorn, Dogwood, Elm, the list goes on. Pick any one of them and sleep beneath the stars. The campsites are semi-modern and offer hookups for RVs.
With its impressive amphitheater, Beavers Bend hosts festivals and events throughout the year, so check ahead to see what’s going on during your visit. Or plan your visit around a festival! There is a folk art and craft show fest, and Festival of the Forest, to name just two.
Wood Art Capital of Oklahoma
Beavers Bend State Park has been known as the “Wood Art Capital of Oklahoma” since 2010. Stop at the Forest Heritage Center to find out more about wood art, and take in that which is on display.
Bring your clubs and set your tee time! Many regard Cedar Creek Golf Course as the most beautiful in the state. The 18-hole course is surrounded by pines, in the foothills of the Kiamichi Mountains, alongside the lake and the river. What more could you want for a day on the green? How about a course rating of 71.3 and a slope rating of 128?
Oklahoma Wildland Firefighter Memorial
At 8-feet tall, the Jim Burnett sculpture at the Forest Heritage Center is definitely larger than life. Unfortunately, Burnett lost his while saving those of others, and is honored here, a reminder of the thousands who fight wildland fires. Although it was installed in 2003, seeing this memorial is important for education and advocacy now more than ever.
There are 10 trails, all rated moderate in difficulty. They are great for biking, hiking, or horseback riding. Provided you exercise as much caution as you do your hamstrings and quads, you’ll be safe even on steaming summer days. There are great views from several overlooks as well.
Boating, Fishing, and Swimming
Between the river and Broken Bow Lake, there is so much water here it would be a shame to miss out on boating, fishing, and swimming. Whether you use oars, paddles, or just your arms and legs, get out on the water! Rumor has it the trout fishing is something special, too.
When to go to Beavers Bend State Park
When you should visit Beavers Bend depends on what you want to do there. Eagle watchers go in winter, while boaters and fishers prefer the warmer months. (It’s a temperate area in general, so that is most of the year.) The trails are also a big draw for horseback riding, biking, and hiking, and this is best done September through June. While the trails are open the whole year, July and August are very hot. Older individuals, children, or those with a disability might find it uncomfortable at this time, but young die-hard bikers seem undaunted. Use your own best judgement and bring lots of water in summer. If you’re bird watching in winter, likewise, check the weather and dress warmly. It probably won’t dip below freezing unless it’s January, but like the best boy scout, be prepared. Canoeing and kayaking is fantastic in fall and spring, when it is neither to hot nor too cold. Check ahead for impending rain, however.
Must-Have Things to Bring to Beavers Bend
Beavers Bend is a large state park, and some things you’ll want to bring pertain to that—you’re more likely to need a map or compass here than at small parks. Heat can also be an issue, so water, shades, and a hat won’t hurt. Read on for a list of some essential items List of Parks advises to bring to Beavers Bend.
Though you can get water in the park, don’t embark on a trail or other excursion without a bottle or two. The climate is hot and sometimes dry, in warmer months. Furthermore, trails are long, and the terrain a bit mountainous, at least for Oklahoma.
The area sees more rain than much of the nation, although that is in part because precipitation in winter rarely comes as snow. Regardless, bring a rain poncho or umbrella.
Bring physical maps and download maps to your phone ahead of time. This is a large park with lengthy trails. You don’t want to be lost so long your cell phone dies!
Proper Hiking Boots
One thing that makes this park so popular is its trails. The many ups and downs and overall elevation make them great for bikers and hikers alike. But don’t take to the trails with your feet clad in mere sport sandals. The rough terrain and inclines require good sneakers or hiking shoes.
Opportunities abound to capture all sorts of wildlife at the park on film. You can photograph an eagle with your zoom lens, and you might not even need one to get a close-up of the park’s deer. Large turtles are another lure for photographers. Though it is unlikely you’ll spot a black bear or alligator, it is possible. If it happens, think safety, not selfie!
Sunglasses, Sunscreen, Warm Weather Attire
Wear pale-colored, loose, and lightweight clothing June through August, especially if you’ll be outdoors all day. Don’t forget the sunscreen and some kind of hat—the wider the brim the better.
You’ll need these to get up-close and personal with the wildlife here. This park is known to be ideal for birdwatchers, and binoculars will give a better view of the birds who fly high. It’s not difficult to spot a few eagles November through February.
This item may seem superfluous given smartphones, but Beavers Bend covers a substantial area, and a compass is a welcome alternative to a phone with a dead battery.
Where heat and water are, so are bugs. It’s not an overwhelming problem at Beavers Bend, but insects are difficult to avoid entirely. Bring repellent as well as ointment, in case you get stung or bit.
First Aid Kit
with the elevated trails, small loose rocks can pose a danger, as can sports injuries in general. You’ll be glad to have some antibacterial products, large band-aids, and an Ace bandage, if circumstances require.
Where to Stay in Beavers Bend State Park
There are many options to choose from in the park itself. Book a room in the Lakeview Lodge, or rent a cabin for the whole family. Even better, there is ample room and full hookup for your RV. Or pitch your tent at one of the campsites and roast s’mores by the campfire. If you don’t want to stay in the park itself, try Beavers Bend Lodging in Broken Bow. They offer a variety of cabins that even the most discerning glampers will relish, and they’re just a few minutes from the park.
Food Nearby Beavers Bend
Not only is there plenty of picnic area, the park also has outdoor grills, its own grocery store, concessions, and a restaurant. You’ll find lots of restaurants nearby as well. Try Shady Oaks Restaurant, Papa Poblanos, or Adam and Eve’s. They’re all highly recommended and located right in Broken Bow.
Airports Near Beavers Bend State Park
Dallas’ Fort Worth Airport and Dallas’ Love Field in Texas, and Clinton National Airport in Little Rock, Arkansas are all about 150 fast miles away—fast because traffic tends to move well in this lesser-populated region of the U.S. In fact, things are so spread out in these parts that some folks travel by small plane. Broken Bow has its own airport, and there are several smaller airports throughout the area.