Wichita Falls’ 54-foot-high waterfall off Interstate 44 and accessible through Lucy Park. (Photo courtesy of the Wichita Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau)

Calling all brave fitness enthusiasts – the 35th annual Hotter’N Hell Hundred, one of the longest single-day bicycle rides in the world, returns to Wichita Falls on Saturday, Aug. 27. For those not inclined to participate in the 100-mile ride under Texas’ summer heat conditions, there are still plenty of ways to take in the city.

The Start Line

In 1982, the Wichita Falls Bicycle Club proposed this enduring bike ride to celebrate the city’s centennial. The 100-mile race in 100-degree heat to celebrate the city’s 100th year was easily named Hotter’N Hell Hundred. With more than 13,000 participants in 2015, the Hotter’N Hell Hundred draws participants to Wichita Falls from across the globe.

If you’re spending the day waiting for a Hotter’N Hell cyclist to conclude the six to nine hour ride, or you’re just interested in visiting the city, here’s a few Wichita Falls options that’ll have you coming out a winner.

Lake Arrowhead State Park

For those who aren’t quite ready to trek 100 miles, the Lake Arrowhead State Park offers some shorter trails: five miles of trails stretch across 300 acres of preserved land. Activities such as fishing, skiing, or boating are available as well. The park is also perfect for those who wish to go for a peaceful walk, have a picnic, or take a refreshing swim in the lake. Call 512/389-8900.

Castaway Cove Waterpark

Beat the summer heat and float the day away at Castaway Cove. The waterpark features a lazy river, multiple waterslides, and other attractions. The pirate themed park is open all summer with seven different attractions perfect for the whole family. For more information: call 940/322-5500.

Wichita Falls Waterfall

In the mid-1800s, the city was named after a waterfall located on the Wichita River. A flood swept through the area and demolished it in 1886, causing disappointment to many visitors for the next century. To replace the original, the town decided to build a new, artificial 54-foot-high waterfall, which is visible going south on Interstate 44 and accessible through Lucy Park (100 Sunset Drive).

River Bend Nature Center

The environmental learning center features trails and gardens, a butterfly and nature conservatory, and a wetland pond to explore nature and animal life. Open Mon. – Fri. 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., and Sun. noon – 4 p.m. Call 940/767-0843 for more information and admission fees.

Wee-Chi-Tah Sculpture

Located on the banks of the Wichita River stands a sculpture of a Comanche woman and her family. Sculpted by Jack Stevens, the life-sized monument depicts the woman testing the depths of the Wichita (“waist-deep”) River as her and her family attempt to cross it. Located near the Front Street Bridge in the 500 block of Wichita Street.

Kemp Center for the Arts

The Kemp Center features five on-site indoor galleries, along with one constantly evolving outdoor gallery, “Art on the Green.” View the permanent and changing sculptures free of charge Mon. – Fri. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sat. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Contact 940/767-2787 for tour information.

Kell House Museum

For those who prefer more historical sightseeing, learn about the history of Wichita Falls and one of the town’s founding fathers, Frank Kell, in the home he built in 1896. The home, now a public museum, contains remaining artifacts and furnishings along with rotating exhibits, which is one of the most architecturally significant homes in area. For more information call 940/723-2712.

The Littlest Skyscraper

Legend has it that the architect proposed the plans of this building in square inches rather than square feet. This architects attempt of fraud was successful as the building was completed in 1919. The “skyscraper” is 10-foot wide, 18-foot deep, and 30-foot tall and located on 511 Seventh St. at LaSalle.

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