Are you interested in visiting one of Oklahoma's most unique state parks? Great Salt Plains State Park in Jet, Oklahoma, is a crown jewel in the state, with a barren landscape developed from the salt that was left from a prehistoric era when the whole state was covered in a huge ocean. Visitors to the park can take their pick of activities in the park, including swimming in Great Salt Plains Lake, doing some trekking or riding on the bike trails, horseback riding, and RV camping.
Fishing is another popular activity on the lake that is fun for the entire family and can be done in a boat or from the shore. You can also bring your canoe or kayak and enjoy a paddle around the lake. For those who want to view the many migratory birds that pass through the area, try spotting the birds from a canoe or a kayak. Another fun activity is to dig up selenite crystals in the park. Great Salt Plains State Park is the only place on earth that you can find selenite crystals shaped like hourglasses. How cool!
Camping at Great Salt Plains State Park is made possible at one of the two campgrounds that have 64 RV sites and 95 tent sites in total. The campsites have 30-amp or 50-amp electrical hookups and water hookups. There is also one full-hookup site on the premises. While the park is open all year, during the coldest months, some of the amenities are winterized. Make sure you check the Great Salt Plains State Park website if you plan to come during the off-season. Peak season at Great Salt Plains State Park runs from May until the beginning of September.
RV Rentals in Great Salt Plains State Park
Transportation in Great Salt Plains State Park
Great Salt Plains State Park is located in the northern section of Oklahoma in Alfalfa County. There are several small towns near the park, including Nash, Jet, Cherokee, and Byron. The closest city to Great Salt Plains State Park is Enid, which is about 40 miles southeast of the park. You are also just a couple of hours from Oklahoma City to the south and 2.5 hours from Tulsa to the east.
The terrain in and around the park is straightforward to navigate, even for those with large rigs. The area is flat, so driving conditions will be easy. The only time that driving to the park can be difficult is if you are traveling to the park during the wintertime. Snow can fall in and around the park, which will make driving harder. Once you enter the park, the roads are very wide, so you will have plenty of room to navigate to your chosen campground.
Campgrounds and parking in Great Salt Plains State Park
Campsites in Great Salt Plains State Park
River Road Campground
River Road Campground has 36 large pet-friendly campsites open all year, and it is perfect for those with RVs from 30 to 50 feet in length. All of the sites have picnic tables, and fire rings with grills for cooking. Each site has water hookups and 30- or 50-amp electric hookups. Many of the sites are shaded, and a few have lantern hooks. There is a modern restroom with running water and showers as well as two picnic pavilions, and an RV dump located to the north of the campground.
Many of these campsites are right on the water, and the rest of them are just a short walk across the road. You can even find an outdoor chapel just past the restrooms. The quarter-mile Tonkawa Interpretive Nature Trail is accessible from the campground, and the location makes it easy for you to take a hike and learn about the area. Cell phone reception is generally decent at this campground, but there are payphones at the park office in case your cell service isn't great. If you need some last-minute supplies, you can visit the town of Jet, which is very close to the park.
Sandy Beach Campground
With 27 spacious campsites to choose from, Sandy Beach Campground may be a bit smaller than the River Road Campground, but the campsites are just as large. In fact, some of them may be a bit larger. These sites are open all year, and each one has a picnic table, a campfire ring with a grill, and a space for your RV up to 50 feet in length. Each site also has 30- to 50-amp electric as well as water hookups. The sites are super close to the beach, which is how it got its name. You’ll also find a comfort station with modern restrooms and hot showers in the middle of the campground.
Boat ramps and ADA accessible fishing platforms are available nearby, and an ADA accessible restroom is located on the beach. The beach can be crowded and loud during the summertime, so keep that in mind when reserving your spot. You can reserve a campsite for up to 12 months in advance. Book your site early, especially if you plan to camp on a holiday or weekend. Pets are welcome as long as you supervise them and keep them restrained.
Seasonal activities in Great Salt Plains State Park
Make sure you pack your bikes in the RV so you can enjoy some biking during your stay. If you like challenging and mind-blowing mountain biking, then the George Sibley Trail is perfect for you. This trail is seven miles of rocky and sandy paths through the woods, around huge rock fields, and up and down some tricky switchbacks. You’ll love the views and the excitement on this challenging trail. If you would rather try something more mellow and tame, there are a few unmarked farm roads and trails that you can ride on as well.
Digging for Crystals
On the salt plains southwest of the lake in the Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge, you can participate in an activity that nobody else in the world can do. The hourglass-shaped selenite crystals are only found in Oklahoma, and some exceptional individual crystals measuring up to seven inches long have been found in the digging area. You can dig for the crystals sunrise to sunset from the beginning of May until mid-October. Due to the white salt surface, it is very easy to get sunburned, so make sure you wear hats and sunscreen.
Are you looking to do some fishing during your stay at Great Salt Plains State Park? Well, you are in luck! The shallow, salty lake at the park offers a wide variety of fishing options throughout the year. Some of the most popular ways to go fishing are from the banks of the lake or a kayak or canoe. There is a wide variety of fish to be caught, including sand bass, hybrid striper, saugeye, and catfish. So, make sure you pack your fishing gear in the RV before heading to the park, and don’t forget your Oklahoma fishing license.
Oklahoma during the summertime can be very hot. Luckily for visitors to Great Salt Plains State Park, there is a beach available for you to enjoy during your stay. Located at the Sandy Beach Campground, the beach at Great Salt Plains State Park is (you guessed it), sandy! The beach is large enough for visitors to have some privacy during their swim. The lake isn't super deep either, so it will be a suitable spot for children to swim too.
Bring your horses along to the Great Salt Plains State Park so you can enjoy the seven-mile George Sibley Trail. This intermediate to advanced level trail starts at the equestrian staging area off OK-38 and takes you on an exciting adventure through the woods. You’ll have some impressive views of the Great Salt Plains Lake as you weave in and out of the trees and over the bridge and past the store. Just be careful of the steep cliff edges. Bring a camera because you can get some stunning pics from atop your horse high on the hills.
The Great Salt Plains State Park has a trail system that consists of two trails on the north side of the Great Salt Plains Lake. The first path, known as the quarter-mile Tonkawa Interpretive Trail, is located just off of the River Road near the restrooms pavilion. This trail offers an easy paved trail that is fully accessible to those with disabilities. The second path, the seven-mile George Sibley Trail, is for more advanced hikers as it takes you on a long trek along steep cliffs and switchbacks.
For those who are fans of birdwatching, you will have a perfect time searching for rare birds at Great Salt Plains State Park. The park is considered a bird refuge and provides habitat for over 300 species of birds throughout the year. The lake is also a very important stopover site for many different migratory water birds such as shorebirds, cranes, ducks, and geese. It really is a special area and is a must-see if you like birds.
Getting out and enjoying Great Salt Plains State Park over a picnic with your friends or family is one of the best ways to enjoy the park. Around the lake, there are many different picnic areas for you to choose from that you can enjoy year-round. Along with specific picnic areas, five picnic pavilions are available on a first-come, first-served basis. These pavilions are suited to larger groups. Grills are in most of the picnic areas for your convenience.