Step Outside - Oklahoma WELCOME TO STEP OUTSIDE! Find the best outdoor fun near you! en-us 30 Step Outside - Oklahoma 144 144 Sat, 20 Oct 2018 04:31:00 -0500 Best Places to Fish in the South This Fall Redfish are starting to move inshore and set up at the mouths of bays, inlets and deltas as their annual spawning run commences. The bottom line for fishermen is outstanding fishing from late September through November in the northern Gulf.

Likewise, bass fishing is starting to pick up again as the weather begins to cool. Huge schools of threadfin shad are starting to filter away from open-water ledges into bays and tributaries where feeding conditions and water temperatures are more optimum.

Bass follow the food, first setting up on ledges at the mouths of inlets and creeks to waylay shad, then migrating back toward shallower water to keep up with their quarry.

Fall Script for Southern Bass

Bass rule in Dixie and cooler weather brings out an army of anglers who go after them. Whether largemouth, smallmouth or spotted bass, they’re available in most waters and sometimes all three varieties are present in a fishery, ready to aggravate or gratify those who seek them.

Hot Spots To Fish: When it comes to the South’s best lakes for fall fishing, the big TVA impoundments fit the bill. Because this is bass tournament country, dozens of YouTube videos and Facebook sites of pro anglers offer useful advice on where and how to catch autumn largemouths. Likewise, guide services are plentiful; just Google “fishing guides” for the lake you’re visiting or type in the town nearest the lake you wish to fish on the interactive map on this page.

Tackle You’ll Need: A 7-foot medium/heavy rod such as the St. Croix Premier Cranking, a baitcasting reel like the Abu Garcia Revo Winch and 10- to 14-pound-test monofilament makes a good combination to fish downsized lures.

Quick tip: This is strictly a match-the-hatch deal. Use lures that are about the same size as wandering shad. If young-of-the-year threadfins are on the bass menu, try small swim baits fished on drop-shot rigs.


Best Lures/Baits: Shad-colored, shallow- and medium-diving square-billed or coffin-billed crankbaits are autumn standouts. Popular lures include the Strike King 6XD, Bandit 100 or 200, Duo Realis M65, Livetarget Magnum Shad BaitBall Squarebill, Megabass S-Crank, Lucky Craft Squarebill 2.5, Storm Arashi and Rapala Shad Rap.

Fish them around shoreline cover and on the flats between creek drop-offs and the bank. Other fallback baits include spinnerbaits like the Booyah Super Shad, Stanley Vibrashaft and Nichols Pulsator. Good buzzbait options can be found from Lunker Lure, Damiki, Santone and Dirty Jigs.

Rendezvous With Redfish

Along the northern Gulf Coast from Carrabelle, FL, to Grand Isle, LA, the redfish season begins in late September and continues in stages through December. Some anglers fish in the surf with cut bait, while others station themselves on area piers or in boats on relatively shallow flats near channel cuts.

Hot Spots To Fish: For boating anglers, a couple of spots stick out. Pensacola Bay Pass is a must-fish for boaters. Anchor up on the broad flat between old Fort Pickens and the channel, set out lines as the tide changes to incoming, and hang on. Need more help? Redfish University Pensacola Fishing Charters (850-748-4368, specializes in the big drum.

At Grand Isle, LA, book a trip with Gotta Go Fishing Charters (225-921-3642, The marshes and inshore waters around Venice, LA, are primo redfish haunts as well. Captain Mike Frenette (504-782-0924, or ( is a top guide here.

Photograph Courtesy of Strike King Lure Company 
Louisiana’s coastal waters are ground zero for the hottest autumn redfish action along the northern Gulf Coast. A variety of natural baits and artificials get the job done.

Tackle You’ll Need: “Rat” reds of 3 pounds and up, or real bruisers weighing in excess of 20 pounds require a range of tackle options. Bass fishing tackle – whether spinning or baitcasting – is perfect for handling smaller fish and for casting jigs or swimbaits that weigh less than an ounce. A Shimano Stradic spinning reel and 7-foot medium-action Shimano Compre rod with 14-pound-test monofilament.

For bigger fish, consider a Penn Battle II BTLII5000 with 20-pound-test monofilament or 40-pound-test braid, and a 30-pound-test fluorocarbon leader. A 7-foot medium-heavy spinning rod (such as the Penn Battalion BATIN1220S70) should handle any bait rigs or lures and wear down a bull redfish in short order.

