Exploring The Hidden Gems: 10 Things To Do In Heavener, Oklahoma

things to do in heavener ok

Welcome to Heavener, Oklahoma, a hidden gem nestled in the beautiful Ouachita Mountains. While not as well-known as its larger neighboring cities, Heavener offers a unique and authentic small-town experience with a wealth of activities to explore. From discovering ancient Native American rock art to hiking scenic trails, this charming town is full of surprises. So put on your hiking boots, bring your sense of adventure, and let's uncover the hidden gems of Heavener together.

Name of Place Description
Talimena Scenic Drive Enjoy a breathtaking drive through the Ouachita Mountains with stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
Heavener Runestone Park Explore a park filled with hiking trails, picnic areas, and the famous Heavener Runestone, a controversial artifact believed by some to be inscribed by Vikings.
Spiro Mounds Archaeological Center Visit an ancient Native American site with 12 mounds, a visitor center, and educational exhibits.
Heavener Runestone Viking Festival Attend an annual festival celebrating Viking heritage and the Heavener Runestone with live music, food vendors, and reenactments.
Lake Wister State Park Enjoy outdoor activities such as fishing, boating, and camping in a scenic state park surrounding Lake Wister.
Choctaw Casino Try your luck at a nearby casino with a variety of gaming options and live entertainment.
OSU-OKC Heavener Technical Campus Take a tour of the campus and learn about the technical programs offered at this branch of Oklahoma State University.
Heavener Runestone Disc Golf Course Play a round of disc golf on a scenic course situated near the famous Heavener Runestone.
Heavener Runestone Museum Visit a museum dedicated to preserving the history and artifacts related to the Heavener Runestone.
Local Restaurants Dine at various local restaurants offering a variety of cuisine options to satisfy your taste buds.


Visit the Heavener Runestone Park

Source: Tripadvisor
Characteristic Description
NameHeavener Runestone Park
TypePark in Le Flore County, Oklahoma
WebsiteGo to website
Rating / Review count4.6 / 893
Address18365 Runestone Rd, Heavener, OK 74937
Phone(918) 653-2241
HoursFriday - opens at 8 AM and closes at 8 PM
Saturday - opens at 8 AM and closes at 8 PM
Sunday - opens at 8 AM and closes at 8 PM
Monday - opens at 8 AM and closes at 8 PM
Tuesday - opens at 8 AM and closes at 8 PM
Wednesday - opens at 8 AM and closes at 8 PM
Thursday - opens at 8 AM and closes at 8 PM

If you're someone who loves exploring unique and mystical places, then a visit to Heavener, Oklahoma is a must. Tucked away in the southeastern part of the state, Heavener is home to the Heavener Runestone Park, a fascinating archaeological and historical site.

The main attraction of the park is the Heavener Runestone, a large stone slab covered in ancient Viking runes. This runestone, estimated to be over 1,000 years old, has been the subject of much debate and speculation. Some believe that it is evidence of early Viking explorers reaching this part of North America, while others argue that it may have been the work of Native American tribes.

Regardless of its origins, the Heavener Runestone is an impressive sight to behold. The intricate carvings and symbols on the stone are a testament to the skill and craftsmanship of the people who created it. Visitors can take a guided tour to learn about the various theories and interpretations surrounding the runestone, as well as its significance in history.

In addition to the runestone, the Heavener Runestone Park offers beautiful hiking trails that wind through the surrounding forests and hills. Nature enthusiasts will enjoy exploring the wilderness and taking in the scenic views. The park also has picnic areas and camping facilities, making it a great place for a day trip or a weekend getaway.

Heavener itself is a charming small town with a rich history. Visitors can explore the local museums to learn more about the area's Native American heritage and the pioneers who settled here. The town also hosts events and festivals throughout the year, celebrating its unique culture and traditions.

So, if you're looking for a one-of-a-kind destination that combines history, mystery, and natural beauty, look no further than Heavener, Oklahoma. A visit to the Heavener Runestone Park will leave you in awe of the ancient past and inspire you to delve deeper into the fascinating stories that this place holds. Whether you're a history buff or an outdoor enthusiast, Heavener has something for everyone. Plan your trip today and get ready for an unforgettable adventure.


