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Tom Steed Lake lies on West Otter Creek, nestled in the heart of the Great Plains Country, north of the Oklahoma-Texas border. Boasting 31 miles of shoreline and 6,400 surface acres, the Mountain Park Dam and lake were created to provide municipal and industrial water to the cities of Snyder, Altus, and Frederick, as well as the Hackberry Flat Wildlife Management Area.
Administered by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Tom Steed Lake is the main feature of the Mountain Park Project. Most of the recreation areas around the reservoir are open to the public, and more than 6,100 acres are managed by the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department.
Promising some of the best fishing in the southwest, Tom Steed Lake is stocked with catfish, crappie, hybrid striped bass, largemouth bass, and saugeye. Several boat ramps and camping facilities are located along the shoreline and in Great Plains State Park, which is located on Tom Steed Reservoir, west of the Wichita Mountains. For a scenic drive, follow Highway 183 as it winds through the mountains along Tom Steed Lake's shoreline to the state park.
Activities in Great Plains State Park include boating, water skiing, jet skiing, fishing, swimming, camping, hiking, and picnicking. There are RV hookups, primitive campsites, showers, a dump station, bait shop, lighted boat ramps, and docks available. For exercise and great views, take the short 1.5-mile nature hike that offers views of old Snyder Lake and the dam on Tom Steed Lake. Wildlife viewing and bird watching are both popular on the trail.
Additionally, Tom Steed Lake at Mountain Park also offers a swimming beach, swim showers, boat ramps, and picnic areas. Hunting is allowed in Mountain Park area. but you must follow all Oklahoma hunting regulations.
West and north of Tom Steed Lake are 5,150 acres set aside by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. As more food and cover develop in the area, wildlife has been moving in and becoming more plentiful over the years. To help with habitat renewal, there is currently an extensive tree and shrub planting program going on in the wildlife area.
To the east of Tom Steed Lake, the Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge is home to large herds of buffalo, longhorn cattle, elk, and smaller groups of protected species. You can camp, fish, hunt, and hike at the refuge. Established in 1901 by the Fish and Wildlife Department, the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge is home to American bison, Rocky Mountian elk, and white-tailed deer. More than 50 mammal and 240 bird species call the refuge home offering ample opportunity for wildlife viewing and photography.
For a less outdoorsy activity, visit the towns close to Tom Steed Lake, which include Lawton, Altus, Duke, Snyder, Blair, and Tipton. Altus is home to the Altus Air Force Base. Limited vacation rentals are available close to Tom Steed Lake.
Located in the Oklahoma plains terrain of agricultural crops and native shortgrass, Tom Steed Lake has a view of the sharply contrasting Wichita Mountains made up of stark granite outcroppings. The mountains, prominently visible from the lake, provide the perfect backdrop to the beautiful body of water. Adding to the stunning views, docks, boat launches, beaches, and picnic areas make Tom Steed Lake everything anyone could ask for.
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