Quick Tip: Incoming tides in late evening or at night are primo times for reds as the fish free-spawn then in the mouths of coastal bays and estuaries. If you can’t fish any other time, make sure you fish the incoming tides.


Best Lures/Baits: Redfish aren’t particular about their dietary requirements and will eat anything from blue crabs to halved mullet. Swimming spoons such as the Johnson Sprite (, swimbaits and jigs or even topwater poppers, such as the Heddon Saltwater Spook, will elicit strikes.

Photograph Courtesy of Strike King Lure Company Photo By Garrick Dixon Shallow- to medium-running crankbaits probably account for more bass than any other lure in the fall when the fish are on the prowl for shad in feeder creeks and coves. Thu, 11 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0500
7 Best Outdoor Fall Activities in Oklahoma Whether you love or hate pumpkin spice lattes, you’ve got to admit that there’s something special about fall. It might be the leaves transforming nature into colorful artwork. Maybe it’s the cooler temperatures that make you want hot apple cider while you’re watching your hometown football game. Autumn is probably the perfect season to get outdoors and have fun. Here are seven of the best fall activities in Oklahoma. 

This conference and festival is a fundraiser for the Bigfoot Scholarship Fund, but it’s a blast if you’re into myths and legends of Bigfoot. In the evening, bigfoot encounter stories are told around the campfire, all are invited to share their stories. During the day, opt for a hike the forest where Bigfoot is thought to live. Saturday morning offers a 5K/one-mile run. There is plenty of excitement to go around and activities to do!

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With its magnificent red canyon walls, challenging hikes, and ample campsites, Red Rock Canyon is a fall camping dream. If it’s warm enough, you can camp with a tent for $14 per night. Guests are more than welcome to hook-up their RV for $22-$25 per night, as well.

This scenic highway was designed to be a beautiful drive in the fall when the leaves change. You can pick your adventure, whether you’re a history buff or want some adventure in the great outdoors. If you’re making it a weekend trip, try to stop for dinner at The Rock House in Talihena. You’ll need to make reservations, but the views of the mountains from your dining table are breathtaking.

Oklahoma has dozens of haunted houses that are only open in October, and Trail of Fear has to be one of the best and longest-running attractions in the state. It has almost 20 years of terror. It’s open every weekend in October and typically the weekend following Halloween.

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The season opens in mid-September with a corn maze in a design to honor a local hero. In October, the corn maze gets haunted when the sun goes down. Don't forget to sign up for the Monster Trail 5K and one-mile fun run. There are a lot of events going on in the fall months so be sure to check out their event page for more details.

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This family-owned stable offers trail rides for new and experienced riders. Get the whole cowboy experience by planning your vacation to sleep under stars, cook over an open fire and relax in the peace and quiet of nature.

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The Broken Bow Trout Guide Service is owned and operated by experienced fisherman Steve Branson. If you’d like to learn a thing or two about trout fishing, it’s best to get some hands-on experience with an expert! Branson offers trips for spin casting and fly fishing as well as a special Rainbow Trout Package which includes four hours of fishing for rainbow trout split between fly and spin casting. 

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10 Best Bait and Tackle Shops in Oklahoma Oklahoma is home to hundreds of lakes stocked with bass, catfish, crappie, and more. If you’re an angler, there are numerous opportunities for a top-notch fishing experience. But before you head out to your local fishing hole, you’ll need to stock up on some gear. From live bait to rods and reels, the 10 best bait and tackle shops in Oklahoma will give you everything you’ll need.  

This store is Oklahoma City’s only locally-owned and independent fishing tackle retailer. They advertise competitive prices with excellent customer service. 

This bait shop is near the main boat dock at Tom Steed Lake. Find all varieties of bait at Tom Steed. In addition to bait, this shop features beer and burgers. What’s better than that? 

Grand Lake has many great places for fishing, all year long. The owners at Ketch-Um Bait Shop can point you in the right direction and have all the equipment you need to toss a line into the water. Make sure to grab a bite at Bobbers Café, which features some excellent home cooking.  

TJ’s went through a remodel earlier this year. It’s been updated to include a restaurant, but it still carries bait and fishing equipment. It has friendly service from locals who know the area and all of bait you could ever need! 

