Spring and Summer bring such joy to us. The warmer weather means we can finally get out again and explore nature. While the best way to enjoy the outdoors is just to go out and begin exploring, it is nice to have a starting point. This article will highlight some of the best hiking trails Oklahoma has to offer.
1. Cathedral Mountain Mesa Trail
The Gloss Mountain State Park is located northwest of Fairview and houses a wide range of prehistoric mesas and buttes that are almost 1,600 feet above sea level. Gloss Mountains get their name from the shine on their exterior due to high Selenite content. The Cathedral Mountain trail provides a panoramic view of the Cimarron River and Lone Peak Mountain. This out-and-back trail is approximately 1.5 miles, leading you to the mountain's rim. This trail is rated as moderately challenging and should take about 40 minutes to complete.
2. Elk Mountain Trail
The Wichita Mountains, located north of Lawton, is one of the places to visit in all of Oklahoma. From the enormous free-range buffalo and longhorn to the lookout atop Mount Scott, this place will provide loads of fun and adventure. While in the area, the Elk Mountain trail is truly one to behold. This 2.5-mile hike will lead to the summit of Elk Mountain, which gives you a one-of-a-kind view of the Wichita Mountains and the Charon Garden Wilderness. This moderately challenging trail will take about 1 hour to complete. If adventure is your goal, there are some boulders you can climb while on top of this mountain.
3. Mountain Trail
Robbers Cave State Park is located in southeastern Oklahoma and is home to the historic outlaw hideout known as Robbers Cave. This park also features the beautiful Carlton Lake and is part of the San Bois mountains. The Mountain trail, which starts at the Deep Ford campground and leads to the bluffs, is a stunning hiking trail that you must visit. There are several bluffs that one can climb out on to get a perfect view of Carlton Lake. This trail is approximately 7 miles, there and back, and is rated as a mostly challenging trail. Expect to spend 3+ hours on this one, but it is worth it.
4. Inspiration Point Loop
Roman Nose State Park is located near Watonga and features some incredible scenic views. If a trail that features great views, picnic areas, and spectacular sunsets, then the Lake Loop to the Mesa Loop trail should be at the top of your list. This trail is rated as moderately challenging and is 5.8 miles in length. It will feature uphill and downhill climbing as well as switchbacks. You will also encounter a pretty little rock garden. You will spend about 2+ hours completing this hike.
5. McGee Creek Natural Scenic Recreational Area Loop
This little-known area is tucked away in Southeastern Oklahoma, about 70 miles south of McAlester. The McGee Creek Natural Scenic Recreational Area contains about 25 miles worth of hiking trails. Rated as moderately challenging, this loop has many different paths that can be taken, each leading to spectacular views and experiences. You can go and explore a few trails in a day, or you can make a backpacking trip for a few days and explore the entire thing. Expect to camp primitive, though, as amenities are scarce within the trail system. McGee Creek contains many scenic creek beds, rock formations, canyons, and many beautiful overlooks you can enjoy on your hike. During the autumn months, the views of the changing colors of the trees are absolutely breathtaking.
What Is Your Favorite Oklahoma Trail?
These are just a few of the hiking trails that Oklahoma has to offer. They are definitely worth the effort it will take to hike them in their entirety. The best hikes, though, are the ones you get by simply going out and exploring. Go make your own trails, and happy adventuring, my fellow Oklahomans!