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If you are a fan of the Pioneer Woman aka Ree Drummond and love to travel Osage Hills State Park is your camping base. Park is about 45 minutes from the town of Pawhuska where the Mercantile & Pioneer Woman are based.
This state park is not far from where we live so we took a drive to see the foliage and scout out the camping area. There were some nice size sites for our RV, beautiful views, paved roads to push wheelchair around, even the primitive area, although not paved was good for pushing a wheelchair. . There is a large day area for picnics, a nice play ground, pool, trails, even tennis courts and a baseball field. Place to fish and just relax. . Definitely a nice place to get away and relax. My niece and nephews fave campground. . Tall Grass Prairie Preserve is close by as well. The Joseph H. Williams Tallgrass Prairie Preserve at 39,650 acres is the largest protected piece of tallgrass prairie left on earth. Urban sprawl and conversion to cropland have left this once expansive landscape, originally spanning across 14 states from Texas to Minnesota, at less than 4% of its original size . Take a drive through Tall Grass Prairie and you’ll probably see bison roaming.
Clean campsite. Fire pit had recently been cleaned out. Nice little path down to the water from this spot. Water and electricity available but didn't use this trip. If you hammock camp, the poles on the canopy are perfectly spaced for a great hang. No firewood to buy on premises so pick it up in the near town of Ponca City if you want to light a fire. There is dead wood around as well if you want to source it that way.
This is a county operated park located in Oxford, Kansas which is a few miles east off I 35. So it’s a convenient layover, especially considering the cost! If you don’t use the electricity it’s only $3.50 and if you choose to hook up to the electric, which is located on utility poles, then it’s $10 per night on the honor system. There’s a box next to the bath house where you leave your cash payment.
The park is very well kept and has a lot to offer with disc golf course (be aware that the course runs through the middle of the camping area), a playground, group picnic shelter, a basketball court, and a newer shower/bath house. This is only open between April 15th and October 15th. Water is available to fill your tank and there is a dump station on site too! At site 50 the water was next to the site, so if no one else is camping it could be a direct hook up. When I stayed there were only 2 other rigs here.
There are no specific designated sites, at least that are clearly designated. Just take the road into the park and then look for the poles which hold the electric boxes. You can pull into the grassy areas next to one of these. I was concerned about the ground being soft because it had just rained, but I had no problems in my 24’ class C rig.
Oxford is a small town, but across the main street from the park there’s a gas station/quick mart store and supplies are there. This is a fantastic peaceful spot with great night skies and the price is right! Let’s keep it our secret.
This campground has one of the simplest, user friendly, online reservation site I've ever used. For me, thats a definite plus. The tent sites are massive, equipped with a table, fire ring, grill, and parking. Four sites are near the swim area (9-12), site 9 and 10 are nearest to the toilets - which are clean, sites 1-8 are tucked back in the woods a little. There are RV hookup sites on the inside of the campground loop. Amenities include a playground, hiking/mtb trails, swim area, fishing dock, and a bait shop. Day use fee is 6$, overnight tent fee is 10$. This area is subject to burn bans and showers are located at the west campground.
I just spent the weekend in the South camp site but ventured to the North campsite on my way out to look around for a future stay.
There are no facilities so best to bring your own, or plan on driving out and into the main campground to use the restrooms there.
North: Large campsite with both tree shaded and open areas, larger access to the water. Area is large enough for multiple vehicles, though only 2 vehicles are allowed to stay at the campsite it would a nice site for others together if they were camping in the nearby primitive sites. Fire ring provided. The main road in isn't bad, but the Y to the North camp site does have a bit of a rock ledge to drop off of and a bit of an off camber section.
South: Nice primitive campsite with water access. Plenty of room for a couple of vehicles and tents. Mostly tree shaded with one small area open to direct sun. Fire ring provided. The water access in this site is a path through the grass that grows at the edge of the water, the bottom is sandy. Heard/saw fish hitting the water often was not able to catch any. The road all the way to this camp site isn't bad.
Should it rain while you are staying in either spot, the roads out could change quite a bit especially due to the sandy soil. The Lake states 4wd is required to stay at the sites and while it's not necessary when dry, I can see it being needed during/after a storm.
One thing I did not like about the primitive sites is that the hiking/biking trails come right by the campsite within a few feet, so I had people all weekend practically coming into my camp. I prefer primitive for a reason and that is to get away from people not have them coming through my campsite. There is more than enough room between the campsites and the main road to have adequate space between the trail system and the campsites as not to disturb the campers.