Situated in the hills and forests of southeast Oklahoma’s San Bois Mountains, Robbers Cave State Park has a history almost as exciting as the scenery and activities it offers. The park earned notoriety in the early part of the 20th century as a hideout for outlaws including Jesse James and Belle Starr. While the park recognizes this fame, today the park’s draw is as a family-friendly destination offering luxurious Robbers Cave cabins and campsites.
Campers can stay at 22 modern RV sites with full hookups, 67 sites with water and electric hookups, and 86 primitive camping along secluded trails. For those looking for a more cozy stay, the 26 Robbers Cave cabins offer stunning park views, as well as a full kitchen, a fireplace, television and a full bathroom (these make for a reliable stay at the park depending on the weather in Wilburton, OK).
Once you’ve settled into your stay, you’ll find countless activities in the park, enough to make you come back to do it all. There’s miles of hiking, biking and equestrian trails, swimming, fishing and paddling at the park’s three reservoirs and numerous creeks, rock climbing/rappelling, and guided tours through the historic sites that once hid outlaws from law enforcement.
Great campsite. Had neighbors around us but it was very quiet. This site held 5 tent campers and 1 hammock camper and there was still plenty of room. Great fire pit and cement picnic table for cooking. Stayed here for a Jeeping event. The trails are just a mile or so away so it made them very accessible. Ample parking as well.
Our first Oklahoma camping trip lead us to Robbers Cave State Park in the southeastern portion of Oklahoma. It is located on more than 8,000 acres in the San Bois Mountains. The parks claim to fame is outlaws such as Belle Starr, the Dalton Gang, and Jesse James used it as a hideout from the law. This was going to be our first full week of vacation spent in the popup, and our first camping trip outside of Missouri. We selected Robbers Cave State Park for two reasons it’s distance was a little over 4 hours away, and the number of amenities it offered for our 4 year old on our extended outing.
The first thing this park did was challenge my perceptions on what the Oklahoma landscape is. This is a park is located in an old growth pine forest, located in the rocky terrain of the Sans Bois Mountains. The park is split in half by Hwy 2 with the east side of the park consisting of the RV campgrounds, cabins, and Belle Starr Lodge. The west side of the park includes Lake Carlton, the equestrian camps, swimming pool, miniature golf, and nature center. This layout was negative in the fact that we could not walk between two sides with my son because of the distance and elevation change, you could rent golf carts if you would like. The positive was that it kept traffic down in the campground from the day use visitors of the park. We booked site 23 in the Old Circle Campground, when booking on the Oklahoma state park website there are no photos of the sites, only short descriptions…sometimes. I will let you know there is a youtube video that someone made driving around the old circle campground. I used this to take a look at our site after booking it. Site 23 was a pull through site with full hookups located only about 5 feet off the main campground road. This could be a problem if the park was busy and there is a lot of traffic. Lucky for us we were camping through the week and this was not an issue. The site then on the opposite side held our own little secluded spot surrounded by pine trees down a slight slope from camper. We had a fire circle, picnic table, grill, and lantern post. We loved this site for this very reason. I will post pictures of both sides of our site below so you can get a visual. The bathroom and shower house is located in the middle of the old circle loop. The structure is very old and very dated stone structure, where you might find frogs sitting on shower curtains, spiders, and lizards (Those are just the ones that I witnessed). There is a newer shower house located outside of the Whispering Pines campground, next to the campground office and store. If you go to the newer one to take a shower make sure you have some quarters, or some dollar bills, because the showers cost money. Four quarters will get you 6 minutes worth of shower time.
When we were not at camp we spent most of our time exploring the west side of the park. We spent two afternoons swimming in Lake Carlton. The designated swim area has a very rocky drop-off for an entrance, but once out it was very nice swimming. There is a concrete pier that is located along the swim ropes that you can climb up and jump off of. Besides swimming you could rent peddle boats, canoes, and paddle boards to go exploring. There was a pool with two water slides and a splash zone, it is $5 dollars to enter for the entire day. My son also got to play miniature for the first time at the course located next to the pool. One word of warning the golf course is very dated with carpet ripped or completely missing in spots. This did not slow us down at all, it just needs a little work. They also sell shaved ice at the miniature gold building.
The Oklahoma Park staff were very knowledgeable, friendly, and willing to answer any of my questions. Also when you get to camp they will give you a schedule of all the events that are going on throughout the week you are staying. We did a hayride that lead us through the park to the stables where there is a petting zoo, we saw the second largest pine tree in Oklahoma, and drank water from anartesian well. They also had a campfire with stories and smores one night, a cane pole fishing class, and even a tour of Lake Carlton by canoe. Just make sure you have cash because each item does cost money.
