Clayton Lake State Park is a secluded gem of a campground located just a few miles south of the small town of Clayton, OK. It is nestled in the pine tree forests that line the Kiamichi Mountains, near the shore of Clayton Lake, a 66-acre recreational lake with two miles of shoreline. The park is near the highway, giving campers easy access to the nearby town but the sounds of the road rarely penetrate into the campsites themselves. It is a popular but quiet area for fishing in the spring, summer, and fall, and an unparalleled stopover spot for migrating waterfowl in the winter months. Clayton Lake has a lighted dock for the convenience of fishermen in the area, as well as a strict no-wake policy, helping to keep the area serene and quiet. There are a number of hiking trails and dirt roads that allow you to stretch your legs after a long day of driving your campervan, including a two-mile trek around the lake itself. This campground is rarely crowded, so those seeking a spot in the late afternoon have a good chance of getting lucky.
Clayton Lake State Park is just five miles south of the town of the small town of Clayton, OK. You will take U.S. Highway 271 to reach the park, which is a fairly narrow highway with a number of curves. Fortunately, the curves are fairly wide and the shoulders along the highway are, for the most part, wide and flat. The entrance into the park is well-marked and signs should be visible from either side of the road. Campers that are traveling from the north will have an easier time turning into the park as they do not have to cross against oncoming traffic. Those traveling from the south will be crossing two lanes of traffic on to a fairly narrow road. The road is not particularly busy most times, making the turn into the park a somewhat easier task. The roads in the park are narrow but paved. It is best to drive slowly in the park itself and keep your eyes peeled for wildlife that may be crossing the road. There is also a large, spacious parking lot that can be found near the lake.
There are 30 RV sites available for reservation as well as tent-only sites and a few primitive cabins available to rent. Each of the RV sites has electrical hookups, water hookups, fire rings with grills, and a picnic table. There are four comfort stations throughout the park that have hot showers available for campers as well as a playground, a swimming beach, and a larger picnicking area for groups to gather at. Supervised pets are allowed both in the campground and on trails as long as they are confined or are restrained on a six-foot or smaller lead, but they are not allowed in designated swimming areas. Generator use is allowed during the daytime hours but should be silenced during the quiet hours between 10 PM and 8 AM.
Sites that have not been occupied by 4 PM may be put offered as first-come, first-served sites if you don’t call ahead, so if you will be coming in later in the evening, be sure to let the park office know.
While it is closed to fishing during the winter months, Clayton Lake is a popular spot for anglers during the rest of the year. The 66-acre lake hosts a large variety of fish, including crappie, sunfish, channel catfish, and both largemouth and smallmouth bass, so you will want to be sure to pack your rod and reel in your campervan. There is an ADA-accessible fishing dock as well as a lighted boat ramp for the convenience of boat fishermen. Only trolling speeds are allowed on this no-wake lake, keeping your fishing experience serene and peaceful.
Those who like to swim should be sure that they have packed their swimsuits and water shoes before they head out in their camper to visit Clayton Lake State Park. While there are fishermen and pleasure boaters on the lake, a no-wake policy is in force to protect the serenity of the surroundings and there is a small, well-maintained beach near the campgrounds. While your canine companion is welcome in most areas of Clayton Lake State Park, they are not permitted in designated swimming areas or on designated swimming beaches.
If you want to stretch your legs after a long day driving your campervan, the two-mile Clayton Lake State Park hiking trail is the perfect place to do so. This beautiful nature trail winds around the lake and into the surrounding Kiamichi Mountains, giving hikers an opportunity to see the lake from a different vantage point. While it is not a difficult hike, it is somewhat moderate due to a number of ups and downs. There are also several other small trails and dirt roads near the campgrounds that are frequently used for hiking, dirt biking, and ATVs.
Clayton Lake is closed to fishing during the winter months, for a very good reason. This lake is an important stopover for several types of waterfowl. Several varieties of ducks including mallards, pin tails, mergansers, and teals, as well as geese such as Canada, Ross’s, and snow geese are frequently spotted during these times. Trumpeter and tundra swans have been known to stop off at this lake on occasion as well. Predatory birds are also drawn to the area, and you may spot great blue herons, harrier hawks, a number of species of owls, and even bald eagles hunting in this park. Be sure to bring your birding kit in the trailer in order to record sightings.
Clayton Lake State Park in Oklahoma is a great spot for larger groups of campers to get together or even for family gatherings. The quiet surroundings are peaceful and serene and the park hosts plenty of picnic tables as well as several covered group tables and a pavilion that can be reserved. The nearby playground also helps to provide entertainment for the younger set and gives them a chance to blow off some steam. This area is also a pet-friendly campground so your leashed four-legged family members are welcome to join you in your festivities as well.
Photographers will want to be sure that their camera is in the trailer before heading out to the scenic beauty of Clayton Lake State Park. Both the lake and the forests that surround it provide beautiful scenery shots, particularly along the two-mile hiking trail that encompasses the lake. Those who enjoy snapping images of wildlife will be delighted with the opportunity to get pictures of a huge range of water birds, white-tailed deer, squirrels, and wild turkeys, as well as the occasional black bear, elk, or bobcat. Photographers who wait until the evening hours may even be able to get a picture or two of the many types of owls that are present in the area.