The Stinchcomb is one of OKC's hidden gems. Once you paddle back into the refuge, the city slips away and you are treated to tons of migratory birds, good fishing, ancient trees, and even a few sandy beaches. The out-and-back paddle from the historic Rt. 66 bridge is the most popular paddling spot in the city for good reason! Keep an eye out for bald eagles.

The Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge is a nature and wildlife preserve on the west side of OKC that surrounds a section of the North Canadian River. The main put-in and take-out for kayaks is located on 39th and Lake Overholser Drive at the Route 66 bridge parking area in Bethany, OK. There is plenty of parking and a gravel boat ramp. There is usually a SUP rental truck as well as a Boathouse a few blocks south that rents out kayaks. From the put-in, paddle south under the bridge, then follow the wide part of the river a few blocks west before the river turns back north away from the highway. This is where the scenic part of the river begins. You can paddle up river for as far as you want before turning around. Accessibility will be effected if the water levels are low. So, the best times to go are spring and after a good rain. There are some tall grass areas to paddle into directly north of the bridge at the beginning. They are really neat, but dead end pretty quickly. Be sure to buy a fishing permit/license and have an annual lake permit if you need one! 

Pack List

  • Kayak, SUP, Canoe
  • Fishing Gear
  • Life Jacket
  • Sunscreen
  • Water
  • Hat
  • Paddle
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Activities Stand Up Paddle, Canoeing, Chillin, Fishing, Photography, Kayaking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby
Picnic Area


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Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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