Named for Melvin W. Mills, an 1880's politician and businessman, Mills Canyon is the site of the homestead he established and developed into a successful fruit and vegetable empire that was ten miles long and fed by irrigation channels and cisterns. Mills planted hundreds of acres of fruit orchards and vegetable gardens which held over 14,000 apple, peach, pear, cherry, plum, walnut, almond, and chestnut trees. Mills abandoned the canyon in 1916 after a flood plunged him into financial ruin. All that remains today is the ruins of his 2-story stone homestead, an adobe bunkhouse and amazingly even a few fruit trees.
The Canadian River which runs through the canyon is 900 miles long and one of the major drainages of the American Southwest. The river begins west in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains at the New Mexico-Colorado border and flows to the east to join the Arkansas River southeast of Tulsa.
The road down into Mills Canyon is a beautiful and rugged descent down a 1000-foot gorge to the Canadian River Canyon bottom. A variety of wildlife including cliff-dwelling birds, Barbary sheep and even mountain lions can be seen. Whether you're coming to fish the river, camp, hike, horse back ride, bouldering, or just take in the spectacular views it's a rough, rocky and difficult road but well worth the journey.
Visit beautiful Mills Canyon
Mills Canyon Rim offers 7 camp sites which are suitable for visitors with horse trailers and three small horse corrals as well as a rest-room facility. Each campsite has a parking spur, table, tent pad, fire ring and grill. Trash receptacles are not provided.
Mills Canyon features 12 camp sites in the canyon. The road is maintained to a level 2 standard for high clearance vehicles. A four-wheel drive vehicle is recommended during inclement weather. Vehicles pulling trailers cannot negotiate the sharp turns along the portion of the road descending into the canyon, and are not allowed. Trash must be hauled out.