Explore the scenic beauty of Queen Wilhelmina State Park

Source: Only In Arkansas

Located in the heart of the Ouachita Mountains in southeastern Oklahoma, Heavener is a small town that offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. While it may not be as well-known as other tourist destinations in Oklahoma, Heavener is home to one of the state's most beautiful natural treasures - Queen Wilhelmina State Park.

Nestled atop Rich Mountain, Queen Wilhelmina State Park is named after the former queen of the Netherlands and is known for its stunning scenic beauty. The park covers over 2,700 acres and offers a wide range of activities and amenities for visitors to enjoy.

One of the highlights of Queen Wilhelmina State Park is its extensive trail system. Hikers can explore over 13 miles of trails, each offering unique vistas and breathtaking views. The most popular trail in the park is the famous Ouachita National Recreation Trail, which spans over 220 miles across Arkansas and Oklahoma. Visitors can hike a portion of this trail and experience the beauty of the Ouachita Mountains firsthand.

For those who prefer a more leisurely experience, the park also offers a scenic drive that takes visitors to the top of Rich Mountain. The winding road provides stunning views of the surrounding landscape, with ample opportunities to stop and take in the scenery. At the summit, visitors can enjoy panoramic views from Queen Wilhelmina Lodge, a historic mountain inn that offers comfortable accommodations and a restaurant with delicious cuisine.

In addition to its natural beauty, Queen Wilhelmina State Park is also rich in history. The park is home to the iconic Queen Wilhelmina Cabins, which were built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. These rustic cabins provide a unique lodging experience and offer a glimpse into the past.

For outdoor enthusiasts, the park offers a range of recreational activities such as fishing, picnicking, and wildlife viewing. Visitors can cast a line in one of the park's fishing ponds or simply relax and enjoy a peaceful picnic amidst the serene surroundings.

Whether you're an avid hiker, a nature lover, or someone looking for a peaceful retreat, Heavener's Queen Wilhelmina State Park is a must-visit destination. Its scenic beauty, rich history, and range of recreational activities make it the perfect place to unwind and connect with nature. So pack your hiking boots, grab your camera, and get ready to explore the breathtaking beauty of Queen Wilhelmina State Park in Heavener, Oklahoma.


Take a hike through the breathtaking Ouachita National Forest

Source: The Oklahoman

Located in the southeast corner of Oklahoma, Heavener is a small town that offers big adventures. One of the most popular activities in the area is hiking through the stunning Ouachita National Forest. With its sprawling hills and dense foliage, this forest is a nature lover's paradise.

The Ouachita National Forest covers over 1.8 million acres and spans across both Oklahoma and Arkansas. It is named after the Ouachita Mountains, which are known for their rugged beauty. Visitors to Heavener have the opportunity to explore a small portion of this vast forest and take in its breathtaking views.

There are several hiking trails in the area that cater to different skill levels and interests. One of the most popular trails is the Winding Stair Mountain National Recreation Area. This trail offers a moderate hike through the forest and rewards hikers with stunning panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. Along the way, hikers may also come across wildlife such as deer, wild turkey, and even black bears.

For those looking for a more challenging hike, the Pashubbe Trail is a great option. This trail is longer and more strenuous, but it offers hikers the chance to see unique rock formations and ancient Native American pictographs along the way. It is important to note that this trail is not recommended for beginners and proper hiking gear is essential.

Aside from the natural beauty, the Ouachita National Forest is also steeped in history. The Talimena Scenic Drive is a road that winds its way through the forest and offers stunning views of the Ouachita Mountains. This drive is particularly popular during the fall season, when the leaves change colors and create a picturesque backdrop.

In addition to hiking and driving, visitors to the Ouachita National Forest can also enjoy other recreational activities such as camping, fishing, and horseback riding. There are several designated camping areas in the forest, as well as numerous lakes and rivers where fishing enthusiasts can cast their lines.

Overall, a visit to Heavener, Oklahoma offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts to explore the beauty of the Ouachita National Forest. Whether you prefer a relaxing hike or a challenging adventure, this area has something to offer for everyone. So grab your hiking boots, pack a picnic lunch, and get ready to experience the stunning natural wonders of Heavener and the Ouachita National Forest.


