Running on trails in Oklahoma can be challenging and rewarding. The state has some wonderful running trails with different terrains and ecosystems. Whether you’re looking for a challenge or a beginner’s run, here are five excellent locations to put on your running shoes and step out into the great outdoors.
The Oklahoma City Parks & Recreation Department maintain 80 miles of running/hiking/walking trails around the city. For a beautiful run along the river, take the Oklahoma River Trails. The entire length of the trail is 13 miles. Of those, 6.5 miles are dedicated trails right next to the Oklahoma River. Park at Wheeler Park, Lincoln Ave Bridge or SW 15 and Portland for easy access. This trail connects to five other trails if you’re looking for a longer run.
St. Crispin’s Conference Center is operated by the Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma, but they have graciously opened the trails to visitors. It’s the perfect outdoor experience, over 450 acres with oak trees, spring-fed lakes, and rolling hills. The trails range in length from one mile to 2.3 miles. Altogether, it’s about 8.2 miles. Some of the trails have special sites along the path. The green trail, for example, has a labyrinth. The yellow trail has some spectacular views, especially at the Lookout, which overlooks one of the lakes.
This trail system is located on the south side of Lake Thunderbird. It has more than 18 miles of trails that are interconnected, but each individual trail can be hiked on its own as a loop. The Green and Yellow loops are best for beginners. The Red and Blue Loops are a bit more challenging. The Gold Loop, at 10 miles, is designed for expert runners. These trails are also open to mountain bikes, so be cautious.
This area has over 30 miles of multi-use trails that are considered some of the best trails in Oklahoma. The Red Trail is very popular for bikers and runners, because it’s far from the road and the water’s edge. The terrain varies through three different sections. The first section has gully crossings and short climbs. The second section has more dry gullies and winds under the oak canopies. The third section has some switchbacks, steep crossings and a roller coaster of ups and downs when you get close to the finish line. There’s a lot of specific information on the website to tell you about each of the five trails to get a feel for which one you want to try first.
Cavanal Mountain is considered the “tallest hill in the world.” The trail is about five miles to the top. It’s known as the “uphill killer,” and you may need to walk some sections, but when you get to the top, you’ll be rewarded with a stunning view of the area. You’ll also find a deep hand dug well that is over 100 years-old. But then, you also have to get back down the mountain. Don’t try this run without some experience behind you.