Black Mesa (4,973′) | Oklahoma’s State High Point | 05/24/20


Black Mesa (4,973′) | Oklahoma’s State High Point

Kenton, OK | 05/24/20 | 8.79 miles | 726′ gain


We woke up around sunrise and started out for the summit of Black Mesa, Oklahoma’s high point and the second state high point of our Memorial Day trip. While Black Mesa isn’t a terribly difficult hike, it’s not a drive-up high point like Mount Sunflower in Kansas, and does require a bit of effort.

We followed the easy trail as it wrapped around the north side of Black Mesa. The trail gains very little elevation in the first few miles, and we spent this time admiring the desert-like landscape and the few early season wildflowers.

Little Sunflower
A very impatient Bob
A quick break. There was a numbered bench every mile!

About 2.5 miles in, the trail turns south and heads toward the mesa. It follows an old road as it switchbacks to the top. This is the steepest part of the hike, but it is short-lived.

Heading towards Black Mesa!
Halfway up the ascent.

I had read that the ascent was steep and rugged, but it was much easier than I expected. (I’ve found that my experience & ability level rarely matches that of others. This is why I take so many pictures! Hopefully you can get an idea of how difficult – or easy – a hike will be for you!)

The views were pretty cool, I really enjoyed this area!
Almost to the top!
Lavenderleaf Sundrops

After the ascent, the remaining mile or so along the top of Black Mesa was very flat and easy. However, this last stretch seemed to take forever! The monument didn’t come into view until we were nearly on top of it, so it was hard to tell how much farther we had to go.

The top of Black Mesa!

We eventually reached the monument and spent quite a bit of time reading the inscriptions and exploring the area. It was pretty cold and windy however, so I was motivated to get down. (Plus we had quite a long car ride ahead of us!)

Kyle, Bob, and I at the summit!
Black Mesa summit monument
Yucca, almost ready to flower

Our hike back to the car was uneventful, though by the time we got back, the crowds had descended upon the trailhead. We were glad we started early! On our way home, I had a few quick stops I wanted to make. The first was right across the street from the Black Mesa Trailhead. The Carrizo Creek dinosaur prints are off an unmarked dirt road. I only happened upon them when perusing maps of the area! A super quick stop as the tracks are just off the parking area.

Carrizo Creek dinosaur tracks
Scientists don’t know for sure which species made these tracks, but it was a two-legged carnivore like T-Rex.

A few miles up the road is the tri-state marker (Oklahoma, Colorado, and New Mexico). This is another really quick stop that you can drive right up to.

OK/CO/NM tri-state marker

I had such a fun and jam-packed long weekend. It was awesome to check off two new state high points!


Chelsea


13 thoughts on “Black Mesa (4,973′) | Oklahoma’s State High Point | 05/24/20

  1. Hi Chelsea,
    How neat that you have visited the highest points in Kansas, Oklahoma and, I assume, Colorado.
    And to have been to the tri-state marker, a destination still in the future for me (or so I hope).
    I hope you are staying warm in this crazy weather, and are not too affected by the Cameron Peak fire.
    Best,
    Tanja

    Liked by 1 person

      1. 4/50 is better than my 1/50 😊! Congratulations on summitting Mt. Elbert. When I reached the top many years ago, I had the summit to myself for about 10 minutes, and it was absolutely enchanting. I suspect that’s getting more difficult.
        Happy ongoing hiking!

        Like

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