Robbers Cave: Rough Canyon Trail – 3 mi

Robbers Cave: Rough Canyon Trail - 3 mi photo
Lost Lake where the Rough Canyon Trail runs next to it, Robbers Cave State Park (panoramic shot).

The Rough Canyon Trail is one of the most popular trails at Robbers Cave State Park (near Wilburton, Latimer County, Oklahoma). It’s a scenic 2.9-mile loop that starts about 100 feet from the Robbers Cave Nature Trail (the cave area).

Among the trail’s highlights are the Rough Canyon (a creek valley) and Lost Lake areas.

This is moderately challenging trail with about 500 feet of cumulative elevation gain. The elevation change is only about 250 feet though.

Quite a bit of the trail is rocky. While lots of rocks can make walking a bit tougher, they also add beauty and character.

Robbers Cave: Rough Canyon Trail - 3 mi photo
The Rough Canyon stream near the Rough Canyon Trail

Getting to the Rough Canyon Trailhead

Wilburton is on Highway 270, about 40 miles west of Poteau. From Wilburton, take Highway 2 north about 6 miles to the park. Go in the park’s main entrance on the left.

The trail starts at the cave area. Follow the signs in the park for Robbers Cave. (This is the same parking lot as the Robbers Cave Nature Trail.) You will be going  north on Robbers Cave Road for about 1.5 miles and then taking a left.

There is parking in the Robbers Cave parking lot. The trailhead is at the lower part of the parking lot, to the left of the Robbers Cave Nature Trail area.

CLICK – Google Maps Directions to Cave Parking Area (Trailhead)

 

Robbers Cave: Rough Canyon Trail - 3 mi photo
Rough Canyon Trail, Robbers Cave State Park
The Hike

From the parking lot, the trail goes clockwise. At the end, the trail joins the Robbers Cave Nature Trail and ends at just up the hill from where the trail starts.

The first .1 miles is mostly a southwest descent down to Fourche Maline, a very pretty creek when it is flowing well. For about .2 miles, the trail follows along the creek. This is a very nice area when the water is flowing.

Robbers Cave: Rough Canyon Trail - 3 mi photo
Fourche Maline, next to the Rough Canyon Trail

At around .3 is a fairly steep uphill climb that’s pretty rocky. It’s a cool interesting area.

For most of the next half mile or so, the trail is less steep and less rocky. During this stretch, there is a part where a horse trail overlaps with the trail. (It is marked with yellow blazes.)

At around 1 mile, the trail reaches the juncture with the Cattail Pond Trail. (It has double blue blazes. The Rough Canyon Trail has single blue blazes.) You would turn left here if you were doing Cattail Pond. Keep going straight.

The next half-mile is my favorite part of the hike. It mostly goes along the scenic Rough Canyon area. (Rough Canyon is really just a creek valley.)

This area is prettiest when there is water flowing in the creek, but it is still nice any time.

Robbers Cave: Rough Canyon Trail - 3 mi photo
View of Fourche Maline from the trail
Rest of the Loop

After the Rough Canyon area, you will reach the north junction with the Cattail Pond Trail. Here, make a right turn to continue on the Rough Canyon Trail. The starts heading uphill.

If it’s a wet time of year, shortly after heading up this part of the trail, you should see a cool rocky stream over to the right.

Robbers Cave: Rough Canyon Trail - 3 mi photo
The uphill climb after passing the Fourche Maline area.

About a third-mile past the north Cattail Pond Trail junction is Lost Lake. This is a very pretty spot.

It’s about 1.2 miles from here back to the parking lot. Most of the rest of the trail makes a large U-curve pointing northeast. The first part is a pretty good climb up to and over a ridge.

After getting over the ridge, the trail works its way back over to the cave area.

The last part of the trail is a scenic hilly and rocky section as the trail approaches the Robbers Cave area from the northeast.

Robbers Cave: Rough Canyon Trail - 3 mi photo
Relatively level area after making the steep climb after Fourche Maline

The trail ends at the Robbers Cave Nature Trail (orange blazes). At this point, turn left and head on back to the parking lot.

Robbers Cave: Rough Canyon Trail - 3 mi photo
Rough Canyon Trail getting into the Rough Canyon area
Final Notes

Overall, I had AT&T cell signal about 70% of the time.

This is a frequently travelled trail. It’s pretty easy to follow.

Robbers Cave: Rough Canyon Trail - 3 mi photo
Rough Canyon Trail, Robbers Cave State Park

These photos are all from my April 2, 2016 hike. As you can see, some of the trees had their leaves, but it was mostly still leaf-off.

See this post for pics I took of the trail in 2014.

Robbers Cave: Rough Canyon Trail - 3 mi photo
The Rough Canyon creek to the right, next to the trail.
Robbers Cave: Rough Canyon Trail - 3 mi photo
One of the many rocky stretches on the Rough Canyon Trail
Robbers Cave: Rough Canyon Trail - 3 mi photo
Cool stream just a little bit past the Rough Canyon area
Robbers Cave: Rough Canyon Trail - 3 mi photo
Rough Canyon Trail next to Lost Lake
Robbers Cave: Rough Canyon Trail - 3 mi photo
Rough Canyon Trail, Robbers Cave State Park
Robbers Cave: Rough Canyon Trail - 3 mi photo
Cool rocky and hilly area toward the end of the Rough Canyon Trail.
Robbers Cave: Rough Canyon Trail - 3 mi photo
Where the Rough Canyon Trail joins the Robbers Cave Nature Trail
Photo Gallery

Click below for full-screen photo gallery.

Maps
Robbers Cave: Rough Canyon Trail - 3 mi photo
Robbers Cave: Rough Canyon Trail – Contour Map (click to enlarge)
CLICK – Interactive Trail Map

 

Robbers Cave: Rough Canyon Trail - 3 mi photo
Approximate elevation profile based on gps data.
Robbers Cave: Rough Canyon Trail - 3 mi photo
Official Robers Cave Trail Map (pdf)

Robbers Cave: Rough Canyon Trail

LocationRobbers Cave State Park, near Wilburton, Latimer County, Oklahoma
Hike Length/Type2.9-mile loop
DifficultyModerate (3 of 5)
Other Permitted UsagePets on a leash.
Gpx file by MikeLink
Date HikedApril 2, 2016 (and earlier)
Directions Google Maps Directions to Cave Parking Area (Trailhead)
Official Info(918) 465-2565 Website Park Trail Map (pdf)

[Last updated: 3-5-2017]

2 thoughts on “Robbers Cave: Rough Canyon Trail – 3 mi”

  1. Enjoy your blog… just did the Ouachita trail section Big Cedar to the Winding Stair shelter and back, not as “scenic” or as steep as I thought it would be. Gave a nod to ‘ole Rooster, tho.
    On the Robbers cave trail, found a couple of cool balanced rocks formations on the other side of the creek from the trail, 4 or 5 years ago. Sorry, no pics or gps.

What do you think? (Leave a comment.)