Oklahoma Hike | Glass Mountains State Park

by Jim and Melanie

Drive 45 minutes west of Enid, OK and you reach the Glass Mountains State Park. It is small, only 640 acres (1 mi2). Sometimes referred to as the Gloss Hills, their name comes from the sheen and sparkle of selenite crystals, or gypsum. The tops of the mesas are thick with them and appear light gray and green. There are also thin layers of selenite in the red dirt of the Permian soil in these “Shining Mountains”. Click this Google Maps image to do some exploring.

Light gray areas are tops of 150 ft high mesas.

Light gray areas are tops of 150 ft high mesas.

At the lower left of the map is a turnout from highway 412 into a parking lot. From there, you can take the trail up the steep 150 foot climb to the top of the largest mesa.

2014_0402GlossMts_01

Roadside entrance sign.

This first image gallery takes you to the top and part of the way along the edge of the mesa. Caution was advised for rattlesnakes and loose footing near the edge.

We spent most of an hour hiking along the mesa, enjoying the views and the soaring buzzards. One other family joined us. We had the place mostly to ourselves. This gallery shows a few more views from the top.


We descended from the mesa and sat in the shade to eat lunch. Off to the west, we spotted pelicans circling against the blue-grey haze. Their bright white showed at first, and then as they turned, they disappeared, only to appear again a moment later. We figured they may have been migrating north from the gulf. This very short video isn’t from the other day, but at the very end shows how the turning birds start to disappear against the sky. Their bright white wing tops reflect light from one side. Once they face the other direction, the dark bottoms of their wings don’t reflect the sunlight, which gives the illusion.

One more thing…are you able to view 3-D images using the parallel viewing method? Imagine you are staring through a pane of glass while you view this image of the Glass Mts. If it works for you, they will ‘fuse’ together into a nice 3-D rendition of the site where we hiked. Good luck.

 

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24 thoughts on “Oklahoma Hike | Glass Mountains State Park

  1. OceanDiver

    Beautiful spot. Those colors must have been intense in that bright sunlight. So interesting to imagine the formation of all those layers and the erosion that isolated the mesas, and really nice to be able to get as close to the edge as you wanted (no fences) to get the full effect…top of the world, with the buzzards! Thanks for the tour.

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    1. Melanie in IA

      It was beautiful and very peaceful, in a way. The mesas are fragile. Hiking is only intended on the one where we ascended, and signs ask you to stay on the path.

      Thanks for coming by. Good to see you today.

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    2. Jim in IA Post author

      It was a surprisingly pleasant park. After the climb, it was all on the level. You are right about the lack of fencing. You were on your own. The buzzards added a special quiet part all their own.

      I’m glad you came along.

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  2. Mrs. P

    What a beautiful place! I’m afraid I couldn’t do the parallel viewing…but I get the idea. I didn’t realize you could insert google maps into blogs…nice feature!

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  3. Sheryl

    This post makes we want to visit Gloss Mountain State Park. It looks similar to the South Dakota Badlands–and I really enjoyed hiking through that park.

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    1. Jim in IA Post author

      East of there is very flat with a lot of wheat fields greening up. Sorghum is raised, too. Some cattle are scattered across pastures. But, not many. Oil pumping rockers are ubiquitous. Some of them still working.

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  4. Alex Autin

    I am SO jealous! This looks like a great hike! I really need to make the time for some exploring.

    I wasn’t able to do the parallel viewing. As fun as it is, I’m sure it can’t compare to actually being there though!

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    1. Jim in IA Post author

      You should get out more. Tell your bosses you need some R&R.

      Try this…download the 3_D image to your desktop. Open it with image viewer software. Rotate it upside down. Cross your eyes to view it.

      It will look like a recessed gorge in the landscape instead of a mesa. Don’t forget to cross your ankles when you do that. Have a waste basket handy in case you get an upset stomach.

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      1. Alex Autin

        Hmmm….”download the 3_D image to your desktop. Open it with image viewer software. Rotate it upside down. Cross your eyes to view it.”

        Couldn’t I just take your word for it?! 😉

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      2. Alex Autin

        Ok, THAT worked! I use to be able to see those printed stereogram images, which I’m thinking is kinda similar.
        I tried the same technique I would use on those, and it just would not work this time. Then finally, after trying to force the image to come together, I just let my eyes relax and the image suddenly popped into view.

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  5. Steve Schwartzman

    If a stereo pair is small enough I’ve always been able to parallel-view it; that was true with your hyperstereo. Our vacations weren’t that far apart in time or space, and I had a 3-D experience in the museum of Texas Tech University in Lubbock. An exhibition there about a tribe of Indians in New Mexico included three stereo pairs mounted in standard Holmes-type viewers so that visitors could see the images in 3-D. In one pair the halves had inadvertently been switched, so that the Indians’ faces appeared to be pushed back into their heads. I alerted the staff, but I don’t know if the mistake got fixed. I doubt it.

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    1. Jim in IA Post author

      I doubt it, too. You are right about the pairs needing to be just your eye width apart. Also, I like to find old stereo pairs in antique shops and flea markets. They are easy to view without the holder.

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