One reviewer on Facebook says that this bait shop feels like visiting your grandma and grandpa’s house, and we think that’s pretty special. The owners know the area and carry a large selection of fresh and frozen bait for the best catch of the day. 

Tonja drove down from Ponca City for our world famous green worms!

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Nabatak Outdoors has been serving fishermen in the Claremore area since 1967. With that kind of history, you know they’ll be up on the best fishing holes. This store is more like a sporting store, with all types of apparel and equipment for a day on the lake. 

At D/J’s, you’ll find live bait, cold drinks, and more for your fishing outing. The owners are active in the community and have a lot of knowledge about the best fishing locations in the area. 

At Big Al’s, you’ll find custom fishing lures and tackle. The store gets live bait in from Louisiana and Texas each week, so it’s really fresh. But you’ll find frozen bait like chicken livers and gizzard shad, if that’s what you want. It also has rods and reels, plus years of experience to help you find the gear that works for you. 

At this full-service marina, you can find live bait and tackle, plus get your boat serviced by certified techs. You’ll find Bass Cat boats, Polar Kraft boats, and even used boats for great deals. 

The Mountain Fork River is one of the best places for fly fishing in Oklahoma. This tackle shop not only carries the gear and equipment you’ll need, but can also offer guides to help you hone your technique and find the best spots to catch some trout. 

Fly shop. #beaversbend #flyshop #statepark

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5 Best Dirt Motorcycle Trails in Oklahoma In Oklahoma, the off-roading community is strong. And for those thrill-seeking dirt bikers looking for the perfect track to hone their skills and have a little fun, there are plenty of options. From miles of tracks in privately-owned parks to entire motorsports complexes, here are the five best dirt biking trails in the state. 

The ATV and motorcycle trails are located on the northwest end of Lake Murray. The 10 miles of trails have sand and varying terrain to bring riders an exhilarating adventure. On a busy weekend, you’ll need to be cautious when riding, but Jeeps and dune buggies aren’t allowed, so you won’t have to worry about that. It costs $10 per rider, and there is even camping on-site. It’s a beautiful location for taking your bike out on the trail! 

This area features almost 1,000 acres of trails for ATVs and dirt bikes. City permits are required, but you can get them at the marina. The riding area is next to a campground where you can relax between rides. The riding permit costs $10 per day per rider, but if you plan on going out often, get an annual permit which lets you ride all year long, weather permitting. Just make sure to check closing time, because all vehicles need to be out of the parking area, not just off the trails. 

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Angel Ridge features a full-size motocross track, a freestyle area, a pee-wee track, and an outdoor national track. The track is open all week long, sun up to sun down. Riders will need a Department of Transportation-approved helmet, goggles, and boots. The terrain is mostly for amateurs and novices, but there are some obstacles which will add a challenge. 

WHORP has a nice track that follows the natural terrain. You’ll need a permit to ride at this privately-owned park, but it’s well-kept and has a number of nice trails that wind through the wooded areas and fields around the main track. The park is open year-round, weather permitting. Overnight camping is permitted prior to race days.

This complex has a motocross track, a pit bike track, and supermoto track. They’ve recently started a motocross school, for beginners to pros, and there’s a bike shop on-site. Make sure to check the schedule for events. Beginners can learn the basics on pit bike track while the other tracks are more of a challenge. 

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Camping Done Right: 6 Essential Outdoor Stores in Oklahoma When you go camping, you want to know that your equipment is going to stand up to the elements. It needs to be lightweight enough to carry on the trail, but sturdy enough to keep you warm when the sun goes down. The right gear will make or break your camping experience, so check out these essential outdoor retailers for everything you’ll need. 

Backwoods is an Austin-based, family-owned and operated outdoor gear store with locations in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. It carries high-quality camping gear, such as Osprey backpacking equipment, MSR camp stoves and Sea to Summit sleeping bags

Bass Pro Shops are known for carrying essentials for outdoor sports. You can find just about anything you think you’ll need for your camping adventure: tents, first aid and survival equipment, camp stoves, and more. Bass Pro carries equipment to have a good experience in the great outdoors while having cots and sleeping bags that have added support and room. 

