The Black Kettle National Grasslands protect 31,300 acres of grasslands and small lakes, and provides recreational venues for western Oklahoma and portions of Texas. The land has a rich Native American, westward expansion, and Great Depression history. After the devastation of the 1930s Dust Bowl, the area was purchased and rehabilitated by the federal government. In 1960 the area was designated a National Grassland.
At the Black Kettle Recreation Area visitors can hike, camp, and picnicking. In addition, Skipout Lake and Spring Creek Lake offer boat ramps, fishing, and swimming. Undeveloped sections of the grasslands are also open for exploration. Here nature watching and photography opportunities are plentiful and diverse. The grasslands are home to deer, turkey, beavers, bald eagles, and Monarch butterflies. Parts of the grasslands are open for hunting and are popular with quail, turkey, and deer hunters. The grasslands are also host to two commercial endeavors, cattle ranching and gas and oil drilling.
The town of Cheyenne, population 778, serves as a headquarters for exploration of Black Kettle National Grasslands. Museums, art galleries, and antique shops in the town, including the Black Kettle Museum, document the history of the region. The Washita Battlefield National Historic Site marks the site of an 1868 attack by George Custer and the U.S. Cavalry on Chief Black Kettle's Cheyenne village.
Black Kettle National Grasslands is 150 miles west of Oklahoma City. It is accessible via Interstate Highway 40 and U.S. Highway 283. Accommodations in Cheyene include motels, bed and breakfasts, and dude/guest ranches. More accommodations are available in Elk City, 28 miles southeast.