Learn about Native American history at the Spiro Mounds Archaeological Center

Source: National Geographic

Heavener, Oklahoma is a small town with a rich history, particularly in relation to Native American culture. One of the highlights of the area is the Spiro Mounds Archaeological Center, which offers a fascinating glimpse into the ancient history of the region.

The Spiro Mounds were once home to a prehistoric Native American civilization that thrived between 800 and 1450 AD. This civilization is believed to be ancestral to the Caddoan people, who later settled in the area. The mounds themselves were constructed as ceremonial and burial sites, and they provide important insights into the daily lives and customs of these indigenous peoples.

At the Spiro Mounds Archaeological Center, visitors can explore the site and learn about the history and significance of the mounds. The center features a museum that houses a variety of artifacts excavated from the area, including pottery, tools, and jewelry. These artifacts provide a deeper understanding of the culture and technology of the Spiro people.

One of the most famous finds at the Spiro Mounds is the "Spiro Mounds Treasure," a collection of valuable artifacts that was discovered in the 1930s. This treasure includes items such as copper ornaments, shell beads, and engraved conch shells. It is considered one of the most important archaeological discoveries in North America.

In addition to the museum, the center offers guided tours of the mounds and the surrounding natural areas. Visitors can explore the various mounds, including the Great Temple Mound, which is the largest prehistoric mound in the state of Oklahoma. The tours provide an opportunity to learn about the different types of mounds and their significance to the Spiro people.

The Spiro Mounds Archaeological Center also hosts special events and activities throughout the year to engage visitors and further educate them about Native American culture. These events may include traditional dances, storytelling sessions, and demonstrations of ancient crafts and techniques. By participating in these activities, visitors can gain a hands-on experience and a deeper appreciation for the rich heritage of the region.

Heavener, Oklahoma may be a small town, but it offers an incredible opportunity to learn about Native American history at the Spiro Mounds Archaeological Center. Whether you are a history enthusiast or simply interested in exploring the culture and heritage of the area, a visit to this center will provide a truly memorable experience.


Marvel at the stunning views from Rich Mountain Lookout Tower

Source: BlueRidgeNow.com

Heavener, Oklahoma is a small town located in the southeastern part of the state. While it may not be well-known to travelers, it offers a range of attractions that are sure to impress visitors. One of the most stunning sights in Heavener is the Rich Mountain Lookout Tower, which offers breathtaking views of the surrounding area.

Perched on top of Rich Mountain, this lookout tower provides a panoramic view of the Ouachita Mountains and the sprawling valleys below. It is the ideal spot to witness the beauty of nature and take in the tranquil ambiance of the region. The tower stands at an impressive height, allowing visitors to enjoy an unobstructed view of the surrounding landscape.

To reach the top of Rich Mountain Lookout Tower, visitors can take a short hike along a well-maintained trail. The journey is relatively easy and suitable for all fitness levels. Along the way, hikers can admire the lush foliage and vibrant wildflowers that decorate the path.

Once at the top, visitors are rewarded with an awe-inspiring view that stretches for miles. On a clear day, you can see the vast expanse of forests and lakes, creating a picturesque scene that will leave you captivated. It is a perfect spot for photography enthusiasts looking to capture the beauty of Heavener.

In addition to the stunning vista, the Rich Mountain Lookout Tower is also of historical significance. Built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps, the tower was used as a fire lookout station. Today, it stands as a testament to the region's rich history and serves as a popular attraction for tourists.

While visiting the Rich Mountain Lookout Tower, it is important to respect the natural surroundings. Take care not to disturb the local flora and fauna and remember to take your trash with you when you leave. It is crucial to preserve the beauty of this remarkable place for future generations to enjoy.

Overall, a visit to Heavener, Oklahoma is incomplete without taking in the stunning views from the Rich Mountain Lookout Tower. Whether you are a nature lover, a history enthusiast, or just looking for a peaceful spot to relax, this lookout tower is sure to leave a lasting impression. So, make sure to include this incredible attraction in your itinerary the next time you find yourself in Heavener, Oklahoma.