It's a beautiful evening to do some shopping. Come visit us! #BassPro #BassProShops #Outdoors #Hunting #Fishing #OklahomaCity #Oklahoma

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Cabela’s carries a wide variety of great camping gear. Get a Lodge Cast Iron Dutch oven for cooking great stews and cobblers over a campfire. Coleman coolers are essential for keeping food cold while you’re away from refrigeration, but Coleman has an entire line of camping equipment which can be found at Cabela’s. If you enjoy camping in the winter, you’ll want to look for Kelty sleeping bags rated to zero degrees. 

Pre-brunch pit stop ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ”ซโ›๐Ÿบ๐Ÿƒ #chrisgaylor

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This company bills itself as an “American sporting goods discount store chain.” You’ll find name brands at affordable prices. It has a large selection of Coleman camping equipment at what it says are the best prices around. Look for the North Face backpacking gear and sleeping bags for high-quality products that will be lightweight and but warm enough for the cooler autumn and winter temperatures. If you’re looking for meal packs that are packed lightweight and easy to fix when you’re out in the woods, Academy has an excellent selection. 

Native Summit is a locally-owned and operated, independent outdoor store with staff who are passionate about outdoor sports. They’re selective in what they carry, looking for high-quality equipment that will do the job when you’re outdoors. Patagonia is a company that has great jackets, boots and base layers for winter camping and hiking. You’ll find a selection of Camelbak hydration equipment at this store, too. 

DICK’s Sporting Goods is a chain that offers a large selection of camping equipment at competitive prices. It carries Quest Outdoors tents, which come in fun colors like orange, pink, and red. You’ll find a good selection of camping heaters by Mr. Heater to stay warm all year long when you’re out in nature. Dick’s has a good sale selection, too. It pays to watch their ads for deals on the gear that will make camping safer, more comfortable, and enjoyable. 

I guess the kids decided we were taking to long getting camping gear. #lazy #tobeakidagain

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5 Gorgeous Beach Campsites in Oklahoma There’s nothing better than a nighttime bonfire by the lake with friends and family, sleeping under the stars in the great outdoors. Oklahoma has some great state parks that have affordable campgrounds. Here are five gorgeous lakeside campsites where you can put up a tent and relax in the fresh air. 

Beavers Bend State Park offers many campsites, but for primitive camping, go with the Dogwood or Grapevine campsite. There will be water in the area, but not at each individual site. You won’t find electrical hook-ups at one of these sites, but you will have a great view of the river and of the stars. These sites are close to trails and have vault toilets available, too. 

Sequoyah State Park has three campgrounds, but Cherokee has tent campsites right along the water. You’ll find a lot of things to do including boating, horseback riding, hiking, a nature center, and golfing when you visit this state park just north of Muskogee. If you don’t want to cook every meal, there are a couple of restaurants close by, but you’ll want to bring the fixings for s’mores for at least one night when you’re enjoying a campfire. 

Marval Resort has RV and tent campsites along the water with water and electric services. The basic tents sites include a fire ring, picnic table, and free Wi-Fi. The resort has special events on the weekends, but they’re open all week long. The park has a laundromat, convenience store with ice, firewood, bait and tackle, plus a long list of outdoor fun. There is a mini-golf course on site, frisbee golf, fishing tournaments and more. 

Bernice is located on Grand Lake, near Grove. This quiet campground has tent and RV sites just a few feet from the shoreline. It’s ADA compliant, with restrooms and showers. Pets are allowed on a leash. There is a naturalist on site, and Grand Lake is a great place for boating, fishing, and swimming. The marina just down the road has a good restaurant and stocks basic tackle and bait. 

Fort Cobb is known for watersports and fishing. Blackjack Hill is the campsite we recommend, it has both RV and tent sites, but there are many great places to pitch a tent along the shore all around the lake. Oklahoma State Parks are ADA compliant, and Fort Cobb is no exception. Fort Cobb has showers and restrooms for campers. You’ll find a marina, a golf course, a store with ice and other camping supplies near the lake. While you’re in the area, make sure you swing by Nowhere, Oklahoma. There’s not much there anymore, but you may never have another chance to say you’re going Nowhere and mean it literally. 

Jack Frog/ Tue, 14 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0500
5 Beautiful Backpack Camping Spots in Oklahoma Oklahoma has some stunning landscapes best experienced via hiking. If you’re looking for a weekend backpack camping trip, this is your state. From vast wildlife management areas to prairie grasslands that will take your breath away, here are five beautiful backpack camping spots in Oklahoma. 

