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