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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.
Use to tent camp there 10 years ago or so. Went back to camp and pretty much caters to RVs now. Pretty much campers and fisherman now. Be careful does not say anywhere about reservations. We had been set up and kicking back for over 3 hours before the RUDEST ranger came and told us our site was reserved she just hadnt put up sign yet. Plenty of nicer places in the area, oh well used to enjoy it.
I stayed at twin bridges this past weekend with my wife and our two dogs. Despite nice weather it was less than half full. There aee three distinct areas to camp. One on the east side of HW 137, one on the west side of HW 137, and one south of HW 60. The area south of HW 60 is camper pads and very busy as it is right at the boat ramp. This area also charges a premium rate for its location ($27 with water and electric hook ups). The west side of HW 137 has lake huts ($50-$60ish per night) as well as tent and RV sites. The east side of HW 137 has tent and RV sites as well as the visitor center. Tent sites are $14, with electric $18, and electric and water for $22. You can reserve RV sites online but not tent sites. This area is mostly for RVs. The tent sides are all on a hill side so you cant find flat sites to tent camp and tent camping is poorly marked. We did find an "unimproved camping area" presumably for tent camping but everyone with an RV at the nearby RV sites used it as boat trailer parking. There are bathhouse on each side of HW 137 and we found them to be pretty good for a campground. There is a RV dump station behind the visitor center ($5 to dump, free to camping guests, payable at visitor center or envelope station). If you get in late there are signs instructing you to pay at visitor center the next morning. However these must be old signs as there is an envelope station in front of the visitor center door to register and pay (didnt seem like the visitor center is open much). Noticed a lot of trash around camping area into the wooded area around it. Not a lot to do in the park but plenty of fish and boating areas nearby. Also there are camp grills at each RV/camp spot but no fire pits, although we did notice people have just built camp fires as they see fit (not sure of park policy on this). Overall its a decent enough campground if you are going to be spending all your time on the lake but wouldnt recommend for tent camping or longer RV stays if you are looking for hiking trails and more secluded relaxation.
Twin Bridges is actually located in North East Oklahoma, not in Kansas. Quite near both Kansas and Missouri. Beautiful sites, busy campground. Great facilities including showers and a playground. Office staff was rather rude, which is unusual in the camping industry, so maybe it was a bad weekend for them. Some sites are too close to the very busy road.
We often go here when we need to change things up on our hiking schedule. The trails aren't marked but the park is small enough that you do not need signs. We haven't had an issue picking up a day use map at the check in counter or just looking at the signs throughout the park. The camping situation is really pretty decent. We stay on the main loop and have a table and fire ring. It can be loud but when we camp here we make sure to go late in the season or really early as the heat in the park is a serious concern. We have seen water snakes in this park so be careful when swimming. We can't tell them apart so we steer clear. The main loop is a little uneven so it may take some work finding a level spot in certain camp spots. The far end of the loop is the best, imo. If you are going to do just a short hike, I recommend going to the look out and finding the trail to the old CCC camp. The trail goes close enough to the spots that you can go off trail and really explore! This is a site that you want to go to as there isn't really anything else around.
I have visited this park numerous times and always have a good experience. It is a clean state park with good facilities and has easy access to get to the park. Very pretty tall grass and black jack oak rolling hills with spring fed streams and small ponds for fishing or kayaks. For those that follow the "Pioneer Woman", her mercantile store is within 30 minutes drive and any supplies can be found within 30 minutes drive the other direction. This park in the middle of the summer can be very hot and humid; it sets down at the bottom of the rolling hills and little breeze can make it uncomfortable; also during your hikes, an insect repellent is a must as the chiggers and ticks can be bad.