Step back in time at the Heavener Runestone Viking Festival

Source: Tahlequah Daily Press

The small town of Heavener, Oklahoma may seem like an unlikely place to find a connection to Viking history, but it is home to an intriguing artifact known as the Heavener Runestone. This runestone has baffled experts and historians for decades, with some believing it to be evidence of early Viking exploration in North America.

The Heavener Runestone was discovered in the 19th century by a farmer named John Robertson. While plowing his fields, he unearthed a large stone slab with strange markings etched into its surface. The markings resemble ancient Viking runes, which were used by Norsemen during the Viking Age to record their language and history.

The runestone's inscription has been translated to read, "Glorious Norse adventurers scaled these mountains." This has fueled speculation that Vikings may have explored the area thousands of years ago, long before Christopher Columbus discovered America. However, there is still much debate among experts regarding the authenticity and origin of the runestone.

To celebrate this unique piece of history, the town of Heavener hosts an annual Viking Festival. The festival takes visitors on a journey back in time to the Viking Age, immersing them in the culture and traditions of these ancient seafarers. Attendees can witness traditional Viking ceremonies, enjoy authentic Viking cuisine, and even participate in battles reenactments.

One of the highlights of the festival is the chance to see the Heavener Runestone up close. The runestone is displayed in a specially built exhibit, where experts and historians are available to answer questions and share their research findings. Visitors can examine the runestone's intricate carvings and ponder the mysteries surrounding its existence.

The Viking Festival also features live music, arts and crafts vendors, and educational workshops on Viking history and mythology. Children can enjoy interactive games and activities, such as archery and Viking ship building. It truly is a family-friendly event that offers something for everyone.

Whether you are a history enthusiast or simply looking for a unique and educational experience, the Heavener Runestone Viking Festival is a must-visit. This event brings together history, culture, and entertainment, offering a one-of-a-kind opportunity to learn about the possible Viking presence in Oklahoma. Step back in time and immerse yourself in the world of the Norse adventurers.


Go fishing or boating at Wister Lake State Park

Source: YouTube
Characteristic Description
NameLake Wister State Park
TypeState park in Poteau, Oklahoma
WebsiteGo to website
Rating / Review count4.5 / 385
Address25679 US-270, Wister, OK 74966
Phone(918) 581-2965
HoursFriday - opens at 8 AM and closes at 4 PM
Saturday - opens at 8 AM and closes at 4 PM
Sunday - opens at 8 AM and closes at 4 PM
Monday - opens at 8 AM and closes at 4 PM
Tuesday - Closed
Wednesday - opens at 8 AM and closes at 4 PM
Thursday - opens at 8 AM and closes at 4 PM

Located in Heavener, Oklahoma, Wister Lake State Park is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. With its serene atmosphere and abundant natural beauty, the park offers visitors the opportunity to go fishing or boating, making it an ideal spot for a relaxing day out on the water.

Wister Lake is a 7,000-acre reservoir that is known for its excellent fishing opportunities. Whether you are an experienced angler or a novice, the lake is home to a variety of fish species, including bass, crappie, catfish, and sunfish. You can bring your own fishing equipment or rent it from the park office. There are several fishing piers and boat ramps available for easy access to the water. If you prefer, you can also fish from the shoreline or from a kayak or canoe.

For those who enjoy boating, Wister Lake offers plenty of options. The park has several boat ramps where you can launch your own boat, or you can rent a boat from the park office. Whether you prefer a peaceful paddle in a kayak, a leisurely cruise in a pontoon boat, or a more exhilarating ride on a jet ski, there is something for everyone at Wister Lake. The calm waters of the lake make it a great place for boating, and you can explore the various coves and inlets, or simply enjoy the scenic views from the water.

In addition to fishing and boating, Wister Lake State Park also offers several other amenities for visitors to enjoy. The park has picnic areas with tables and grills, where you can have a family barbecue or enjoy a picnic lunch. There are also camping facilities available, including RV sites, tent sites, and cabins. If you want to extend your visit, you can spend the night in one of the park's cozy cabins and wake up to the sounds of nature.

