Robbers Cave State Park - Wilburton, Oklahoma
Robbers Cave State Park
Located in the Sans Bois
Mountains of Oklahoma, the
park
preserves thousands of
acres of
beautiful scenery.
Entrance to Robbers Cave
A trail leads up a steep bluff to
the origina
l Robbers Cave.
The view of the mountains
from the top is phenomenal.
Robbers Cave State Park
In addition to its historic sites,
the park offers lakes, hiking
trails, a lodge, campgrounds,
picnic areas and more.
Robbers Cave State Park - Wilburton, Oklahoma
Robbers Cave State Park
This unique cave in Oklahoma's Sans Bois
Mouuntains gives the park its name.
Carvings inside
date from the days of the Old West outlaws.
Wild West History in Oklahoma
Robbers Cave State Park preserves some of
the most unique and beautiful scenery in the
South. The park is located in the Sans Bois
Mountains near Wilburton,
Oklahoma.

Archaeologists believe this area of
Oklahoma has been inhabited for thousands
of years. In prehistoric times, as today, the
Robbers Cave area was rich in wildlife and
natural food supplies. Deer, bear, squirrel
and other wildlife abounded in the region, as
did nuts, berries and edible plants. As a
result, the area was frequented by early
Native Americans who came here in search
of food.

By around 900 A.D., the people living in the
Robbers Cave area came under the
influence of the dominant Native American
religious and ceremonial center at
Spiro
Mounds
. For hundreds of years the leaders
of the Spiro culture wielded vast influence
throughout Oklahoma and adjoining states.

The Spiro culture eventually declined,
however, and by the 1600s the Robbers
Cave area was used primarily as a hunting
ground by the Osage and Caddoan tribes.
French fur trappers undoubtedly passed
through the area, as is evidenced by the
continuing use of so many French names in
the region today. Some examples include the
Sans Bois Mountains and the Poteau River.

The real "claim to fame" for Robbers Cave,
though, is as a legendary hideout for
infamous Old West outlaws. Among the
names commonly associated with the cave
in local legend are those of Jesse James
and Belle Starr.

Of the two, Starr can most closely be
associated with the cave
area. Constantly
involved in nefarious dealings, she was
married into a family of Indian Territory
outlaws. It is known that for a time she lived
in a cabin about twenty miles north of
Robbers Cave and is generally accepted that
she associated with and often welcomed
some of the area's most notorious outlaws
into her home.


These outlaws were constantly battled and
pursued by deputy marshals from the U.S.
District Court in
Fort Smith. They used
hideouts similar to Robbers Cave on
numerous occasions and it is reasonable
that local tradition associating the cave with
"robbers" is probably true.

The other name commonly associated with
Robbers Cave is that of Jesse James. The
acknowledged leader of the James-Younger
Gang, James and his associates operated
across territory stretching from Arkansas to
Minnesota.


Whether he actually used Robbers Cave is
impossible to determine, but he did operate
a few times in the general area. His most
notorious crime in the region was a
major
stagecoach robbery near
Hot Springs,
Arkansas
.
Copyright 2010 & 2014 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.


Last Updated: May 1, 2014
Trace of a Gunfighter?
Carvings found in the cave
may have been left behind by
the Old West outlaws who
used it as a hideout.
The legends are lingering reminders of the
terror inflicted on the inhabitants of the Indian
Territory (today's Oklahoma) by outlaw gangs
during the years after the Civil War. Although
the scenery differs from many Hollywood
depictions, this was the real "True Grit"
territory of
"Hanging Judge" Isaac C. Parker
and the Deputy Marshals of Fort Smith.

Robbers Cave became a state park in 1935
through the efforts of Carlton Weaver, a state
legislator from nearby Wilburton. He so loved
the region that he devoted key years of his life
to the creation of the park leaving only the
request that he be buried
there. His grave is
near the park entrance off State Highway 2.


In addition to its namesake cave and unique
history, Robbers Cave State Park also
protects thousands of acres of beautiful
Sans Bois Mountain country. Park amenities
include camping areas, a restaurant, lakes, a
nature center
, picnic areas and miles of
hiking
and equestrian trails.

Please click here for information on the
park's trail system
.

In addition to campsites, the park offers 26
cabins. Hotel rooms are available at its 20-
room Belle Starr View Lodge.

Please click here to reserve a room or cabin
online
.

Robbers Cave State Park is located on State
Highway 2 five miles north of Wilburton. The
address is 2300 Park Cabins Road,
Wilburton, Oklahoma 74578.

Please click here to visit the official website
for more information
.
Custom Search
Great Places in Oklahoma