Woods county, named for Sam Wood, an influential Kansas political leader, is located in northwestern Oklahoma on the Kansas county line with Alva serving as the county seat. Alva, which had a post office as early as 1893, is named in honor of Alva Adams, an attorney with the railroad and later governor of Colorado.
Major waterways and recreation areas include the Cimarron River, which forms nearly the entire western/southern county line with Harper County, Woodward County and Major County and Little Sahara State Park, located on the river south of Waynoka. In addition, the Salt Fork of the Arkansas River rises near the Kansas border flowing southeast turning east near Alva.
County attractions include the Cherokee Strip Museum/Rose Hill School in Alva while advanced education can be found at Northwestern Oklahoma State University, also in Alva.
The county population on July 1, 1999, was 8,171, a decrease of 932 over the 1990 census.