Road Trip: Osage County, Oklahoma

Over 100 miles of beautiful country, cowboy culture, and Plains heritage.
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Over 100 miles of beautiful country, cowboy culture, and Plains heritage.
Credit: illustration by Dieter Braun

Credit: illustration by Dieter Braun

The Tallgrass Prairie, Osage Hills, Oklahoma BBQ and much more in this 123-mile road trip!

1) Minutes north of Tulsa, luxury meets the Old West in the rural town of Sperry, at Bridle Creek Horse Ranch & Resort (918-288-2882, bridlecreekok.com). A fantastic stop if you’re traveling with your horse, Bridle Creek offers equine amenities including a 54,000-square-foot arena, trails, and a 40-stall barn. Humans can

stay at one of the 12 log cabins on the premises, each named after a Wild West outlaw.

2) East of Dewey, you’ll find the Prairie Song Pioneer Village (918-534-2662, priariesong.net), complete with saloon, schoolhouse, chapel, line shack, trading post, and jailhouse. Nearby, Yocham’s Custom Leather (877-475-9525, yochamscustomleather.com) specializes in everything from saddles to sofas, and Windle’s Rock and Jewelry Shop (918-333-2814, windlesjewelry.com) offers handcrafted American Indian art. Make sure to visit the Woolaroc Ranch, Museum, and Wildlife Preserve (918-336-0307, woolaroc.org), which houses some of the finest Western art along with a 3,700-acre wildlife preserve, and a working ranch. Eateries that cater to the cowboy taste include Dink’s Pit Barb-B-Que (918-335-0606, dinksbbq.com) and Outlaws Chophouse (918-331- 9696, outlawschophouse.com). 

3) Thirty minutes from Bartlesville is the Osage Hills State Park (800-654-8240), a perfect example of Oklahoma’s natural beauty. Once an Osage Indian settlement, the park now invites visitors to enjoy 1,100 acres of lush forests, rocky bluffs, and serene bodies of water. The park is full of recreational opportunities and is truly a place where you can get away from the hustle and bustle. 

4) Once the capital of the Osage Nation, today, Pawhuska (named after Osage chief Paw-Hiu- Skaw, which means “White Hair” in English) showcases a vibrant blend of American Indian and Western cultures. The town boasts 86 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. Must-sees include the Osage Nation Museum (918-287-5441, 1 osagetribalmuseum.com), and the nearby Tallgrass Prairie Preserve (703-841-5300, nature.org). At 39,000 acres, the preserve is the largest tallgrass prairie where American bison still roam. The drivethru experience lets you see how the West once was. 

5) The sprawling 101 Ranch was home to the 101 Wild West Show, which toured all over the world in the 1920s. The ranch no longer exists, but memorabilia can be seen at Marland’s Grand Home (580-767-0427, marlandgrandhome.com), a historic mansion built by oil tycoon E.W. Marland. The Pioneer Woman Statue & Museum (580- 765-6108, pioneerwomanmuseum.com) celebrates the women who have pioneered in various fields throughout the state’s history and the food scene in Ponca City includes excellent BBQ with the Blue Moon Restaurant (580-762-3325) and Head Country Bar-B-Q Restaurant (580-767-8304) leading the list. For Western wear needs, Heartland Western Outfitter’s (580-762-1902) provides onestop shopping.