Situated on the Oklahoma/Texas, Love Valley is a popular spot among hunters, but also serves as a wonderful place to truly get off the beaten path. There are several primitive camping spots throughout the management area that allow for an authentic, rustic camping experience. 

The Ouachita Mountains are absolutely stunning any season, but fall is when nature takes it up a notch. There are several trail systems, some just one-mile-long while others are a bit more challenging and lengthy. The main campground is only open from March 1 through Dec. 1 each year, but the backpacker’s camp is open year-round. The amenities include tent pads, fire rings, lantern poles, and a pit toilet. It’s located on the Talimena Scenic Byway, but you’ll have to take a small hike to get to the campground itself. 

Go out west to the Black Kettle National Grassland in Roger Mills County. It’s a 30,000-acre prairie with wide open spaces and lots of sky. Scenes from the movie, “The Grapes of Wrath” were filmed just a few miles away from here. You’ll get a glimpse of what life was like in the grasslands. There are plenty of hiking trails and camping areas, but some are primitive. Even in the winter months, it can still be temperate enough to backpack and camp, just bring warm clothes for sleeping. 

Take the 18-mile Ankle Express Trail for an interesting hike that includes a swinging bridge, some uneven terrain, and steep grades for a challenge. Hiking is free, too, but visitors are required to register with the time of departure, emergency contact number, and their own cell phone number for safety. Kids fish at no charge in the kids pond and no permit is required. Although some of the RV campsites close for the winter season, from Dec. 1 to March 1, many of the campgrounds remain open to backpackers. 

Spanning 101,620 acres, the Honobia Creek Wildlife Management Area makes for some of the best backcountry camping in the state. Be sure to pick up a Land Access Permit, which is required of all visitors of the area. Wildlife abounds at Honobia Creek, with quail, deer, turkey, rabbit, and waterfowl inhabiting the area. There are no designated camping areas here, but pack-in camping is permitted.  

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5 Awesome Campgrounds for Families in Oklahoma Oklahoma offers some excellent family campsites that bring together kid-friendly fun and the rustic nature of pitching a tent in the wilderness. Teach the kids the importance of being close to the natural world through fishing, hiking, and other activities at these five great campgrounds in the state. 

The parks department bills this campground as an Oklahoma oasis. There are six public campsites with reasonable nightly rates, and tent camping is recommended at the Platt Historic District. The one caveat is that there are no public showers or vault toilets at those sites, but there are some limited facilities. The area has a lot of different outdoor activities, swimming, boating, fishing, hiking, and more, and you’ll find some indoor activities, like a nature center where you can get more information about the local fauna and flora to know what to look for. 

At Beavers Bend, you’ll find 56 different tent campsites as well as lodges and cabins to book. Pitch your tent in one of the campgrounds in the northwest side of the Lower Mountain Fork River and wake up to a gorgeous sunrise over the water. You have access to plenty of activities, including riding stables, jet skis (which can rented), fishing, and a children’s playground. Beavers Bend has a nice lake where families can swim or take out a paddleboat. If that’s not enough, there is a miniature golf course, many hiking trails, and other family-friendly amenities. For a more primitive camping experience, go to the southeast part of the park. 

Eagle Bluff Resort features camping and floating in one great park. What makes this resort great for families is that they offer a family-friendly site where security enforces quiet after 11:00 p.m. for the kids who need to get to sleep. They have campsites and RV sites, with a shower house, a children’s playground, volleyball, and basketball courts. There is also a restaurant on site that is open on the weekend. The best deals are when you pay for camping and a float trip, but this campground is an excellent weekend getaway for families! 

The campsites available here include Doris Campground and Fawn Creek Campground. Backcountry camping is also available. Doris Campground offers sites for tents or RVs with or without electricity, and it has sites for tent-only camping. All sites include a picnic table, grill, and a fire ring, and it has family-friendly accommodations, showers and toilets. Drinking water, firewood, and bagged ice are available for purchase on site. Pets on a leash are welcome. The refuge has an educational center, nature trails and plenty of places for fishing and picnicking. The Wichita Mountains Climbers Coalition works with the refuge to provide rock climbing opportunities, with different levels of difficulty. 

