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Quartz Mountain State Park
Greer and Kiowa Counties

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From the 1986 edition of A Guide to Birding in Oklahoma published by the Tulsa Audubon Society. This account was partially reviewed and updated in 2007.

Called by some an oasis in the dry plains of southwestern Oklahoma, the park lies in the valley of the North Fork of the Red River where the river was dammed to create the 6,260-acre Lake Altus. Granite buttes and peaks of the Quartz Mountains rise above the plains eastward to the Wichitas. In spring a profusion of wildflowers creates a colorful display along the hillsides, with small outcroppings of the red granite accentuating the vivid shades of blue, red and gold.


The park is wooded with shaded and open grassy areas, small streams which flow through the canyons, and high vistas. Maps of the park are available at the Nature Center where a full-time naturalist will assist with added information on birds, trails, and other points of interest. The New Horizon Trail, beginning north of the Center, winds to the top of Quartz Mountain. Fairly rugged, the trail is a 1.5 mile round trip. More than 80 species of wildflowers, including prickly pear and barrel cactus, are found on the mountain. Bird species on the trail are limited but birders should find Rufous-crowned Sparrow and Lazuli Bunting. Lesser Goldfinches are found in several locations in the park and Painted Buntings are common. Across the road from the trailhead are picnic tables which provide vantage points for observing birds in the valley below. The lake attracts large numbers of waterfowl in migration and has extensive mud flats for migrating shorebirds.

On the shore of Lake Altus, against the backdrop of Quartz Mountain, is a modern, rustic lodge with restaurant and both indoor and outdoor swimming pools. Campsites with RV hookups are available in the park with a limited number of tent sites.

Birders will find that the park with its excellent facilities provides a good starting point for exploring many birding areas in this part of the state. On a recent field trip during a spring meeting of the Oklahoma Ornithological Society, 130 species were reported from different habitats in Kiowa, Greer and Jackson counties. They included other specialties such as Clay-colored and Cassin's sparrows; Lark Bunting; Golden-fronted and Ladder-backed woodpeckers; Black-headed Grosbeak; Ash-throated Flycatcher; Curve-billed Thrasher; "Black-crested" Titmouse; Mississippi Kite; Scaled Quail; Greater Roadrunner; Common Barn-Owl and Burrowing Owl.

The park has a nature center with a water drip, a viewing blind at Scissortail Campground, and hummingbird feeders at the campground host.

To reach the park drive north from US 62 at Altus on SH 44. The park entrance is approximately 20 miles. For further information write Quartz Mountain State Park, Lone Wolf, OK 73401. For reservations write Quartz Mountain Resort, Lone Wolf, OK 73401, or call (405) 563-2424.





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Last modified: September 21, 2009




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