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Little Sahara State Park, Waynoka

4.0
#20 of 23 in Nature in Oklahoma
State Park Nature / Park
Little Sahara State Park is a state park located in Oklahoma, named for its resemblance to the Sahara Desert.The vast dunes have formed over time from terrace deposits, remnants of prehistoric times when the Cimarron River flowed over the entire area.Little Sahara was founded in the early 1950's as a city park by Grace Ward Smith, head of Alva's Chamber of Commerce. Prior to that, the dunes were primarily seen as a nuisance, encroaching on Highway 281, requiring the road to be re-routed. Smith named the park to lure visitors, hired locals to guide and act as outlaws, and in 1958 purchased a pair of camels. In September 1960, the state of Oklahoma purchased the 339 acre parcel for $12,500. Later that year, 4,000 visitors viewed a Christmas pageant starring the camels. By 1963, the park had expanded to 1,600 acres. That spring, a local auto dealer rode the dunes in a "makeshift steampunk vehicle with wide rims and balloon tires, topped by hay-rake wheels serving as roll bars." This activity quickly gained popularity and local businesses continue to offer rentals.Little Sahara State Park is located in northwest Oklahoma, south of Waynoka. The park offers over 1600acre of rideable sand dunes ranging in height from 25ft to 75ft. Amenities include showers, picnic areas, 86 RV hookups with electric/water and 143 tent sites. Seasonal concessions provide refreshment, and fuel and grocery are located nearby. In 2015, 128,397 riders paid $10 each to enjoy the dunes.
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48 reviews
TripAdvisor
  • We were just passing through Waynoka and decided to stop to check out Little Sahara State Park. We did not bring an ATV with us, but we enjoyed the short hike up to the lookout. This is a good place t...  more »
  • One would never dream that Oklahoma has giant sand dunes. These dunes keep changing because of the wind. It is a great place for ATV riding. The observation tower is the best place to view the dunes u...  more »
  • So apparently my husband doesn't like sand so I didn't get to go so much exploring, although I've heard there's not much to do here without ATVs. It was just neat to see Sand in Oklahoma! Next time I ...  more »

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