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sunset over Lake Thunderbird

Set within 1,874 spectacular acres, Lake Thunderbird State Park is one of Oklahoma’s premier state parks.

A haven for those who enjoy water based recreational activities, as well as a range of other outdoor pursuits, the park is the perfect spot to visit when you want a break from the fast pace of city life.

Although it is only half an hour’s drive from Oklahoma City, it is a veritable world away in terms of solitude, serenity and outstanding natural beauty.

It also has a fantastic selection of camping options for those who want to fully immerse themselves in it over the course of a few nights. So you do not have to visit it solely as a day trip destination.


Whether it be enjoying the lake, exploring the trails in the park, hunting, bird spotting or camping, this Oklahoma state park offers plenty of opportunities for those who enjoy fun, outdoor recreational activities.

Here is some more information about what you can do at Lake Thunderbird State Park.

Boating at Lake Thunderbird State Park

As you would expect the lake is the main drawcard at the park and presents plenty of opportunities to enjoy a range of water based activities.

This includes the likes of canoeing, kayaking and SUP, which you can also hire from the park.

At the park there are two marinas, and no less than nine boat launches, which make it easy for you to get in and out of the water.

Swimming at Lake Thunderbird State Park

Don’t forget to pack your swimming costume as there are two very lovely beaches you can take a dip at.

There is also a swimming area near the main Little Axe campground.

Fishing at Lake Thunderbird State Park

As well as boating and fishing, the park is also much loved by anglers, who come from all over to cast a line in its shimmering waters.

If you fish here, you will need an Oklahoma fishing state license. However, you will have plenty of opportunity to catch large-mouth bass, sockeye, crappie, channel catfish, white bass and sunfish.

You can either take a boat out into the middle of the lake, or make use of one of the fishing piers that are dotted around the park.

While fishing is excellent all year-round, you’ll probably catch your biggest hauls between the months of April to September, as this is when the fish tend to bite more.

Hiking at Lake Thunderbird State Park

Hiking and biking are very popular activities at the park, with many trails showcasing its gorgeous lake and surrounding wilderness.

A couple of the most popular trails include the Hog Creek Trail and the Indian Point trail. If you can, try and time your hike for sunset, as the colorful hues you will see are simply incredible.

Horseback Riding at Lake Thunderbird State Park

As well as hiking and biking, if you love horses you will also be able to traverse four miles of equestrian trails at the park.

Weaving around the shoreline of the lake, the trails possess 12 obstacles for those who want a more challenging ride.

Although the park is open all year round, this trail is not open on Monday or Tuesday. You will have to bring your own horse because you will not be able to hire one at the park.

Archery at Lake Thunderbird State Park

When you have had your fill of water based fun, why not head on over to the park’s onsite archery range?

Open all year round, the range is close to some of the park’s main hiking trails, so it is easy to reach on foot. You can have a go from a wide range of distances, which means it can accommodate all skill levels.

Unfortunately there are no equipment rentals available, so you will need to bring your own bow and target with you.

Hunting at Lake Thunderbird State Park

Hunting is a very popular activity at the park, which accommodates designated areas for archery deer hunting and waterfowl. This means you will be able to hunt there without being disturbed.

You will need an Oklahoma state hunting licence before you hunt in the park, and once there, you will have to abide solely by the hunting laws and remain exclusively within the hunting zones.

Birding at Lake Thunderbird State Park

For those who enjoy birdwatching, the park offers an abundance of opportunities to spot several different species.

This includes the likes of chickadees and titmice, as well as blue jays, Carolina wren, eastern bluebirds and American robin. All of which you should be able to spot year round.

During migration and the summer period, the likes of summer tanager, Baltimore oriole, indigo bunting, red-eyed vireo and blue-gray gnatcatcher can also be seen too. While bald eagles can be viewed between the months of December through to February.

Pets at Lake Thunderbird State Park

Pets are allowed in the park, although some restrictions may apply. So it is worth contacting the park’s main office to clarify what they are.

Camping at Lake Thunderbird State Park

For those looking for overnight camping accommodation, there are six separate campgrounds within Lake Thunderbird State Park.

Between them they offer over 200 RV sites that come with full hookups that include 30-amp to 50-amp electricity, water and sewage. Many of these are pull thru sites, but there are several other options that include primitive tent sites too.

The gated Little Axe Campground is the main campground. It is located near the water, and offers 56 sites, all of which have a grill, picnic table, and a fire pit. Reservations are essential here, and can be secured up to 11 months in advance.

At the other campgrounds you will find a range of amenities, this includes restrooms with hot showers and flush toilets, a dump station, playground, several picnic areas and a gift shop.
There is also a naturalist and park ranger on site too, as well as a seasonal restaurant.

Park Location

Lake Thunderbird State Park
13101 Alameda Dr
Norman, OK 73026
Phone: 405.360.3572




Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Lake Thunderbird State Park: