Lake Elmer Thomas Recreation Area (Fort Sill) – Lawton, OK

Lake Elmer Thomas Recreation Area, ((LETRA) the military loves its acronyms), lays at the base of Mt. Scott on Fort Sill. With close proximity to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge and Medicine Park, it makes a great location to stay when visiting the area.

This is a military recreation area and you will need to have military affiliation and DOD access, or get a visitor pass, to get on base and stay at this campground.

  • IMPORTANT: If you do not have a DOD issued ID card, you will need to get a visitor’s pass for Ft. Sill at Bentley Gate on Sheridan Road. For more info, click here!

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The campground has 45 full hook-up pull-through sites with 30 & 50 amp service. They also have cabins for rent. Sites can accommodate RVs up to 65 ft. There is a dump station on-site and it has a bathroom/shower/laundry facility open year round.

LETRA features a 360-acre no-wake lake with year-round camping availability, cabins, and summer recreational activities. Facilities include a boat ramp, picnic areas, beaches and swimming areas. Visitors will enjoy a wide range of activities including fishing, hiking, biking, mini-golf, bird watching, archery, and volleyball.

Location and Getting There

7463 Deer Creek Canyon Rd
Lawton, OK 73503

Located on Fort Sill Army Base in Lawton, Oklahoma. LETRA is 12 miles NW of the main post. Follow I-44 to the Medicine Park exit #45. Follow Hwy-49 to the Apache Gate Entrance (signs on Hwy-49 state Truck Traffic – Ft. Sill). However, this gate is not open 24 hours. Go to the MP check station. Once thru MP check station turn to the right and follow North Boundary Rd for 8 miles to Lake Elmer Thomas Recreation Area.

NOTE: Do Not Follow GPS instructions to LETRA. We did and the route it took us was the wrong way! It took us to a road that crosses the dam to get to the campsite. There is a closed gate there, but even if it was open we couldn’t have made the turn to cross the dam in our 38-foot motorhome with Jeep toad. We had to unhook our toad to turn around and head back to the Apache Gate.

Gate Hours

Apache Gate Hours:

Monday – Friday: 5 am – 7 pm
Saturday: 6 am – 2 pm
Sundays and Holidays: CLOSED

Gates open 24 hours:

  • Bentley Gate (Sheridan Road)
  • Key Gate

Other Ft. Sill Gate Hours:
Click here for info

Price

RV Camping Prices are Daily $35.00/night, Weekly $130.00/week, and Monthly $415.00/31 nights.

The rustic, wooden cabins are available in three sizes: small ($80/night), medium ($90/night), and large ($100/night). Cabins come equipped with furnishings, heat and air, a TV, a DVD player, and kitchen supplies. Linens are not included.

Reservations

To book your reservations Click Here.

Check In: 3:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Check Out: 11:00 AM

If Check-In is anticipated to be after 6:00 pm, contact 580-442-5858 during normal business hours, prior to arrival.  If after normal business hours, or on a day the General Store is closed (Monday & Tuesday) please contact  580-583-0670, Camp Host for assistance.

Our Review

It’s a nice enough campground. Gravel full hook-up sites with 30 & 50 amp service with a bit of grass. LETRA is a fantastic recreation area. Plenty to do for the entire family. The location isn’t too convenient for shopping and the main post, but this makes it ideal for a recreation area. We stayed at Lake Elmer Thomas Recreation Area in the middle of March 2022 so not everything was open for the summer season yet.

The campground hosts were very nice, friendly, and helpful.

One thing bringing this park down is allowing so many full-time residents. The full-time trailers in the back of the campground have way too much junk around them making the place look more like a trailer park with trailer trash than a Recreation Area. Our dog Ruby was attacked by a dog while we were on a walk. One of the full-time residents had a fence kennel that the door was left open for the dog to run through. Looking at other reviews this seems to be an issue here.

This campground/recreation area is on an active Army base and is the primary base for artillery training. You may see and hear the Army firing artillery throughout the day or night.

The main post has everything you need including a nice Exchange and Commissary.

We didn’t go to it since we were visiting with my niece but there is also the U.S. Army Field Artillery Museum on base. Just checking the outside area they have a lot of Artillery systems.

After spending the winter in Texas hoping to see armadillos we finally saw two of them on the first day we were on Fort Sill. We also saw quite a few deer and ducks.

Facility Amenities

  • ADA Compliant
  • Camp Store
  • Campsites
  • Credit Cards Accepted
  • Dump Station
  • Elec. 30 Amp
  • Elec. 50 Amp
  • Full Hookups
  • Pull Thru Sites
  • Gift Shop
  • Grills
  • Handicapped Parking
  • Laundry ($1 wash $1 dry)
  • Meeting Space Available
  • Outdoor Grills
  • Pets Allowed
  • Picnic Area
  • Playground
  • Lake/River View
  • Restaurant on site
  • Restrooms
  • Showers
  • Swim Beach
  • Water Hookup

Things to see/do nearby

Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge – On the North Side of Fort Sill lays Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. Encompassing 59,020 acres and protects one of the last remnants of the mixed-grass prairies in the country. This grassland provides a habitat for bison, elk, white-tailed deer, and a variety of other mammals, birds, and reptiles.

We went to the top of Mt. Scott and also saw bison, longhorn cows, and prairie dogs during the visit.

The Holy City of the Wichitas – Home of North America’s longest continuously running Easter Pageant. The Prince of Peace has kept alive the true story of the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ since 1926. The outdoor pageant is held annually on Palm Sunday Eve and Easter Eve. The Holy City of the Wichitas is located in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge.

Medicine Park – Situated in the Wichita Mountains near the entrance to the Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge. Medicine Park has a long history as a vintage cobblestone resort town. Cute buildings made from cobblestone line the streets.

We had a great time checking out the aquarium in town where we saw them feed the electric eel. It was cool to see the lights they have attached to the tank light up when the eel energizes. We also took in a bluegrass festival that was happening over the weekend.

Closing

Lake Elmer Thomas Recreation Area is a great place to stay if visiting the Lawton area. It is a reasonably priced place to stay and one of the few places we’ve seen that allow civilians to access the base and base campground.

What interesting places have you been to and can recommend? We’re always looking for neat out-of-the-way places to put on our list of must-sees. Thank you for reading our article. If you have any comments or questions we’d love to hear from you below.

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