OKHighways - State Highways
<-- OK 48A | OK 49 | OK 50 -->
In 1950, OK 49 followed today's route of OK 115 from U.S. 62 in Cache north to where unsigned OK 49 heads to the east, then OK 49 followed its present-day route to U.S. 62/U.S. 277/U.S. 281. OK 115 had not been built yet. The part of present-day OK 49 from OK 54 to OK 115 was not built yet, and sometime between 1950 and 1960, OK 115 was built as far south as OK 49. OK 115's southern terminus was at unsigned OK 49 inside the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. (OK 49 and OK 115 are unsigned inside the wildlife refuge)
By 1970, OK 115 had been extended south to its present-day southern terminus at U.S. 62 in Cache, and OK 49 had been built between OK 54 and unsigned OK 115, so OK 49 was signed along this then-new roadway. This moved OK 49's western terminus to OK 54, where it still is today. OK 49's eastern terminus was at a divided at-grade U.S. 62/U.S. 277/U.S. 281 one mile south of the southwestern terminus of the H.E. Bailey Turnpike's northern section.
Within the next decade, an interchange was built at the junction of U.S. 62/U.S. 277/U.S. 281 at OK 49, and in 1982, Interstate 44 was extended southwestward from its old western terminus in northeast Oklahoma City, through Lawton, to Wichita Falls, Texas. Today, OK 49's eastern terminus is at Interstate 44/U.S. 62/U.S. 277/U.S. 281.
OK 49 is a rather scenic and interesting state highway. It isn't even signed for part of it! The first few miles of the highway has a 55 mph speed limit, and then after two 90-degree curves, OK 49 all of a sudden loses its highway signage! That is because it enters the Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge, and the speed limit falls to 45 (35 at night) as well. There are several curves on this stretch of highway, and yes it is very possible that you will see buffalo, longhorns, and other wildlife right by the highway, maybe even crossing the highway! (Personal story: The first time I went through there was in October 2002 at about 7 pm in so it was almost dark. When I entered the wildlife refuge, there were three buffalo standing right by the highway! And later, near the unsigned intersection of OK 49 and OK 115, I almost ran into a longhorn, I think, that was crossing the highway, and there were a few more right next to it! So please be aware of the wildlife when driving through there. Of course, it didn't help any that my headlights went out and I didn't quite know it yet either! :) )
Back to the highway, OK 49 heads south and turns into OK 115. OK 49 traffic must turn off to the east, but of course, the highways are unsigned, so follow the sign that says I-44 and Lawton and that is the route of OK 49. Follow the sign that says Cache and you'll be on OK 115 South. A few miles east of OK 115, OK 49 leaves the wildlife refuge and gains its signage back. It skirts the southern side of Medicine Park and intersects OK 58 just east of there. The final few miles of OK 49 are just north of Fort Sill, and then at Interstate 44, OK 49 finds its eastern end after some of the most interesting 30 miles you'll ever see on an Oklahoma state highway.
Distance: 30.0 miles
Counties traveled through: Kiowa, Comanche
Cities traveled through: Medicine Park
Highway intersections: OK 54 (Mile 0.0), OK 115 (Mile 15.2), OK 115 (Mile 18.5), OK 58 (Mile 26.0), Interstate 44/U.S. 62/U.S. 277/U.S. 281 (Mile 30.0)
Highway duplexes: OK 115 (Miles 15.2-18.5, 3.3 miles)
|"END OK 49" signage as OK 49 West comes to an
end at OK 54, with another beautiful Oklahoma
sunset in the background. (Photo taken 10/11/02)
|OK 54 North at OK 49 East. (Photo taken 10/11/02)|
|First OK 49 East assurance shield just east of OK
54. The Wichita Mountains and the wildlife refuge
are just ahead. (Photo taken 10/11/02)
OTHER HIGHWAY PICTURES
Unsigned OK 49 East/OK 115 North at
Rush Lake/Holy City inside the Wichita Mountains
Wildlife Refuge. Neither OK 49 nor OK 115 are
signed inside the refuge. (Photo taken 5/12/04)
Unsigned OK 49 East/OK 115 North at
North. (Photo taken 5/12/04)
49 West at OK 58 North near Medicine
southern OK 58 goes through just two towns,
Carnegie and Hydro, along its 73 miles. (Photo taken
Interstate 44/U.S. 62/U.S. 277/U.S. 281, east of Medicine Park
|"END OK 49" sign just east of
Interstate 44 as OK 49
East concludes. (Photo taken 12/11/03)
East at Interstate 44 and U.S. 62 West and
U.S. 277 and U.S. 281 South. (Top photo taken
12/11/03, bottom photo taken 9/20/05)
|OK 49 East approaching Interstate
East and U.S. 277/U.S. 281 North. (Photo taken
|Use U.S. 62 East and U.S. 281
North to Apache.
Follow U.S. 277 North (or Interstate 44 East) to
Elgin. (Photo taken 9/20/05)
East at Interstate 44/U.S. 62 East/U.S. 277/U.S.
281 North. The "END" sign is located on the other side
of this intersection. (Top photo taken 12/11/03, bottom
photo taken 9/20/05)
West at Interstate 44/U.S. 62 East/U.S. 277/
U.S. 281 North. Both the Interstate 44 and U.S. 277
shields are missing from the sign assembly. (Photo
|OK 49 West approaching Interstate
44/U.S. 62 West
and U.S. 277/U.S. 281 South. Lawton is six miles to
the south. (Photo taken 9/20/05)
|OK 49 West at Interstate 44/U.S.
62 West and
U.S. 277/U.S. 281 South. During 2002 and 2003,
OK 49 was rebuilt and widened between OK 58 and
Interstate 44. (Photo taken 9/20/05)
|Interstate 44 and U.S. 62 East and
U.S. 277 and
U.S. 281 North approaching Exit 45 - OK 49 - 1 mile.
(Photo taken 9/20/05)
|Use OK 49 West to the Wichita
Refuge and to the Holy City of the Wichita Mountains.
(Photo taken 9/20/05)
|Interstate 44/U.S. 62 West/U.S. 277/U.S. 281 South
at Exit 45 - OK 49 - Medicine Park/Carnegie.
Carnegie is actually located off OK 58, 31 miles north
of OK 49. (Top photo taken 10/11/02, bottom photo
|View at the end of the eastbound
Exit 45 off-ramp to
OK 49, which begins just to the left. (Photo taken
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