My favorite kind of summer night. That is until raccoons raid the campsite. ๐ŸŒœ๐Ÿ•

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Greenleaf State Park is a beautiful park located near Muskogee. You can reserve a cabin, park an RV, or pitch a tent. Canoes, paddleboats and kayaks can be rented here, as well. There are children’s programs, fishing, hiking, swimming and volleyball sites at the park. Restrooms and showers are available for campers, as are laundry facilities, outdoor grills and a playground. Pets are allowed in the park, on a leash. There are modern sites, semi-modern sites and primitive sites available for camping. 

Max Topchii/ Mon, 13 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0500
5 Awesome RV Campsites in Oklahoma Oklahoma isn’t just a state that you should drive through when you’re RVing. There are many great stops around the state where you can find spectacular scenery, historic sites, and fun activities, all year long. Here are five great spots to park your RV for the weekend in Oklahoma! 

This campground near the beautiful Lake Eufaula has earned awards and garnered rave reviews for its spacious, wide, extra-long RV sites with all the amenities. The Chuck Wagon Café is located on site to cook your meals, and there is a casino, golf course, and museums close by. Kayak and canoe rentals are also on-site and you can enjoy the barnyard zoo, even if you do not have kids. 

Greenleaf State Park offers 23 full hook-up sites, 77 RV sites with water, and 50-amp electric. You can make reservations online. On site, you’ll find tons of amenities and activities, as well as spectacular views. There is an aquatics center with a pool, a miniature golf course, a nature center and kids fishing pond. You can enjoy hiking in the park or boating in the lake. 

The address might be Vinita, but this RV resort is actually in what’s known locally as Grand Towne Lake. Water’s Edge has 80 sites that are 25 feet-wide. Many of the sites have private decks that overlook Grand Lake, and all of the sites have full hook-ups, city water, and sewer service. You’ll find fire rings and grills at each site, laundry facilities on premise, and easy access to a grocery store, gas stations, restaurants, and boating docks. Grand Lake is known for fishing and watersports, and this RV campground is in a beautiful location. 

The Wichita Mountains have got to be one of the best places to observe nature and enjoy stunning scenery in Oklahoma. Doris Campground is the only site which allows RVs. There are only 23 sites with electrical hook-ups, but there are so many opportunities at the park to enjoy nature, it’s not about the amenities available. Bring your hiking boots and trek up the mountain to enjoy the view. Head on over to Medicine Park for a few hours to get your Mears’ hamburger before you leave the area. 

This RV park, located in the sparkling mountains near Lake Altus, offers a fun park for children, complete with a Ferris wheel, water slides, bumper cars, and more. Adults might enjoy the golf course, nature center, paddle boats, and hiking trails. Camping is first come, first served, but there are over 110 sites on the grounds. 

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5 Awesome Trail Running Spots in Oklahoma 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. 

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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! 

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. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

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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Start Your Trek: 7 Best Hiking Retailers in Oklahoma Oklahoma has some wonderful trails for hiking, whether you want a short day trip or a longer trek into nature. But the first thing you need to do is find good hiking equipment that will stand up to the elements of nature without weighing you down. Here are seven stores that carry high-quality gear that will meet your needs. 

If you’re looking for solar power or rechargers to take on your hiking trip, this store carries a large selection of Goal Zero and YETI products that will fit into your backpack for added power when you’re out in nature. 

Green Beetle is an independent and locally owned store in Tulsa that carries excellent products. You can’t beat Eberlestock equipment for backpacks. If it’s good enough for Olympic-class biathletes, it’s going to be great for your trek. The store carries many products for survival, such as fire starters, water treatment, and first aid kits. 

Native Summit is locally owned and operated by outdoor enthusiasts who stock and sell products that they have used and believe in. You’ll find a great selection of lightweight hiking boots and shoes and many other pieces of equipment that will keep you safe and comfortable on the trail. 

You can find all types of hiking gear at Bass Pro Shops, but one thing you’ll want to throw in your pack are the SOL emergency blankets, ponchos, and first aid kits. These items are extremely lightweight and easy to carry, but vital in case you get lost or stranded. It’s a small thing, but it will add to your peace of mind when you’re out on a mountain. 

Since 1973, Backwoods has been supplying hikers, campers, and other outdoor enthusiasts with the best gear. Find everything from Oboz hiking shoes to breathable fleeces from MtnLogic for those chillier expeditions. Backwoods will supply you with everything you will need for a successful and safe hiking experience. 

