So you’ve found yourself in Oklahoma but aren’t sure how to spend your time outdoors? Don’t worry, there're plenty of amazing outdoor activities to keep you busy. From trails winding around forests and prairies to lakes and rivers such as the Oklahoma river perfect to boat or fish on, Oklahoma's landscapes offer natural beauty and good times for everyone.
If gorgeous open spaces call your name, pitch a tent at a state park or go horseback riding across miles of scenic ranch land. And there are even thrills to explore such as whitewater rafting and zip lining to get your adrenaline going! Whether you want to explore on foot or hit the water, this guide gives you lots of exciting ways to experience some fresh air in Oklahoma.
Hiking and Camping in Oklahoma's State Parks
Oklahoma has some gorgeous state parks that offer scenic trails to hike on as well as secluded campsites surrounded by nature. These parks should be at on your list for weekend adventures.
- There's trails for hikers of all skill levels. For some stunning vistas, check out Eagle's Nest. This trail leads to sweeping views of Lake Tenkiller. Prefer forests? The Greenleaf Trail in Greenleaf State Park winds around pine stands.
- When it's time to rest, Oklahoma's state parks offer over 1,600 campsites. Pitch a tent at secluded walk-in sites or hook up an RV at Lake Murray State Park. Cabins and yurts provide more comfort.
You really can't go wrong. Whether you want to summit mountains, stroll in wildflowers or just enjoy a peaceful respite in nature, Oklahoma's state parks offer an abundance of recreational delights just waiting to be discovered. Lace up those hiking boots, pack the camping gear and get ready for an adventure in America's treasure.
Fishing and Boating on Oklahoma's Lakes and Rivers
Oklahoma also has no shortage of spots for fishing and boating. A couple of the most popular are Lake Hefner and the Lower Mountain Fork River.
Just north of Oklahoma City, Lake Hefner offers fishing for catfish, largemouth bass, crappie and more. You can go paddle boarding, kayaking, or Jon boating to get out on the water, or fish right from the shore. The lake has nine miles of biking and walking trails too if you want to make a day of it.
Lower Mountain Fork River
Further south near Hochatown, the Lower Mountain Fork River is known for excellent trout fishing and kayaking. If you like to grow your own produce, perhaps you like to catch your own fish as well. Brown trout is stocked regularly, so you have a good chance of catching your limit. Wading or floating the river in an inflatable kayak or tube are popular ways to take it all in. The river flows right through the Ouachita National Forest, with massive pines lining the banks.
Whether you want to drop a line for some catfish or stalk trout in a mountain stream, Oklahoma's lakes and rivers offer plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation. With stunning scenery and wildlife to boot, you really can't go wrong. So grab your gear, pack a nice picnic, and head out on the water in Oklahoma. Adventures await!
Exploring Oklahoma's Wilderness Areas and Trails
Oklahoma has some amazing natural areas perfect for outdoor recreation. Lace up your hiking boots and grab your gear - it's time to hit the trails!
Ouachita National Forest Trail
The Ouachita National Forest spans 1.8 million acres in southeastern Oklahoma, with over 200 miles of trails to explore. Check out the 60-mile Ouachita Trail, which winds through pine forests and across rivers. For gorgeous views, hike to the top of Winding Stair Mountain. Camping is allowed in the forest, so you can easily turn a day hike into an overnight backpacking trip.
Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge
In more western Oklahoma, the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge is a must-see. It's home to free-roaming bison, elk, and prairie dogs. You'll find scenic drives, hiking trails, and secluded campsites in the granite rock formations. Climb to the top of Mount Scott's natural climbing wall for panoramic views of the wildlife refuge.
Beavers Bend State Park
For waterfalls, head to Beavers Bend State Park in southeastern Oklahoma. Hike the trail to see Lower Mountain Fork River Falls, which cascades over boulders into a swimming hole. You can also go whitewater rafting or kayaking on the river. The park has hiking and biking trails, plus cozy cabins if you want to stay overnight.
Oklahoma's Long Distance Trails
Oklahoma also has some fantastic long-distance trails. The 230-mile Oklahoma High Plains Trail goes into prairies and canyons in the panhandle. The Chisholm Trail Heritage Trail follows a historic cattle drive route for 100 miles in central Oklahoma. sections could still be being developed, though other parts are open for hiking or horseback riding.
No matter where your outdoor adventure decides to take you, be sure to pack essentials like snacks, water, maps of the area, compass or GPS device, pocket knife, fire starter, rain jacket and comfortable hiking boots. Mostly, get out and enjoy the natural beauty of Oklahoma's wilderness! The trails are calling.
Outdoor Activities in Oklahoma's Major Cities
Can't decide which city to visit in Oklahoma? Explore some of these popular attractions in each:
Oklahoma City, the state's capital and largest city, offers many outdoor recreation opportunities. Visit the Myriad Botanical Gardens in downtown OKC, with its themed gardens, walking trails and splash park. You can also go boating or fishing on Lake Hefner, just north of the city. Or head to Martin Nature Park to go hiking, biking or bird watching along its nature trails.
Tulsa, Oklahoma's second largest city, sits along the Arkansas River, providing lots of aquatic adventures. Go whitewater rafting or kayaking along the river, or check out the River Parks for biking, walking or jogging trails. The city also has many parks like Woodward Park, with gardens, a lake, and playgrounds, and Oxley Nature Center, which has hiking and biking trails through native woodlands and prairies.
In Norman, just south of OKC, experience the outdoors at the Griffin Memorial Park. It offers playgrounds, sports fields, pavilions and a 7-mile hiking/biking trail. Or visit the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, which has native wildlife habitats, hiking trails and a native plant garden.
Stillwater, home to Oklahoma State University, sits on the banks of Boomer Lake. Popular activities there include boating, fishing, picnicking, hiking and biking. YSlso visit the Botanical Garden at OSU, which features themed gardens, trails and a children's discovery garden. No matter which city you visit, Oklahoma's outdoor spaces provide natural escapes in an urban setting. Get outside and experience the state's natural beauty by biking, hiking, boating or just enjoying a stroll in one of the many city parks.
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