Hiking in Oklahoma

by Kshaunish Jaini

One of the great states of the USA, Oklahoma is one of the leaders in the industrial, economic and cultural spaces in the country. Oklahoma City and Tulsa offer some of the best metropolitan experiences in America, while the diverse mix of of cultures and influences makes its art, culture and cuisine unique in the United States. It is located in the southern central parts of the USA, bordering Colorado and Kansas in the north and Texas in the south. It is flanked by Missouri and Arkansas in the east and New Mexico in the West. It has a diverse mix of terrains, from small mountain ranges to great lakes to the prairie vastland.

Due to its great geographical diversity and vast open spaces, Oklahoma is one of the best hiking destinations in the country. Here you will be able to experience the different flavours of the American outdoors, all in one state. Oklahoma offers hiking destinations that are suitable for all kinds of people - from day trips with your family to more advanced trails which require stamina and experience. The trails are located around diverse surroundings like canyons, lakes, grasslands and forests. The state also houses some of the best preserved national parks in the country, which are a pleasure to explore and interact with. Here are some of the best places to hike in Oklahoma. These spots are categorized according to the level of skill required to complete them, which is dependent upon various factors such as their length, unevenness of terrain, amenities are conditions around the trail and steepness, among other things.

Most Scenic Hiking Trails in Oklahoma

Beginner Level Trails

Martin Park Nature Center, Oklahoma City

Martin Park Nature Center is a 140 acre natural reserve and educational facility situated in the northwest of Oklahoma City. It comprises of creek bottom woodlands and empty fields with sparse trees. There are four hiking trails at the park, each running just under a mile length. The trails are primarily gravel lined and there are stair steps in a few areas. This makes Martin Park Nature Center a perfect spot for a casual hiker or a family outing. For a nominal fee, you can hire the park naturalist to take you on a guided hike.

Hiking in Oklahoma

Hiking in Oklahoma. Photo by Larry

Oxley Nature Center, Tulsa

Located in the Mohawk Park, about one mile from the Tulsa Zoo, the Oxley Nature Center is a place where you can find diverse landscapes within a few miles from each other. Oxley has 11 miles of trails that traverse a variety of habitats, including flat prairie landscapes, marshlands and lush green forest. The various trails in the area include the Blue Heron trail, the Green Dragon trail and the Beaver Lodge trail.

Intermediate Level Trails

Mcgee Creek National Scenic Recreational Area, Atoka

The Mcgee Creek National Scenic Recreational Area is an 8900 acre preserve located about 20 miles east of Atoka in southeastern Oklahoma. The park offers 30 mile trails, called the Mcgee Creek National Scenic Recreational Area Trail System. Apart from the hiking, other activities like mountain biking and horseback riding are also popular in the area.

Robber’s Cave State Park Trails, Wilburton

Robber’s Cave State Park Trails are located five miles north of Wilburton on State Highway 2, in the scenic Sans Bois mountains. The park offers around 12 miles of trails consisting of hilly, rugged and extremely rewarding terrain that include ponds, stream and a small lake. Robber’s Cave is an excellent spot for rock climbing and rappelling.

Advanced Level Trails

Hiking in Oklahoma

Hiking in Charon's Garden Wilderness Area, Oklahoma. Photo by Sarah

Charon’s Garden Wilderness Trail, Indiahoma

The Charon’s Garden Wilderness Trail is located in the Wichita Mountain National Wildlife Refuge near Lawton. The trail takes you on top of the Mount Scott, from where the vast Prairie landscape of Oklahoma an be viewed. At 2.4 miles, the Charon’s Garden trail isn’t very long, but it is considered advanced due to its technical nature and level of fitness required. Activities like rock climbing and bouldering regularly take place in the area.

Horsethief Springs Trail, Heavener

Horsethief Springs trail is located in the southeastern Oklahoma near Talimena Scenic Drive. The trail begins at Cedar Lake and winds up to the mountains in the Ouachita National Forest. The length of the trail is 11 miles, and consists of steep grades and lengthy climbs up the Winding Stair Mountain. The Horsethief Springs trail is full of tiny creeks and springs that offer potable water and some of the most scenic views in the state of Oklahoma.

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