Pushing Westward: Red Rock Canyon

top of the canyon on the Rough Horsetail Trail

On the drive out to Red Rock Canyon, Matt asked me, “How far west have you actually gone in your life?” I was born in San Antonio so I figured that counts but we both had a feeling that Hinton, Oklahoma was going to be the winner. I was about to break my own record!

It turns out we were wrong, but only barely.  Here are the official (read: Google) coordinates:

San Antonio, Texas: 29.4239° N, 98.4933° W

Hinton, Oklahoma: 35.4714° N, 98.3553° W

So close!

If I was really into this record-breaking business, I could calculate the depth of Devil’s Millhopper in Gainesville, Florida and compare it to the depth of Red Rock Canyon but, quite frankly, I’ve got a lot of work to do today and I can find peace in knowing that I’ve walked both the floor of a large sinkhole and the floor a small canyon. Besides, my husband is the geographer and I can always ask him to figure it out later (because now I am kind of curious).

Matt had come across Red Rock Canyon sometime last year on his way home from a work-related meeting somewhere out in western Oklahoma. I remember him calling me in Florida and talking about what a cool place it might be to visit one day. So we turned Saturday into that one day and headed out.

There are two short trails – one is a half-mile loop and the other is marked as only two-tenths of a mile. The first trail took us down into the canyon where we walked among stalks of rough horsetail, which I had easily mistaken for leafless bamboo. It was jungle-like and I loved it, especially because there were small ponds of stagnant water surrounded by the kind of foliage you’d find in a swamp. Matt pointed out that I like anything that looks like a swamp and he’s right – it reminds me of home.




rough horsetail



The second trail led us up to the top of a small ridge which we followed around past the boundary fence and back down again – more than two-tenths of a mile, that’s for sure. Along the way we encountered wildflowers, cacti, the busy buzzing of bees in the ground cover, and the delicious scent of dirt.

California Trail


Red Rock Canyon - California Trail

from the top of the California Trail

This whole outdoor adventure may have been what led to me watching the entire first season of Everest: Beyond the Limits on Amazon Prime all day Sunday. I honestly didn’t do much else the entire day besides the laundry and microwaving some leftover pizza. I was exhausted come Sunday night and my thighs and calves were feeling the burn. I fell asleep early and quickly only to end up dreaming that I was climbing Everest with complete strangers who kept pushing past me because…ugh, my legs!

Let’s face it, Everest is not my challenge. Slight inclines are my challenge.


8 thoughts on “Pushing Westward: Red Rock Canyon

  1. I love how you are getting out and exploring the state! Red Rock has many great memories for me as a kid and then taking our own boys there as well. We had a “rapelling” birthday party here when my oldest turned 14. Such fun! I cannot imagine how sore I would be if I did that today! Put the Great Salt Plains on your list! 😉

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