Dirt Road Adventures: Antelope Hills
Posted on Saturday, October 5, 2013 at 9:00 AM MST
Now nestled on the western plains of Oklahoma, the Antelope Hills were once a significant landmark for both the Plains Indians and the western settlers, as they marked the international border between the United States and Mexico. They sit in one of the most scenic locations in the entire state of Oklahoma, and offer nothing but breathtaking views of the surrounding hills and prairies. The main road through the hills is a very well-maintained 6-mile long gravel road on which most vehicles should not encounter any problems. Both ends of the gravel road can are accessible via paved roads.
In addition to the Antelope Hills, the area has plenty of other nearby hills to visit. The Twin Hills, which sit just to the southeast of the Antelope Hills, offer some spectacular views of the Antelope Hills. Some of the dirt roads surrounding the Twin Hills are not very well maintained, which can limit some of the viewing and photo opportunities, especially for those of us without 4-Wheel Drive. Do be at least a little careful, as there is very little cell service out there, so if you get stuck or have any problems, you are on your own.
The Antelope Hills sit just on the south side of the Canadian River in the far northern part of Roger Mills County, located between US-283 and the Texas State Line. Access to the hills is off of OK-33, and the nearest North/South road is US-283. From OK-33, turn north at the Antelope Hills sign onto N1740 Rd, which is a paved road. When the pavement ends, continue north onto the gravel road, which leads right to the hills. To access the Twin Hills, turn right when the pavement ends onto E0790 Rd. There are abundant opportunities to view both the Antelope Hills and the Twin Hills from either road.
Photography Tips and Advice
When you first arrive, I would highly recommend driving down the road towards the Twin Hills. The road offers unique views of the Antelope Hills that are not available from the main road. The dirt roads are wide and there is little traffic, so you can just stop on the side of the road if you see a good photo opp.
You will want to carry both a wide-angle and a zoom lens for photography at the Antelope Hills. I found that while much of the landscape photography can be done with a wide-angle lens, some features are far enough away to require a zoom lens. In addition, there is an abundance of wildlife at the hills, ranging from foxes to grasshoppers to birds, that requires a zoom lens to photograph. Just be aware that you will encounter large amounts of dust travelling on these dirt roads, so be careful if you have to change lenses.
Other Nearby Attractions
A third hill I visited on this trip was Benham Hill, which sits across US-283 from the Antelope Hills. For the best view of Benham Hill, look north from E0820 Rd between N1890 Rd and N1900 Rd. The road to Benham hill can be accessed from either US-283 or OK-47. The views are not quite as scenic as the Antelope Hills, but is still a beautiful area. Some other nearby hills to visit include Ant Hill, Rattlesnake Hill, Flat Top, and Bankhead Mound.
Further south down US-283 sits the Black Kettle National Grassland and the Washita Battlefield National Historic Site. US-283 runs right through the National Grassland, and there are plenty of side roads to poke your nose down to find the optimal landscape shot. The Washita Battlefield site also offers some spectacular landscape opportunities. The actual battlefield site sits right off of OK-47 just west of Cheyenne, and offers both hiking trails and scenic lookouts, as well as a visitor's center.
Left: Looking North at the Antelope Hills from N1740
Right: Looking South at the Antelope Hills from N1740
Posted In: Dirt Road Adventures
Tagged: Antelope Hills
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