The Washita River rises in north Texas and flows east for thirty-five miles to enter Roger Mills County
. From the state line the stream flows southeast for 260 miles emptying into Lake Texoma
and the Red River
in Johnston County
As the stream was a favorite campground for nomadic tribes, the upper Washita was the scene of much military activity during the sporadic Indian wars; Col. George A. Custer's attack on Black Kettle's village, known as the "Battle of the Washita", occurred near present-day Cheyenne, on November 27, 1868. The Indian siege of Capt. Wyllys Lyman's wagon train took place near the Washita in Hemphill County, Texas, on September 9-14, 1874.
Hide hunters frequented the upper Washita, as did early ranchers, for whom the stream was a favorite place to water their herds.