Oklahoma is one of the most eventful states in the US. Among must-sees here are the Bigfoot Festival in eastern Oklahoma and the Cow Chip Throw World Championship.
Oklahoma is also home to one of the first-ever shopping carts, and a woman from Oklahoma became the first and, as of this moment, the only person to be ever hit by space junk.
Aside from these fun facts, Oklahoma is also home to some of the most exciting views in the US. Oklahoma is one of the most geographically diverse states in the country as well. For a chance to see at least a fraction of what this state has to offer, you should try to pay a visit to the following trails.
Cathedral Mountain Trail is located in Gloss Mountain State Park, named so because of the shiny exterior of the mounts caused by the high selenite content.
The trail itself is 1.2 miles long and stretches through the rim of Cathedral Mountain. From the highest points of Cathedral Mountain Trail, you can get panoramic views of Gloss Mountain State Park and Cimarron River running below, and you’ll also catch a glimpse of Lone Peak Mountain.
Beavers Bend State Park’s Lakeview Lodge Trail is an excellent choice for a daytime hiking trip. Stretching 4 miles in a loop, it offers a moderate challenge that will appeal to beginning and experienced hikers alike. The trail, for the most part, is flat, so family hikes are also possible.
You may hike here in both directions, but clockwise makes more sense since you won’t have to look back to see the direction signs.
Lakeview Lodge Trail boasts diverse views. Along the way, you can see the astonishingly colorful wildflowers (if the season is right) and a dense pine tree forest. Near the end of the trail, you will see a beautiful glass-surface lake as well.
Located in Chickasaw National Recreation Area, Travertine Creek Trail is another hiking location that’s relatively beginner-friendly. Stretching for 1.5 miles and having an elevation gain of about 150 feet, it’s an excellent place to visit if you are more about the views than the challenge of hiking.
Despite its short length, Travertine Creek Trail is quite diverse – along the way, you’ll cross a few bridges, cool off in creek waters, and enjoy the shade provided by the numerous trees.
Clear Bay Trail is pretty much the opposite of the likes of Travertine Creek Trail. Covering a respectable 14.8-mile distance across Lake Thunderbird State Park, this trail is not for the faint of heart.
The 1,066 feet elevation gain is very far from being the highest in the world, but combined with the trail length, it makes the journey quite challenging.
Notably, Clear Bay Trail is mostly in an urban location but with numerous elements from the wilderness. Animals like deer and rabbits love to frequent this place – so do ticks as well, unfortunately, which makes bug spray a must here.
Robbers Cave State Park, where the Mountain Trail is located, is a former outlaw hang out, so the historical value of this area is immense. And needless to say, it also is home to stunning views of San Bois Mountains and Carlton Lake.
The highlight of the Mountain Trail is the cliffs – they overlook Carlton Lake and other picturesque areas in the park. Measuring from the Deep Ford campground, you will have to cover about 3.2 miles to get to the cliffs, so it’s quite a trip.
Clear Bay Short Loop of Lake Thunderbird State Park is only 1.2 miles long and has an elevation gain of just 59 feet. It’s thus a straightforward hike and is great for families, beginners, or even seasoned hikers who for once want to enjoy the views more than work out.
Clear Bay Short Loop, by the way, starts from Clear Bay Trail, so it could also serve as an extension to a longer journey.
Though you could hike here year-round, April through October is optimal because the weather is more consistent. In the summer, shade is abundant too, so hiding from the sun is not a challenge.
Yet another mountain-themed hiking trail, Elk Mountain Trail provides you with some of the best views of the Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge.
Along the about 2.5-mile trail, you will be able to catch a glimpse of local species such as the colorful Boomer Lizard, as well as enjoy the views of Wichita Mountains and Charon Garden Wilderness.
Black Mesa Preserve houses the highest point in Oklahoma – the Black Mesa at 4,973 feet, This isn’t the highest point of the entire Black Mesa though – its highest elevation is actually in Colorado at 5,705 feet.
Extending for about 8.4 miles, Black Mesa Summit Trail is quite challenging. And this isn’t merely because of its length – on the way to the summit, you will have to overcome extremely rocky areas and expansive canyons.
You’ll have to take some warmer clothing with you too since the summit tends to be noticeably colder than lower areas.
Roman Nose State Park’s Lake Hoop Trail and Mesa Loop Trail offer stunning views of Watonga Lake along with a canyon. But to enjoy this scene, you will have to cover a couple of miles to reach Inspiration Point, a location that overlooks much of the park.
And along the way, you will get some excellent picnic opportunities and a bit of exercise thanks to the numerous switchbacks and the terrain that likes to change elevation.
Lake Murray State Park’s Buckhorn Hiking Trail is popular with birdwatchers. Along the way, there also are conveniently placed benches for relaxation or better wild watching opportunities.
Aside from that, this trail offers a rather relaxing journey since its elevation gain is only 216 feet, albeit the length is 3.4 miles – not the shortest. The highlight of this trail is Lake Murray, offering perhaps the best views in the state park.