The Kiamichi Trace
The Kiamichi Trace
Reaching from the banks of the Red River on Oklahoma's southern border, then stretching northeast to Fort Smith, Arkansas, the Kiamichi Trace is a breathtaking, scenic section of U.S. Highway 271 that was once a military trail connecting Fort Smith and Fort Towson. The Kiamichi Trace's picturesque beauty meanders through Oklahoma's southeast region, known as Choctaw Country, and serves as a gateway to the Talimena National Scenic Byway and Beavers Bend State Park.
From the beginning, the spectacular mountains, rivers and pine forests of southeastern Oklahoma have drawn people to this scenic area and continue to do so today. Now, in this modern age of rapid transit, this vast wilderness receives more than 2.6 million visitors a year traveling the same ancient route that people have used for centuries. The Kiamichi Trace, made up of the Kiamichi River and the footpath along its banks, is the ancient route that indigenous people canoed and traversed between the Arkansas River and the Red River each year. Roughly paralleling present-day U.S. Highway 271, the route meanders by many of the finest natural wonders in southeast Oklahoma. From fishing and hiking, to biking and sightseeing, the Kiamichi Trace is the perfect getaway.
Begin your journey along the Kiamichi Trace south of Grant, Oklahoma on Highway 271 and travel north to Hugo, known as Circus City in honor of the circus performers that used to winter there. Travel west seven miles on Highway 70, then north 12 miles to the intersection with Highway 3. Make your way north of Antlers across the only overhead bridge left on the Kiamichi River, then northeast across Sulphur Canyon. Follow the Kiamichi Trace to the intersection of Highway 144 near Honobia, Bigfoot capital of the world, and on to Clayton Lake State Park.
Stay on the Kiamichi Trace and travel past Sardis Lake and Tuskahoma, home to the oldest working post office in Oklahoma, on your way to Talihina and the intersection of State Highways 1 and 63. The Kiamichi Trace then winds eastward along the border of Talimena State Park and the Oklahoma entrance to the Talimena National Scenic Byway. Enter the Winding Stair National Recreation Area and on to the intersection with Highway 270 near Wister Lake. Round out your journey along the Kiamichi Trace with a visit to Poteau and Cavanal Hill on your way to Spiro and the intersection with Highway 9. The Kiamichi Trace ends at the Arkansas line.