Stillwater Summit Co. is the destination to shop at before you conquer your next outdoor adventure. On their site, they state that, "it is our mission to provide the best quality outdoor gear & apparel along with the best customer service,” and that they do! It is a known fact that the owners and staff here are incredible and with brands like YETI and Cotopaxi, you are sure to leave happy.

A Cotopaxi windbreaker is a great jacket on a day like today. #stillwatersummitco #getoutanddostuff #staywarm

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Ascent, located in Tulsa, carries an extremely well-selected inventory of hiking gear, clothing, shoes, and tools. You can find everything you'll need to “ascend” on your next escapade! Not only do they carry the finest products from brands, like Arc’teryx and Kuhl, but the raved-about customer service is just outstanding! Check out Ascent and feed your passion. 

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SPOTLIGHT: Things to Do in and Around Bernice State Park On the northwest corner of Grand Lake sits Bernice State Park. Featuring RV and tent campsites on the lake’s edge, world-class fishing, and plenty of places to hike, Bernice makes for a great weekend away. Next time you’re in the area, check out all the great things to do in and around Bernice State Park. 

Bernice is known as the “Crappie Capital of the World.” The fishing at the park is off the hook, pun intended. Largemouth bass, white bass, and channel catfish are abundant. If you’re not into fishing, you’ll find plenty of places to birdwatch. The walking path is handicap-accessible and features two wildlife watch towers. The park also boasts a nature center. The opportunities are endless here and you’ll enjoy every moment of being immersed in nature. 

This museum houses over 50 custom-built exotic vehicles. Although many were built by Starbird himself over the past 50 years, some of the cars are from other designers. You don’t have to be a car enthusiast to appreciate these vehicles, many of which were futuristic in their day. 

This museum has several historic buildings which house antiques, collectibles, and reproductions, to give visitors a chance to see what life was like in the late 19th century in Oklahoma. The Village opens in March for the tourist season. Check out the calendar for historic trade and craft demonstrations. 

Enjoy the games and entertainment at this casino not far from the lake’s shore. Venue 655 Restaurant is a great place to grab a meal, but the real excitement are the gaming machines. Come in, relax, and try to win big! 

Sin in the city - walking away.

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For some down-home cooking, Road Hog is the place to be. The décor is definitely unique. The motorcycle over the bar is truly an antique. The French fries are made fresh. The pork is smoked in-house. The burgers cooked to order. Get lunch here. You won’t regret it. 

Dinner after a nice day of Golf!

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If you’re not into camping, you’ll find off- and on-season accommodations at this lakeside resort. Stay in the hotel, or get a private cabin with all the amenities you’d expect. 

It's a beautiful day on Grand Lake. #nature #lake #lazyday #happycamper

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Plan a fishing trip with this fisherman who has 26 years of experience catching fish in Grand Lake. He can accommodate large parties, furnishes tackle and gear, and takes you to some of the best fishing spots on the lake. 

This golf course sits near the Pensacola Dam which makes a lovely backdrop while you’re teeing off. It’s a beautiful public course with tree-lined fairways and minimum water hazards. 

The Artichoke won the People’s Choice Award at the 2017 Taste of Grand event. It’s a charming restaurant, a renovated farmhouse that retained its style. The chef knows how to cook a steak to perfection. They use fresh, local produce, growing their own herbs and supporting local producers. The restaurant is eco-friendly and locally-owned. Make reservations for dinner, especially in the summer months, to make sure you get a table. 

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SPOTLIGHT: Things to Do in and Around Gloss Mountain State Park From its magnificent rivers to its rolling landscapes, Oklahoma is one of the most naturally stunning states in the U.S. To best experience what this beautiful state has to offer, escape to Gloss Mountain State Park. With its opportunity for hiking, biking, fishing, and birdwatching, plus area attractions worth making a weekend getaway out of, you’ll have plenty to enjoy. Gloss Mountain is one of the true gems of Oklahoma. Here are the best things to do in and around the park. 

The Gloss Mountains are located near Fairview, Oklahoma. Sometimes, they’re called the Glass Mountains, because of the selenite content that makes these mountains appear to have a shiny, glass-like exterior. The park has restroom facilities, and public water and grills. Climbing to the top of Cathedral Mountain gives you a spectacular view across the landscape. Bring your camera to take home your memories! 

Gloss Mountain State Park near Fairview, #Oklahoma.

