Watonga is home to one of my favorite places to visit, Roman Nose State Park. The park is named for Henry Roman Nose, a leader of the Cheyenne who often wintered in the canyon.
There’s something for everyone at Roman Nose. In the summer, you can rent a canoe or fish on Lake Watonga, or hit the swimming pool or the cold springs to cool off. I’m not a golfer, but my dad assures that the course there is very challenging. Fall is a great time to go camping, when the temperatures in western Oklahoma are relatively mild.
The park has great hiking trails for all skill levels, as well. I tried my hand at mountain biking there once, which turned into a hilarious misadventure, which ended with a huge herd of cattle following me around. Long story. If you’re into horseback riding (I am not), there is a stable that can set you up on a trail ride. Even in the dead of winter, Roman Nose has something to offer: Lake Watonga is stocked with thousands of trout from November through March, and a trout derby is held in the spring. I recently had the opportunity to do some trout fishing there (more about that in a future post).
There are a few different options for lodging at the park. The lodge was renovated recently and has a restaurant, and cabins are available as well. In addition to regular campsites, you can also rent a tipi to get the authentic Cheyenne experience.
I haven’t stayed overnight at Roman Nose since my Boy Scout days, because Watonga is a quick drive from the OKC area. It’s one of my top choices for a day trip in Oklahoma, and it’s a great option if you want to get outdoors without a lot of drive time.