Black Mesa State Park, established in 1959, is in the Western tip of Oklahoma's Panhandle and consists of 549 acres of land, of which 259 acres are leased, and 90 acres are state-owned, and Lake Carl Etling - a 200 acre lake. The Black Mesa itself is northwest of the park proper and is also a state park area.
Lava from an extinct volcano created the rugged setting of the Black Mesa which is the highest point in Oklahoma, just short of 5,000 feet above sea level.
Black Mesa's history began millions of years ago when pre-historic beasts like the 65 foot-long brontosaurus, who skeleton was discovered here, roamed the area. Petrified logs, displayed in the park, are remnants of another era, also millions of years past. Primitive man entered the picture, according to scientific theory, some 10,000 to 12,000 years ago, and cliff dwellers are thought to have lived in the caves near Black Mesa 1500 to 2000 years ago.
Coronado and his Spanish exploring expedition crossed the area. An inscription "Coronatto, 1541, " in old Castillian style and spelling, is carved upon a canyon wall. Its eroded condition upholds its authenticity.
The famed Santa Fe Trail crossed this corner of the Panhandle during its colorful 62 years of life, and over it passed wagon trains and thousands of travelers between Independence, Missouri and Santa Fe, New Mexico. The remains of old Fort Nicholas, established by Colonel Kit Carson for protection of travelers from hostile Indians, are still to be found southwest of the park area, near the New Mexico State line. The Panhandle became part of Oklahoma territory in 1890 and the State in 1907.
The fascinating past is revealed by Indian writings and pictographs. These crude writings and pictures show the daily life of the pre-Columbian Plains Indians and the animals they hunted.
Remnants of pumpkin vines and ears of corn support a theory that this was one of the earliest agricultural areas in the United States, cultivated during the time of Christ. Some experts believe the petrified logs found in abundance may be parent trees to the present giant Redwoods of California.
Black Mesa State Park is located in Cimarron County, northwest sector of the Oklahoma Panhandle, northwest of Boise City on Highway #325. The 200- acre lake was formed by a dam on Carrizzo Creek. The park has the following facilities:
Near Dinosaur Quarry. The highest point in Oklahoma is the Black
Mesa (Elev 4973), North of Kenton, Oklahoma, approximately 8 miles north of the park.