In New Mexico the river is known as the Dry Cimarron River. The river is not completely dry but sometimes disappears entirely under the sand in the river bed. The Dry Cimarron Scenic Byway follows the river from Folsom to the Oklahoma border. In Oklahoma the river flows along the southern edges of Black Mesa, the highest point in that state. As it first crosses the Kansas border, the river flows through the Cimarron National Grassland.
Historical notes of interest
Historically, the Santa Fe Trail branched southward from the Arkansas to the Cimarron. One branch was known as the Cimarron Cutoff, and another, the Aubry Cutoff. The lack of water along the Cimarron Cutoff route from the Arkansas to the Cimarron led American traders and travelers to call the area the "Cimarron Desert". Mexican traders called it the "Jornada del Muerte" (Journey of Death).
In 1831 Commanche Indians killed Jedediah Smith (a famous hunter, trapper, and explorer) on the Santa Fe Trail near the Cimarron River. His body was never recovered.
In 1834 General Henry Leavenworth established Camp Arbuckle (Fort Arbuckle) at the mouth of the Cimarron River.
Historic sites along the river include the ruins of Camp Nichols, a stone fort built by Kit Carson in 1865 to protect travelers from Indian raiders on the Cimarron Cutoff. It was located near present day town of Wheeless, Oklahoma.
The old Chisholm Trail crossed the river at Red Fork Station near present day Dover, Oklahoma.