Robber's Cave State Park is located in the hills of the Sans Bois Mountains in southeast Oklahoma. It covers 8,264 acres and contains 3 lakes: Coon Creek Lake, Lake Carlton, and Lake Wayne Wallace. The site became famous after outlaws like Belle Starr and Jesse James used the caves there to hide from authorities in the late 1800s. The park was also once a hunting ground for indigenous tribes and was explored by French expeditions.
Robber's Cave State Park is located in the hills of the Sans Bois Mountains in southeast Oklahoma. It covers 8,264 acres and contains 3 lakes: Coon Creek Lake, Lake Carlton, and Lake Wayne Wallace. The site became famous after outlaws like Belle Starr and Jesse James used the caves there to hide from authorities in the late 1800s.
Robber's Cave State Park is a great place for outdoor enthusiasts and those who enjoy camping. There are hundreds of camping spots with varying amenities as well as the Belle Star Lodge and cabins for rent. Some activities one can enjoy at the park include hiking along the various trails, ATV riding areas, fishing opportunities, canoeing/kayaking, and museums. The adjoining Wildlife Management Area provides visitors the chance to explore nature.
The park was founded in 1929 after state representative Carlton Weaver donated a 120-acre plot of land to the Boy Scouts of America to use as a campground. In 1935, the Civilian Conservation Corps and the National Parks Service took over and created Latimer State Park, now known as Robber's Cave State Park. Between 1935 and 1941, the CCC built a bathhouse, cabins, trails, group camps, shelters, and roads. They utilized native rocks to complete these projects.The park was renamed to Robber's Cave in 1936 to pay homage to the unique and mysterious history of the caves that are inside the park. The area that the park sits on has a very historical past.
At one time, the land now included in the park was said to be a hunting ground for the Osage Indian Tribe. It was also an area of French Exploration in the 1700s. There influence can be seen in the names of some land features in the area. The most prominent historical feature of the park, however, is that it was once a refuge for Civil War deserters and outlaws from all over the country. Outlaws such as the Younger Gang, Jesse James, and Belle Star used the caves to hide and run from the law. The caves were said to have hidden entrances and the surrounding landscape acted as a fortress for the bandits that inhabited it. These outlaws terrorized the area then vanished again into thin air.
The historical background of Robber's Cave State Park and the attraction of the park in general make it important today. Some may be drawn to the stories and aura of the caves while others may prefer to enjoy hiking and seeing the beautiful country around them. In any case however, the park provides fun and memories for people of all ages. Robber's Cave State Park is a destination that can be visited many times, with each trip ending in new discoveries.
In conclusion, Robber's Cave State Park is a place filled with opportunities and activities for people of all ages. Whether it be hiking, canoeing or kayaking, fishing, or visiting the former hideout of famous outlaws, the park has something for everyone. The historical background of the park sets it apart from most and gives a compelling reason to visit the beautiful landscapes of Southeastern Oklahoma.
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