5 Energizing Hikes in Oklahoma

By Dawn Brotherton

5 Energizing Hikes in Oklahoma

Nothing compares to fresh air in your lungs and the sounds of nature all around you as your heart pumps along your revitalizing hike. For something a bit more challenging than a novice trek, check out these five energizing hikes throughout Oklahoma! 

1. Charon’s Garden Wilderness Trail

Don’t let the 2.4-mile length of the trail fool you. This trail starts out fairly flat, but when it opens up onto the boulder field, you’ll have to climb, hop, and even crawl to get through the irregular terrain. However, the views of Oklahoma’s prairie landscapes are stunning when viewed atop one of the formations. Bring plenty of water. Make sure you have good, sturdy hiking boots with ankle support. Above all, watch out for rattlesnakes. 

2. Horsethief Springs Trail

The trail begins at Cedar Lake and takes you through the Ouachita National Forest. In the fall, this hike is not only exhilarating, but gorgeous with the changing colors of the leaves. It’s close to the Talimena Scenic Byway. Hikers are welcome all year long, but summers get hot. You’ll hike 11 miles if you take the complete route, but it can be demanding in places due to steep grades and long climbs up the mountain. You can drink the water from the area’s springs and streams, provided you treat it first. 

3. Osage Hills State Park

These dedicated hiking trails are popular, but they do present a challenge. Together, the trails are five miles in length, but you don’t have to hike the entire system at one time. The Creek Loop Trail is about 1.5 miles-long and will take you through the woods and into rocky bluffs. The trails were carefully thought out for an enjoyable, but not too difficult hike. All of the trails are easily accessible from the campgrounds or park office. Depending on the season you visit, you may spot white-tailed deer, grey fox, wild turkey, or a bald eagle. 

4. David Boren Trail

This trail system is seven smaller trails that can be mixed and matched. The entire trail is about 12.5 miles-long. The Skyline Trail runs five miles, and is one of the more advanced routes. You won’t get lost because the trail is well marked, but you’ll cross streams and enjoy steep climbs as you take on the nature trail. The system is considered one of the best in Oklahoma. It can be challenging and invigorating, but the landscape is absolutely gorgeous. You can primitive camp, but you’ll want to make sure to bring a camp stove as campfires are not permitted. 

5. McGee Creek Natural Scenic Recreation Area

This trail system requires a free permit to hike, bike, or ride a horse though the park. It’s simply a way to keep track of the users and make sure everyone understands that this is a “quiet-water” zone. No motorized vehicles are allowed on the trails. The area is virtually untouched, and there is always plenty of wildlife to view. There are over 25 miles of trails, clearly marked and usually free of brush. If you want to camp, note that there are hardly any amenities. 

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