Robbers Cave State Park

Useful Information

Location: SE Oklahoma, 8 km north Wilburton on State Hwy 2. I-40, US Hwy 69 south to 270 east, before Wilburton go north on SH 2 to the park entrance.
Open: No restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: Speleologyerosional cave sandston cave
Light: bring torch
Guided tours:
Bibliography: Muzafer Sherif (1954): The Robbers Cave Experiment,
Address: Robbers Cave State Park, Hwy 2 N, P.O. Box 9, Wilburton, OK 74578, Tel: +1-918-465-2565, Free: 800-654-8240, Fax: +1-918-465-5763. E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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1926 Camp Tom Hale developed by Carlton Weaver, founder of the park.
1932 Highway 2 was built, making Camp Tom Hale more accessible.
1935 state park established and main buildings built.
1954 Robbers Cave Experiment by Muzafer Sherif.


The area around Robbers Cave was once the home of Caddo and Osage Indians. They traded with the French fur trappers that began making their way through the area. During the Civil War, some legends about outlaws in a robber's cave were told. The cave was a hideout for deserters from both, Union and Confederate forces.

After the war, guerilla bands and gangs of robbers used it as meeting point. Along nearby Fourche Maline river ran the so called Robber's Trail. The location of the cave lies hidden in a formation of sandstone hills and very close to the Texas and California Roads and the old Butterfield Stage Line. Theis geography made it an ideal outlaw hideout for legends like the Youngers, Frank and Jesse James. Belle Starr had a cabin 30 km to the north.

The cave has several usefull features for outlaws:

There is a second reason, why Robbers Cave is famous. However, this has nothing to do with the cave. The park was the location of a classic psychological study by Muzafer Sherif and his wife. As a part of research program at the University of Oklahoma, a large-scale Intergroup Relations Project was established.