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The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture

Kiamichi Lake
(21412.M1418.2, Z. P. Meyers/Barney Hillerman Photographic Collection, OHS).

Seminole hunting party in the Kiamichi Mountains
(21504.AL.1.l5.r.1, Roy J. Morgan Collection, OHS).


Southeastern Oklahoma is known for its scenery, and one of its most picturesque areas is the Kiamichi Mountains, located primarily in Pushmataha, McCurtain, and Le Flore counties. With elevations reaching 2,500 feet above sea level, this range lies in a frontal belt of the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas and Oklahoma. The Kiamichi River, the mountains' major water system, flows through the range's northern edge. Clayton Lake serves as the nearest dominant water surface. The mountains are surrounded by a geological formation referred to as the Kiamichi Formation.

In the 1830s, when the U.S. government removed the southeastern American Indian tribes to the West, the Choctaw Nation's land included the Kiamichi Mountains area. The Choctaw established a tribal government in this region and located the Choctaw Council House in Tuskahoma, near the Kiamichis in present Pushmataha County.

The Kiamichi Mountains area is recognized for its refreshing natural springs and abundant wildlife. Therefore, at the beginning of the twenty-first century recreational and outdoor activities, such as campgrounds and hiking trails, dominated area land usage. Although the tourism industry is a substantial contributor to the local economy, the areas surrounding the mountains sustain agriculture and provide an additional economic base. As the area receives 62.3 inches of precipitation each year, wheat comprises the major crop.

Kevin J. Ware and Richard A. Marston


Leon Virgil Davis, Geology and Ground-Water Resources of Southern McCurtain County, Oklahoma, Oklahoma Geological Society Bulletin 86 (Norman: Oklahoma Geological Survey, 1960).

Kenneth S. Johnson, "Mountains, Streams, and Lakes of Oklahoma," Oklahoma Geological Survey Informational Series No. 1 (Norman: Oklahoma Geological Survey, 1998).

Kenneth S. Johnson et al., Geology and Earth Resources of Oklahoma: An Atlas of Maps and Cross Sections (Norman: Oklahoma Geological Survey, 1972).

John W. Morris, Oklahoma Geography (Oklahoma City–Chattanooga: Harlow Publishing Corporation, 1954).

John W. Morris, Charles R. Goins, and Edwin C. McReynolds, Historical Atlas of Oklahoma (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1986).

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The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Kevin J. Ware and Richard A. Marston, “Kiamichi Mountains,” The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry?entry=KI002.

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