Wister Lake State Park is a wonderful place to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and immerse yourself in nature. Whether you choose to go fishing, boating, or simply relax and enjoy the peaceful surroundings, a visit to Wister Lake is sure to rejuvenate your mind, body, and soul. So pack your fishing gear, grab your sunscreen, and head to Heavener, Oklahoma for a day of fun and relaxation at Wister Lake State Park.


Discover the historic charm of the Heavener Runestone Museum

Source: Trulia

Heavener, Oklahoma, may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of historically significant locations. However, nestled in the beautiful Ouachita Mountains, this small town is home to a hidden gem of archaeological importance - the Heavener Runestone Museum.

The Heavener Runestone is a large stone slab that is believed to have been inscribed by Vikings around the 9th or 10th century. Discovered by local farmer, Louis Thorpe, in 1923, this runestone has sparked much debate and intrigue among scholars and visitors alike.

The museum itself is dedicated to preserving and showcasing the history and significance of the Heavener Runestone. Upon entering the museum, you are immediately transported back in time. The exhibits take you on a journey through the Viking age, providing insights into their culture, beliefs, and exploration.

One of the highlights of the museum is the replica of a Viking ship. This life-sized replica allows visitors to get a sense of the craftsmanship and skill required to construct such vessels. Furthermore, the museum offers guided tours that provide in-depth explanations of the runestone's origins and the historical context in which it was created.

In addition to the Heavener Runestone, the museum also houses a collection of artifacts from the local area, allowing visitors to gain a broader understanding of the region's history. From Native American pottery to pioneer tools, these exhibits provide a comprehensive look into the diverse history of Heavener and its surroundings.

Beyond the museum, the town itself offers additional attractions for visitors. The scenic beauty of the Ouachita Mountains provides ample opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, and camping. There are also several parks and recreational facilities within close proximity to the museum, making it an ideal destination for a day trip or weekend getaway.

Whether you are a history enthusiast, an adventure seeker, or simply looking to explore something off the beaten path, the Heavener Runestone Museum is a must-visit destination. The mystery and allure of the Viking runestone, coupled with the natural beauty of the surrounding area, make for a truly unique and unforgettable experience. So, pack your bags and set off on a journey to Heavener, Oklahoma - a place where history comes alive.


Attend a live performance at the Heavener Runestone Amphitheater

Source: TravelOK.com

Located in Heavener, Oklahoma, the Heavener Runestone Amphitheater is a popular venue for live performances. Whether you are a fan of music, theater, or dance, attending a live performance at this unique amphitheater is an experience like no other.

The Heavener Runestone Amphitheater is nestled in the heart of the Ouachita Mountains, providing a stunning natural backdrop for any event. The amphitheater itself boasts state-of-the-art facilities, including a stage with advanced lighting and sound systems, ensuring that every performance is a memorable one.

One of the highlights of the Heavener Runestone Amphitheater is its seating arrangement. The amphitheater has both covered and open-air seating, allowing audiences to choose a preferred viewing experience. The covered seating offers protection from the elements, ensuring that rain or shine, the show goes on. The open-air seating, on the other hand, allows audiences to enjoy the cool breeze and natural beauty surrounding the amphitheater.

The Heavener Runestone Amphitheater hosts a variety of live performances throughout the year. From concerts featuring both local and nationally recognized artists to theatrical productions and cultural performances, there is something for everyone. The amphitheater also plays host to dance recitals, showcasing the talents of local dance studios and schools.

Attending a live performance at the Heavener Runestone Amphitheater is not only a way to support the arts but also a chance to immerse yourself in the local community. The venue often collaborates with local organizations and artists, creating a vibrant and inclusive atmosphere. This makes each performance a unique and special opportunity to connect with the local culture and talent.

In addition to its live performances, the Heavener Runestone Amphitheater also hosts various events and festivals throughout the year. These events bring the community together and provide an opportunity to celebrate and enjoy the outdoors. From food and music festivals to holiday celebrations, there is always something happening at the amphitheater.

