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Hiking the Blue River WMA, Oklahoma


Trees and river with boulders
Even in August and in a drought, Oklahoma's Blue River is pristine.

Hiking the Blue River Wildlife Management Area in Oklahoma

The Blue River WMA trails northeast of Tishomingo, Oklahoma were opened in the 1960s, mainly for those wanting to hunt and trout fish, but that doesn't mean a hiker cannot enjoy this beautiful area, too! No biking, though. Lots of entry points make for lots of opportunities to explore.


WMA entrance points:

The WMA is northeast of Tishomingo (Johnston County, Oklahoma) and southwest of Bromide (Johnston and Coal Counties, Oklahoma), with entrance points along OK 7 east of US 377. A campground at Desperado Springs can be accessed from US 377 north of Tishomingo.


Distance that I hiked:

6 miles total, along a straight path that parallels the river on its eastern shore.


Complete hike/bike:

No such thing. The WMA comprises several, non-interconnected paths that parallel the river.


Civilization factor:

Since these are public lands, there may be plenty of humans on any given day. The Blue River is like nature decided to create a park.The area is so beautiful, it feels almost landscaped, which it's not.


Does your cellphone work:

Yes, mostly.


The Blue River is one of the last rivers in the United States to not have been dammed or have been substantially altered. Pssst, don't tell anyone! It is a true gem and should be kept as such, which the state of Oklahoma and the Chickasaw Nation have understood. Unlike Texas, where public lands are practically nil, many areas around the Blue River are public, and thank goodness for that. Small waterfalls break up elevation in this crystal clear river that is surrounded by cottonwoods, post oaks, pecan trees, and granite boulders. Be still my heart.


My son and I decided to hike the WMA along OK 7 on the east side of the river. The path was very even and easy to walk, and although it was August 2023, it didn't feel crazy hot. I would have gone to the end, but he got hungry, so we cut the hike short and ate at McGhee's Catfish Restaurant in Marietta. Not a bad way to end the day.


Because the Blue River WMA allows hunting, make sure to wear an orange vest if you go there in the Fall.


Water gates Blue River
The Blue River has never been dammed, but its springs provides water to Ada and other places. Here are the waterworks at Fitttown in a Daily Oklahoman photograph from 1936.

Dirt path with trees and blue sky
The path runs alongside the river. While not always shaded, plenty of opportunities to access the Blue River and its trees exist alongside.


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