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The Wildlife Department recommends taking Loop 8 around the area to experience the mesas that glitter with bright hues of green, gold, and blue. Take Highway 412 between Orienta and Bouse Junction for a scenic route that is also a great birding route. You might see road runners, turkey vultures, and eagles. 

Park in the lower parking lot. Follow the trail to the top of Cathedral Mountain. The trail is 1.2 miles in length. The park has brochures available which point out the interesting facts, but you’ll see many rock formations, working oil pump jacks, ponds, wildlife, and stunning views along every step of the hike. There’s a stairway system in place to help you get to the top. 

About 30 miles northeast of the park, you’ll find a museum that was once a Harvey House. It’s a nice place to get some history about the area and see what it might have been like riding the train in the late-19th century. 

Santa Fe Railroad Depot, Waynoka, OK

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This authentic German restaurant is a great place to get dinner. It’s been serving Bavarian food, like jaeger schnitzel, pretzels and authentic German beers since 1998. While this is an Oklahoma favorite all year long, the German cuisine is particularly excellent during the colder months.  

The best German food I've ever had. Seriously.

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At one time, sod houses dotted the Oklahoma landscape. This sod house in Aline, about 20 miles from the state park, is the only one remaining in Oklahoma that was built in the late-19th century. This museum has preserved early artifacts from a homesteader’s life. It’s a great exhibit to experience what life might have been like in early statehood. 

I love that piano!!!

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The state park doesn’t offer campsites, but this ranch, just a few minutes away from the park has campsites, RV sites, and a lodge. They have a stocked farm pond, just bring your license and equipment. From May to September, the wildflowers are in bloom and truly a sight to see. The light pollution is limited, making star gazing a great evening activity! 

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5 Best Birdwatching Hikes in Oklahoma The experience of observing wildlife in its natural habitat can be breathtaking. Across the state of Oklahoma, you’ll find a variety of awe-inspiring birdwatching destinations, from wildlife refuges to flourishing gardens. Discover snowy owls, migrating pelicans, and bald eagles at these five amazing birdwatching spots in the state. 

Bookdocker’s Landing is a private RV resort along the Mountain Fork River, but it does open its gates to hikers and birdwatchers. It costs $8 a day per person, but the park limits the number of guests to allow for spaciousness and quiet. The scissor-tailed flycatcher, Oklahoma’s state bird, snowy owls, purple martins, and painted buntings call this park home. From November to March, it’s common to see bald eagles along the cliffs. There are 12 dedicated trails in the park, and you can rent kayaks and canoes to catch the wildlife along the river’s edge. 

The Salt Plains refuge is more well known for selenite crystals that get dug up in the area, but it’s home to hundreds of species of birds who nest here and feed on the salt brine flies. Every week, the staff performs a wildlife survey, and posts results online. More than 12 types of ducks were spotted recently, along with whooping cranes, killdeer, American white pelicans, Franklin gulls, and bald eagles. It’s an amazing place to hike any time of the year. This habitat was established in 1930 and has more than 32,000 acres where migratory birds can find sanctuary. 

Black Mesa is the highest point in Oklahoma, and this park has a lot to offer. Golden eagles, scaled quail, and pinyon jays are often seen in the area, as are many local mammals, such as black bears, antelope, mountain lions, and bobcats. It has a unique ecosystem, because it marks the area where the Rocky Mountains meet the prairie. The park boasts eight rare animal species and 23 rare plants. When you visit, make sure to stay overnight to enjoy an area without light pollution to see the stars. During the winter months, make sure to check the weather before driving out. 

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This urban wildlife center has more than two miles of woodland trails and a specific birdwatching area. The INTEGRIS Jim Thorpe Rehabilitation Courage Trail is ADA-accessible, allowing individuals with limited mobility an opportunity to explore nature without struggling on rough trails. The park opens at 5 a.m. daily, which gives you a chance to hike early and watch birds go through their morning routine. It’s an excellent place to really get in touch with nature without having to drive very far (if you live in Oklahoma City.) 

This eight-acre botanical garden is most known for its beautiful plants, but it has some great birdwatching areas, as well. It features seven different gardens, each with its own character. The Japanese Pavilion Garden has a koi pond, and many waterfowl call it home. The Oriental Garden features shade plants, while the American Backyard Garden has plants that will thrive without a lot of water. From spring to fall, you’ll find birds and butterflies enjoying the gardens. In October, you may see the white pelicans migrating through the area. 

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