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Off interstate through Oklahoma

Cruising Route 66 in Oklahoma. (Credits: OK Travel and Recreation)

Cruising Route 66 in Oklahoma. (Credits: OK Travel and Recreation)

As some of you are preparing for the flight to Northamerica for their summer vacation: May I offer you some recommondation for those, who are undecide about their travel details yet? Or for those, who have „seen it all“? Since my first visit to Oklahoma in 1992 I have been there several times. Only to discover with every visit, that inside this state, which is off the beaten path of the big standard tours, you’ll find a plenty of places, items and people to make you remember for a lifetime. It’s the lack of spectacularity which makes those destinations unique, which gives you an first hand experience and makes you meet the true natives. Get inspired by the following list of „byways“ through Okie-Land, that give that term a new overtone: „By the way – have you seen…“

Cherokee Hills Scenic Byway: The newly established byway is an 88 mile route that takes travelers through roads that offer travelers a glimpse of beauty that Oklahoma presents along every twist and turn, providing spectacular views of Lake  Tenkiller and the Illinois  River.  The byway passes through picturesque areas located on U. S. Highways 59 and 412A and state Highways 10, 51, 62, 82 and 100.  The scenery will make visitors pause and reflect the beauty and history of the Cherokee Nation people.

Mountain Gateway Scenic Byway: Southeast Oklahoma, follows U.S. Highway 59/270 for 22 miles between Heavener and the Arkansas state line. The drive rides through the forested valleys of the Ouachita  Mountains. The byway treks through the 26,445-acre Winding Stair Mountain National Recreation area. Numerous side roads and other scenic byways invite the traveler to explore these heavily forested mountains. Wildflowers in the spring proudly display their colors while autumn also puts on its own beautiful show.

Mountain Pass Scenic Byway: Southeast Oklahoma, follows U.S. Highway259 for 23 miles between Page and Octavia,  Oklahoma. The drive crosses the tops of the Ouachita Mountains and cuts through the 26,445-acre Winding Stair Mountain National Recreation Area. Wilderness areas and the Kerr Arboretum offer seclusion for hikers, backpackers, and horseback riders. Also popular with the hiker or backpacker is the Ouachita National Recreation Trail, with beautiful vistas that can be accessed from the byway.

Wichita Mountains Scenic Byway: The Wichita Mountain Byway is identified as beginning at Apache and extending west on S.H. 19 to the S.H. 58/S.H. 19 junction; the Byway then proceeds north and south on S.H.58 to Carnegie in the north and Medicine Park in the south; from Carnegie, the Byway proceeds west on S.H. 9 to Mountain View and south on S.H. 115 to the junction of S.H. 49 and S.H. 115; from Medicine Park in the south the project extends east on S.H. 49 to Interstate 44 and west on S.H. 49 through the Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge to the western boundary of the Refuge.

The Osage Nation Heritage Trail: The Osage Nation Heritage Trail is identified as beginning at Ponca City and proceeding East along U.S. 60 through Pawhuska to Bartlesville. The Byway travels through the beautiful Osage Hills past historic landmarks, charming small towns, and natural wonderlands. Great for a wonderful day trip or a multi-day immersion.

Talimena Drive: A National Byway: A gorgeous 54-mile route, which spans one of the highest mountain ranges between the Appalachians and the Rockies. One breathtaking panorama follows another as this National Scenic Byway winds along the crests of forested peaks between Mena,  Arkansas, and Talihina,  Oklahoma. Visitors to the area can learn about Native Americans, the Civil War and even Viking explorers as they enjoy Talimena’s scenic beauty and natural wonders.

Last, but not least, Route 66: The historic Mother Road, Route 66 treks through more than 400 miles of Oklahoma’s diverse communities and countryside. The route has two end points in the state, one in Quapaw in the northeast, and the other near Texola in the southwest. Travelers ride through a diversity pastureland, hilly wooded areas and semi-arid prairie. All the while the visitor is discovering recreational opportunities and cultural attractions along the way including: tribal sites, museums, vintage bridges, motels, festival sites and historic architecture.

To learn more on Scenic Byways in Oklahoma please visit www.okscenicbyways.org. To learn more about unique restaurants, attractions and other events in Oklahoma please visit www.TravelOK.com.

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