Located in a beautiful canyon, this park offers 4 great interconnected day hikes - plenty of activities to enjoy over the weekend or a day visit.

Roman Nose State Park is a great weekend getaway that offers plenty of activities for the outdoor enthusiast. There are 4 interconnected trails that are easily accessible. I recommend taking the Lake Loop Trail to the Mesa Loop Trail. This route will take you to Inspiration Point where you will have a great view of the canyon and lake.

Start at the Lake Loop trail head on the northwest side of Lake Watonga. You can park your car in the Cedar Cove parking lot, just east of the trailhead. The trail is easy to follow as you curve around the west side of the lake. You will soon end up on the northeast side of the lake where you will cross a narrow strip of land. From this point you just follow the trail along the side of Lake Watonga. On the far east side of the lake you can turn around or continue on to the Mesa Loop Trail.

The Mesa Loop Trail starts on the southeast side of the dam. You will curve around the east side of the mesa where you can enjoy a small rock garden. The trail quickly heads back north and you will soon be at the top of the canyon - this area is known as Inspiration Point and is a perfect spot for lunch or to chill and wait for a beautiful sunset.

Once you are ready to leave you will go down on the west side of the mesa and then head south. The trail will take you east, then you will curve around heading west for about a quarter of a mile and then back north heading towards the Lake Loop Trail. If you wish to extend your hike, you can continue south to the the Switchback Trail instead of going west to head towards the Lake Loop Trail. Most of the trail winds through a somewhat rocky area and there are numerous cacti along the path so watch your step.

The trails aren't very well marked, but it is difficult to get lost because of the ease of visibility. Use Lake Watonga as your reference point if you aren't sure what part of the trail you are on. You can also grab a printed trail map at the lodge.

The park also offers several tent and RV sites if you want to stay for the weekend or you can check on the availability of rental teepee's that are located southwest of Lake Watonga.

Pack List

  • Daypack
  • Appropriate hiking boots
  • Water
  • Lunch
  • Camera
  • First-Aid kit (watch out for cacti)
  • If you plan on fishing you need a license
  • Bathing suit during warm months
Show More
RT Distance 2.8 Miles
Elevation Gain 154 Feet
Activities Chillin, Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Trail Type Loop
Features
Family Friendly
Lake
Scenic
Swimming Hole

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

1st Time Here

My wife and I decided we would start a new chapter in our life and take up hiking. We chose Roman Nose due to its close location. It was a great choice. It was not a hard hike but did come across some good hills to Cline. The trail to inspiration point is great for all ages. It’s a nice easy hike but you can go off on some other trails to make it longer. Talked to the Park Ranger and he said that there is still a lot of areas that haven’t been discovered out there. We will go back and go in some different areas.

Nice hike

We chose a hot day. Bring plenty of water as much of the trail is in the sun. Inspiration Point is certainly worth the trek and the short climb. Trails are not marked very well and terrain is rocky. We were on the trail that is supposedly shared with equestrians but I cannot imagine taking my horse out there without really good hoof protection, e.g., shoes and pads.

Getting Lost

My husband and I were hiking one of the trails, and had the map, but still couldn't quite figure out how to get back to our car. We brought water and gatorade, but I guess it was hotter than I expected. I got dehydrated and couldn't walk. The map had the ranger station number on it, so I called. They eventually came and "rescued" us. Gave me more water so I could walk out of the park with them and part of the way on a gator. They were very nice. They said it happens all the time. I asked why the trails were not marked better. They said people like it that way. More pristine or rugged. My comment is - hmm, more work for the rangers.


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