The last thing we did before leaving Robbers Cave State Park after our three night stay was to go and search for the outlaws in the cave ourselves. I will give you a spoiler alert, the hiking trail to the cave is steep and rocky with big drop-offs, so be careful with small children. It is a ¾ of a mile trail that my son absolutely loved. He was trying to find the robber that was hiding out. The hike was worth every hair raising nervous parent moment.
It is a consensus with my family that we will need to return to this park again. It has so much to offer, and we did not even touch on the many miles worth of trails to hike or go for a horseback ride on. We look forward to our return to continue the exploring and searching for the elusive robbers.
Not sure about campsites but the cabins are amazing. Lots of trails but the trail markers are hard to spot…they need remarked
robbers cave itself is a fun hike
There were numerous sites. Ours was located right on the water. Large predator birds were fishing right outside our tent. There was water on a near by site. There is not electric or sewer hookups. I can’t wait to go back.
Campground was alongside the highway, however the highway divides the state park, sites up the hill are farther away from the highway. We stayed on a site that was basically parallel with the main highway, however the trees offer privacy and noise reduction. There is water access and many trails that are available. Some campgrounds are closer to the state park's main geological feature which are the caves that infamous bank robbers used. This state park offered what I would consider typical of Oklahoma state park trails. They are poorly marked, more challenging than advertised, and not appropriate for certain types of activities. Generally when in Oklahoma I prepare for the worst to avoid a negative experience, and it works well for me. Horses do access some of the trails so horse flies are prevalent in those areas, I recommend bug spray.
We do intend to return to this area to camp again in the future.
Lots of history at Robbers Cave State Park! Belle Starr famous Lady Outlaw! Jesse James Gang! Beautiful lakes and numerous hiking trails!
We love this park. If you're from Oklahoma you must visit. The park has so much to offer with several hiking trails, equistrian trails and stables, mini golf, and much much more. It gets pretty crowded during the day on the day use side. But you can stay on the other side of the park during the day and go over to the cave side in the morning or evening even the crowds die down. The bathrooms aren't anything to brag about but they did the job and did have hot water. We will come back again in the fall when the leaves start changing because it is absolutely beautiful.
I really want to love this park. I just can't. The park offers some of the best southeast Oklahoma landscapes available but the park is dated to say the best. The updated part of the park is across the road from the lake and is more expensive to camp at and is really designed for RV's. We tent camp so have always stayed by the lake i one of the primitive sites. It took us several trips to figure out you had to pay at the visitors center by the updated part of the park. When visiting the primitive sites, by careful before you set up camp. We always have to scout the area for glass, old cans, and food scraps so the dogs don't eat anything they shouldn't or cut their paws. You also have a large influx of day use visitors during the pleasant Spring and Fall days. The plus sides are the caves, trails, and lake activities. Large boats aren't allowed on the lakes but paddle boats can be rented. We hike the loop trail around the lake and by the caves which usually takes most of the day. The bathrooms on the primitive side are in desperate need of updates so if you aren't a fan of 1940's bathrooms, beware.
Hiking, horseback riding, rock climbing, and swimming among rolling wooded hills and rocky cliffs, plus cave tours, nature center, special events year-round (tractor show!), canoe & bike rentals, horseback tours, and lots more extras. They have rustic tent sites, full RV, and small cabins to rent. We stayed in the tent sites, which had great shade and decent privacy. Restrooms need to be updated (as of 2014), but we didn’t mind. While this is a very built-up campground with many activities and is relatively crowded, it does not feel like a theme park since all the activities are tied to nature. Great place and perfect to bring less experienced campers.
I have mixed feelings about Robbers Cave - there are so many different campgrounds and some are much better than others. First of all, you have all the campgrounds around the lakes in the main park area. The only one with decent bathrooms is the RV site on far side of the road from the lakes. The rest either have vault toilets or top of the line 1940's, never been upgrade bathrooms. However, if you don't mind primitive camping there are a ton of spots on the other side of the lakes that are less busy and although without bathrooms, if you stayed on the main side you may decide no bathroom is better than some. The hiking is great in this area either way. Definitely due a visit. Campgrounds mainly in treed areas. The park gets a lot of day use, so expect very crowded afternoons if you are in the main gate area, the crowds leave after dark though.