2015 Prime Time Spartan
2015 Prime Time Spartan
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Washita Battlefield National Historic Site is a memorial marking the site of the 1868 Battle of Washita. Book an RV rental in Cheyenne, Oklahoma, and you'll be within a few miles of the memorial. Begin your tour of the site with a stop by the visitor center, featuring elevated ceilings and lots of open space. Its design reflects some of the architectural principles used by the Cheyenne in their own dwellings.
Inside the visitor center, you can watch a short video explaining the events that led up to the conflict and view the exhibits showing what would have been used in the battle. Once you've finished this, you can head outside where you'll find a trail that loops through the battle site and past more than a dozen numbered stops. The first half of the trail is paved and ADA accessible, but the remainder of the trail is primitive and undeveloped.
Cheyenne is surrounded by numerous natural areas. Once you've completed your tour of the Washita Battlefield, you can fuel up the rental RV and hit the highways to explore them. Cooper Wildlife Management Area is 80 miles north of Cheyenne near the city of Woodward. The area has a diverse landscape with rolling upland hills of mixed-grass prairie and sagebrush, and open river bottom with stands of cottonwood, American elm, and eastern red cedar. The WMA is divided by the Beaver River and Wolf Creek, which join and become the North Canadian River. The WMA is multi-use and is used for grazing cattle and growing food supplies like ragweed and sunflower for the wildlife. If you come here to hike, you'll notice the windmills that provide energy and water. Hunting is allowed here for deer, coyote, and smaller game.
Gene Howe WMA is an hour's drive west of Cheyenne and was established from land purchased by the government in the 1950s. The landscape is primarily sand sage/midgrass rangeland with a smaller amount of cottonwood/tallgrass bottomland. The preserve is used for hunting and for research purposes. If you visit Gene Howe WMA, you can go hiking or even enjoy primitive camping.
Washita National Wildlife Refuge is a quiet and picturesque nature reserve a short drive east of Cheyenne. Until the geese arrive. The noise they create is almost as enjoyable as the quiet that preceded it. The refuge is a preserve for migrating waterfowl, and it was established in 1961. Part of the refuge is mixed grass plains that provide wheat and milo for the migrating bird species that pass through. This makes the park a mecca for bird watchers and those who enjoy observing nature in general.
There aren't facilities for RV camping at Washita Battlefield National Historic Site, but there are several campgrounds and RV parks near Cheyenne. Route 66 RV Park is an RV campground in Elk City, just 20 miles south of the battlefield. It's located on the actual historic Route 66 (now officially designated Business Loop Interstate 40). Book a site here, and you'll be a short distance from the historic Route 66 Museum and Ackley Park, which hosts events year-round. Route 66 RV Park campsites have wide concrete slabs as well as full hookups with 30/50 amp electricity.
Black Kettle Campground is a quick drive north of the battlefield, with a handful of campsites shaded by black walnut trees and a few other sites located next to Dead Warrior Lake. There is an on-site restroom, and the campground is pet-friendly. There are picnic tables for you to use, and campfires are allowed; you can also go boating on the lake if you would prefer to do some fishing or take a cruise on the water.
Several cities are worth exploring when you're camping near Washita Battlefield National Historic Site. Hammon is a small town that was named after one of its earliest inhabitants. It's quiet and unassuming, but you will find a casino here if you want to try your luck at the slot machines; the casino has an on-site restaurant, and the food here is good. If you'd still prefer to dine elsewhere, you might find it challenging to choose. There are Mexican and Italian venues, pub restaurants, steakhouses, and just about anything you might want.
Sayre is a small city with some unique shopping opportunities. One of the shops specializes in handmade and vintage items that are sourced within the state. The town has a small but sufficient number of restaurants to make dining here attractive. A few of the venues are chain restaurants, while the remaining options include cafes and diners serving American and Mexican food.