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Loop 9 – South Canadian Loop

The landscapes in this loop are the effect of three prairie rivers - the Cimarron, the North Canadian and the South Canadian. Flooded woodland, cattail wetlands and natural springs are nestled amongst rolling uplands carpeted with mixed-grass prairies and eastern red cedar (This not a misprint – this evergreen is not a true cedar but a juniper!).  This diversity of wooded areas, wetlands and prairie provide habitat for both eastern and western bird species.  Canton Lake, a 7900 acre reservoir, is the largest body of water on the Great Plains Trail and attracts bald eagles, American white pelicans, gulls, and waterfowl during winter.  Adjacent to this lake is a prairie dog town that is active unless extremely cold.  Eastern meadowlarks, dickcissels, and roadrunners are common in summer.  Rio Grande turkey and wood duck are year-round residents.  Count the number of scissor-tailed flycatchers perched on barbed wire fences and utility lines as you travel this loop during spring, summer and early fall- you’ll be astounded at the total!

Roman Nose State Park (9-1): 800.892.8690; www.travelok.com.   Directions: Located 4 miles north of the town of Watonga on Hwy 8, then 3 miles N on Hwy 8A.

 

 

Lodging: Watonga: www.watonga.com. (3) motels, (2) B&Bs.  Lodge, cabins, camping at Roman Nose State Park (contact info above).  Canton:  (1) motel, Canton Chamber of Commerce, 580.866.2216; Camping at Canton Lake, www.lasr.net (click on OK, then on “Red Carpet Country”).  Taloga: Taloga Motel, 580.328.5488; Little Robe Creek Lodge Retreat, cabins, & RV hook-ups, 580.977.7072. Seiling:  Crossroads Motel, 580.922.4321.  Longdale:  Walleye Motel, 580.274.3516; Leedey: Red Bluff Inn (9-10), www.redbluffinn.com, 580.488.2073; Leedey Ranch Lodge, 580.488.3500.

 

One-Day Outings:  Fill up your gas tank and pack a picnic lunch or enjoy lunch at any of the local cafes and restaurants in Watonga, Seiling, Vici, Leedey and Canton. 

 

Roman Nose State Park (9-1) Once a winter campground of the Cheyenne tribe, this area now is a scenic retreat set on a canyon bluff that over-looks ancient mesas.  With hiking trails, two lakes, natural springs, trout fishing in season, canoeing, horse stables and hayrides this Park offers a full day of wildlife-viewing fun. Check out their website (see above) for more information on lodging, scheduled programs and other amenities.

 

Canton Lake and Wildlife Management Area (9-2) This beautiful man-made lake offers various outdoor recreational activities for the entire family.  The Corps of Engineers operates five multi-use recreation areas that offer overnight camping and day-use to the public. Sightseers may view the lake from the 2.5 mile stretch of State Highway 58A that crosses over Canton Dam. Three parking areas with fishing jetties are located on the dam. Other features include a nature trail, overlook visitor center, outdoor amphitheater with scheduled weekend programs, a scenic drive and an active prairie dog town.  (Contact information above.)

 

Two Rivers Scenic Drive Drive this route to get an overview of the landscape’s beauty created by the North Canadian and South Canadian Rivers.  Enjoy the South Canadian River floodplain as you drive the winding road from Watonga to Taloga on Hwy 270.  Turn west2 miles northwest of Oakwood off of Hwy 270 and stop at the Oakwood Low water Bridge (9-3).  It will provide the traveler with an opportunity to look for wildlife at a cattail wetland.  Continue west to Hwy 183 and turn north (right)  to travel to Taloga.  North of Taloga, park in the parking area north of the bridge and take a short walk down to the S. Canadian River to look for wildlife at the beginning of the Canadian River Nature Trail (9-4)Beware of quicksand.  A little further north out of Taloga pull out at the Raffington Hill (9-5) to explore the base of this hill for lizards as well as the large trees for birds.  Next, back track to the blacktop road just north of the bridge and travel west approx. 3.8 miles then 1.5 miles south on gravel road to the Dewey County WMA (9-6) and park in the parking area.  Walk a little way down the foot path to watch for wildlife.  Continue west on the blacktop and follow the Trail signs as you drive the ~ 42 mile Canadian River Valley Drive (9-8) and enjoy the vistas.  At Camargo, turn north (right) onto Hwy 34 and travel to Vici for a break.  Take Hwy 60 east to Seiling then turn south onto Hwy 270.  Take Hwy 51 east to Canton Lake (9-2) that was created when the N. Canadian River was dammed.  Travel Hwy 51 and Hwy 51A to Roman Nose State Park (9-1)

 

Birding Route:  The Two Rivers Scenic Drive (see above) is an excellent birding route.  Be at the Oakwood Low Water Bridge (9-3) at dawn. 

 

Guest Ranches:  Pope Hilltop Farms (9-9) offers the visitor an opportunity to walk prairies and explore wooded areas adjacent to creeks and numerous ponds.  Note:  Area is closed from Sept. 1 to May 1.  Contact:  405.729.4336; claypope@pldi.net

Red Bluff Inn and Spa (9-10) The Inn provides a spectacular view of a bluff embracing a picturesque lake at its base.  Mixed-grass prairie combined with a network of wooded canyons make this a birders paradise.  Bring your horse and enjoy 480 acres of riding trails. Lots of walking trails, very comfortable accommodations and excellent food make this a relaxing and enjoyable experience.  Contact info under Lodging.  Rawhide Creek Ranch (9-11) is found along the bluffs of the South Canadian River where you will find everything from river bottoms filled with willows and cottonwoods to rolling hills that are covered with plum thickets. For a unique opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and experience a memorable hunt contact: www.huntrawhidecreek.com, 866.328.4868.

 

 

 

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updated June 19, 2012 09:32 AM