How to Visit the Lake Hefner Lighthouse at East Wharf, Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City, a bustling urban center known for its vibrant culture and rich history, is home to an unexpected but charming attraction: the Lake Hefner Lighthouse. This iconic structure, officially known as the Lighthouse at East Wharf, stands as a testament to the city’s unique blend of the traditional and the novel.

Historical Context and Construction

The Lake Hefner Lighthouse, constructed in 1999, is a relatively recent addition to the Oklahoma City landscape. This 40-foot tall structure, inspired by the Brant Point Lighthouse (the second oldest in the United States), serves as a striking symbol on the eastern shores of Lake Hefner​​​​.

The lake itself, spanning 2,500 acres, was established in the mid-1940s as a crucial water reservoir for Oklahoma City’s expanding population. Named after Robert A. Hefner, the city’s mayor from 1939 to 1947, Lake Hefner has since evolved into a major recreational hub, surrounded by multi-use trails and peppered with various amenities​​​​.

Architectural Significance

Despite its modern origins, the Lake Hefner Lighthouse is an operational lighthouse, recognized by the U.S. Coast Guard as a private aid to navigation. Its architecture features a hexagonal tower and an iso-phase red light that pulsates in a distinctive two-second off-on pattern.

Remarkably, the lighthouse was constructed using a “tilt-up” technique of its concrete panels, a testament to both its durability and the ingenuity of its design. This robust construction ensures its resilience even in the harsh winds of Tornado Alley​​​​.

Visiting the Lighthouse

Situated at the intersection of Lake Hefner Parkway and Britton Road, the Lighthouse at East Wharf is easily accessible and offers a plethora of activities for visitors. The area boasts free parking, and the lighthouse itself is an Instagrammable spot, perfect for both casual visits and professional photo shoots.

While entry into the lighthouse is not permitted, its surroundings offer a picturesque setting for a leisurely stroll or a sunset viewing, as the lighthouse is particularly famous for its stunning sunsets​​​​​​.

Dining and Recreation

The vicinity of Lake Hefner Lighthouse is home to several dining options, including Louie’s Grill and Bar, Redrock Canyon Grill, Mama Roja Mexican Kitchen, and Hefner Grill, offering delightful views of the lighthouse and the lake. For those interested in recreational activities, Lake Hefner provides opportunities for fishing, kayaking, paddle boarding, and sailing.

Notably, swimming is prohibited in the lake. The area also features a 9.8-mile paved multi-use trail for biking, walking, skateboarding, and rollerblading. Nearby attractions include Stars & Stripes Park, Bluff Creek Park, and the Lake Hefner Golf Club​​.

Environmental and Community Impact

Lake Hefner, including its lighthouse, has become a beloved part of the Oklahoma City community. The lake supports a variety of gamefish species and is a popular destination for recreational boating and kiteboarding, attracting residents and tourists alike.

The lighthouse’s presence has transformed the lake into a scenic and recreational landmark, contributing to the city’s cultural and environmental landscape​​.


The Lake Hefner Lighthouse at East Wharf is more than just a beacon; it’s a symbol of Oklahoma City’s innovative spirit and commitment to community recreation and beauty. Whether for a relaxing afternoon, a photography session, or a casual meal with a view, the lighthouse and its surrounding amenities offer a unique experience in the heart of Oklahoma City.

This lighthouse, standing tall and proud in a landlocked state, serves as a reminder of the city’s ability to blend the unexpected with the traditional, creating a destination that is both intriguing and inviting.