Nestled between two scenic, majestic mountains, the LeFlore County town of Talihina and its surrounding environs have long been noted as among the most beautiful spots in Oklahoma.

Spring and the return of colorful vegetation generally bring people to the area, as does the spectacular fall foliage. But come this April, the area is expected to draw visitors who’ll be turning not so much to the mosaic of scenery, but to the skies.

A solar eclipse will take place on April 8, and southeastern Oklahoma is considered by astronomers and scientists to be one of the prime viewing areas.

Visitors are expected to flock to the area, and especially the famed Talimena National Scenic Byway, to take advantage of its 22 lookout points – and while there, to take in the panorama that nature offers.

Photos courtesy Oklahoma Tourism & Recreation

Chase Horn, communications director for Oklahoma’s Tourism Department and State Parks, says Talimena State Park, seven miles north of Talihina, is one of three state parks in southeastern Oklahoma where the eclipse will be total. This means that in the Talihina area, the sun will be in total eclipse for about a minute and a half.

“This is a great opportunity to experience something so cool,” says Horn.

Located seven miles north of Talihina, the park offers ten RV hookups and ten tent pads.

Horn says officials are working with local law enforcement and federal forestry officials to make sure people not acclimated to camping can view the eclipse safely. The park also offers pavilions, comfort stations and showers, and Horn says that as the eclipse nears, campsites will go fast. Reservations can be made through the department’s website – 

The park is at the eastern entrance to the Talimena National Scenic Byway – 54 miles of mountain beauty from Talihina to Mena, Ark. Horn says the park represents “a great area to get away from everything. There’s not much cell phone reception, which in this day and age is a good thing.”

Braden Davis, park manager, says the park is becoming better known, judging by the increasing occupancy rate. Fall is busiest, but this year might be the exception due to the eclipse.

Talihina, with a population of just over 1,000 residents, lies between the Winding Stair and Kiamichi mountains. The town was established in 1884, and according to the Oklahoma Historical Society, grew with the coming of the Frisco Railway.

By 1920, Talihina sported two banks, three churches, seven general stores and two sawmill operations. The name is a contraction of two Choctaw words that mean “iron road,” according to the Historical Society.

When not focused on the naturally scenic setting, Talihina is an inviting city in and of itself. According to the Talihina Chamber of Commerce, the area is a “city on the move” while still encompassing the small-town feel.

Outdoor sports and tourism have long been economically important to Talihina. Activities available include hiking, mountain biking and four-wheeler riding, camping and boating, hunting and fishing, and horseback riding – all with spectacular photograph opportunities.

For More Information: 

Talihina Chamber of Commerce

Town of Talihina

Ouachita National Forest

Talimena State Park

Talimena Scenic Drive Association

Previous articleScene
Next articleStaying Prepared