The prairies and timbered hills of Osage County are laced with well-kept county roads. Some are blacktop, but most are gravel. (convertible owners take note!)
On a pretty day you can enjoy these lightly traveled roads and take in miles and miles of scenery. We’ve included a few of our favorites, but feel free to explore. A new county road and attractions map is available from any Chamber of Commerce or Oklahoma Welcome Center, or by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and is indispensable. All county roads are marked. The essence of 'backroading' is to intentionally plod along, so take your time. Top speed on a gravel road is 35-40 mph, and that's on the straightaways.
Here are a few local favorites to try:
Backroad to Bartlesville from Pawhuska: (all paved) Take CR2732 east from the 21st/Hwy 99 intersection just north of Pawhuska. About 2+ miles out you’ll see Lookout Mountain on your right. This is a spiritual place for Osages, and many are buried on its eastern slope. A gravel road (unnumbered) goes right to the top. Staying on 2732, take a left at the ‘T’ and wind through the hills for several miles. You’ll eventually descend a long hill into the tiny hamlet of Okesa (Osage for ‘halfway’ – to Bartlesville). There’s a small bar there on your right. At the T in ‘downtown’ Okesa, take CR2365 left, cross the one-lane bridge and veer right. Just a bit down the road you’ll come to a fork – take CR2361 left. This will put you on US 60 about 7 miles west of Bartlesville.
Backroad to Woolaroc from Pawhuska: (all paved) Follow the above directions to Okesa, but turn right on CR2365 in ‘downtown’ Okesa. Stay on this road for about 5 miles, then turn left on 2401. It’s then about 1 mile to Highway 123. Turn left onto 123 and it’s a couple of miles to the Woolaroc entrance.
Backroad to Bluestem from Pawhuska/Drummond Run: (paved/gravel) From the Triangle Building, go north on Kihekah. Kihekah becomes Grandview at the top of the first hill. At the top of the second, your on “Dial Hill”. Williams Park will be on your left next to the water tower. You’ll pass a few residences before you come to the CR4070 intersection. Turn left on CR4070. After about 3.5 miles, you’ll come to a fork in the road. To the left is the Bluestem Lake spillway, and during wet weather, the water falls about 50 feet, tumbling over shale and sandstone cliffs below the spillway. To the right CR4070 continues on a scenic run through the Drummond Ranch, eventually intersecting CR4461. (As the road climbs after the fork, you'll soon find yourself at a high point on the prairie with the ability to see 10-15 miles in any direction. This road is a great place to stargaze on clear nights. Park on a straightaway so you’ll be seen) Take a left onto CR4461 and it will deliver you back to US 60 about 8 miles west of Pawhuska.
Grayhorse shortcut: (mostly gravel) This is great diversion if you have some extra time heading west out of Pawhuska. About 13 miles west of Pawhuska on 60 you’ll notice a large microwave tower on your right. When you are due south of the tower (meaning the tower is directly to your right), you’re at the CR5701/US60 intersection. Turn left onto 5701. It’s a nice 8-9 miles of prairie scenery. Pay attention, and when you make the sharp right at the iron cattle pens (on your left), it’s a half mile to CR5795 (take it), which turns through a small cattle guard on your left and onto pavement. This will take you past the Grayhorse cemetery to CR 5451 (nice road). Turn right onto 5451. It’s a little over 4 miles into Fairfax and Highway 18 (Main Street in Fairfax). Turn right on Main (Hwy 18). It’s about 9 miles back to US60. This is one of the writer’s favorite drives.