If you find yourself in Heavener, Oklahoma, be sure to check the schedule of events at the Heavener Runestone Amphitheater. It offers a chance to witness incredible performances, support the arts, and immerse yourself in the local culture. So, grab your friends and family and head out to the Heavener Runestone Amphitheater for an unforgettable live performance.


Enjoy a peaceful picnic at Cedar Lake Recreation Area

Source: Arklahoma Hiker
Characteristic Description
NameCedar Lake Recreation Site
TypeCampground in Hodgen, Oklahoma
WebsiteGo to website
Rating / Review count4.6 / 144
AddressHodgen, OK 74939
Phone(918) 653-2991
HoursFriday - Open 24 hours
Saturday - Open 24 hours
Sunday - Open 24 hours
Monday - Open 24 hours
Tuesday - Open 24 hours
Wednesday - Open 24 hours
Thursday - Open 24 hours

If you're looking for a peaceful and picturesque spot in Heavener, Oklahoma to enjoy a picnic, look no further than the Cedar Lake Recreation Area. Located just a short drive from downtown Heavener, this stunning lake offers the perfect setting for a relaxing outdoor meal.

Cedar Lake Recreation Area is nestled amidst the beautiful Ouachita Mountains, providing a scenic backdrop for your picnic. The crystal-clear waters of the lake and the lush green surroundings create a tranquil atmosphere that will help you unwind and appreciate nature's wonders.

There are several designated picnic areas dotted along the shore of Cedar Lake, each offering a unique perspective of the landscape. Whether you prefer a spot under the shade of a large oak tree or one with panoramic views of the water, you're sure to find the perfect location to set up your picnic blanket.

Bring along a homemade lunch or some simple picnic fare, and enjoy a leisurely meal with loved ones. The calm waters of the lake make for a serene setting, which is perfect for reconnecting with nature and spending quality time with family and friends.

After your meal, take a stroll along the sandy shoreline or explore the nearby hiking trails. The Cedar Lake Recreation Area is also a popular spot for fishing, so you may want to try your luck and cast a line into the lake.

If you're in the mood for a full day of outdoor activities, the Cedar Lake Recreation Area offers amenities such as boat rentals, swimming areas, and camping facilities. This makes it an ideal spot for a weekend getaway or a family outing.

Before heading to Cedar Lake Recreation Area, it's a good idea to check the weather conditions and pack accordingly. Bring sunscreen, insect repellent, and plenty of water to stay hydrated during your picnic. Additionally, don't forget to clean up after yourselves and leave the area as pristine as you found it, ensuring that future visitors can enjoy the beauty of Cedar Lake.

So, if you're in Heavener, Oklahoma, make sure to visit the Cedar Lake Recreation Area for a peaceful picnic experience. Whether you're seeking solitude or looking for some quality time with loved ones, this natural gem offers the perfect setting to create lasting memories.

12 Fun Things to Do in Cleveland, GA

You may want to see also

Frequently asked questions

Heavener, OK is located in the heart of beautiful southeastern Oklahoma, offering a plethora of outdoor activities for nature enthusiasts. Visitors can explore the scenic trails and campgrounds of Heavener Runestone State Park, go fishing or boating in Lake Wister State Park, or hike the picturesque Ouachita National Forest.

Yes, history buffs will enjoy exploring the Rich Mountain Battlefield, which was a Civil War battle site, as well as the Heavener Runestone Park, which features an ancient runestone that has sparked much intrigue and curiosity among archaeologists and historians.

Heavener hosts several annual cultural events and festivals that showcase the community's heritage and traditions. One popular event is the Heavener Runestone Viking Fest, during which visitors can experience Viking reenactments, historical demonstrations, and traditional arts and crafts. The Heavener Lions Club Rodeo is another highly anticipated event, featuring thrilling rodeo competitions and live music.

Absolutely! Heavener is surrounded by breathtaking landscapes, making it an ideal destination for scenic drives. One notable drive is the Talimena National Scenic Byway, which spans 54 miles from Talihina, OK to Mena, AR, and offers stunning views of the Ouachita Mountains and fall foliage. The drive along Highway 59 towards Poteau also presents picturesque views of the countryside and rolling hills.

Written by
Reviewed by
Share this post
Did this article help you?

Leave a comment