Gloss Mountains Hike

Gloss Mountains State Park

We were supposed to be in Washington, D.C., but Murphy’s Law was out to trip us up. Beyond the plethora of COVID-related guidelines and “suggestions”, weather and airline cancellations were making it fairly clear that we may not want to travel. Getting there would be easy. Coming home could become a costly problem. We decided to cancel a long-awaited, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity trip. That is how my son and I ended up hiking at Gloss Mountain State Park.

Gloss Mountains or Glass Mountains?

It is both, actually. When we pulled into the Gloss Mountains parking lot, we found a monument explaining the confusion. No spoilers here, but it is a nice piece of Oklahoma history. It may also have changed the way I pronounce “gloss” and “glass”.

From the monument, we walked to the base of Cathedral Mountain to the stairway leading to the top. Be aware that, at the time of our visit, the last bit of the climb does not include stairs. If you have issues with climbing stairs, that last bit will definitely be a challenge going both up and down.

Oklahoma Is Not Flat!

As a native-born Oklahoman, the perception that Oklahoma is flat is a stereotype I have never understood. While part of the state is in the Great Plains, the state is anything but flat. Climb to the top of the mesa (because, that’s what Cathedral Mountain really is) and you will get a great view of the wide open plains. From the tall, not-so-flat terrain that you just climbed, mind you.

As someone who loves the wide open spaces our nation has to offer, the view was spectacular. The image accompanying this article is taken from the eastern portion of Cathedral Mountain, looking north. While markedly different, it reminded me of looking down on the Tularosa Basin from the slopes of New Mexico’s Sacramento Mountains. The elevation change is dramatically different, but the sweeping horizon makes up for it. Pay attention to the patterns in the rock atop the mesa for the icing on the cake.

This is a fun, easy day-trip from the Oklahoma City area. We chose to take backroads up and back, swinging by Vance Air Force Base to enjoy the static display of vintage aircraft used there over the years. Beyond the fun of seeing parts of Oklahoma we do not frequent, it was also a great time to share a bit of life with a young man who is growing up fast.

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