Lake McMurtry Natural Resource & Recreation Area
Located near Stillwater, the Lake McMurtry Natural Resource & Recreation Area offers four hiking and mountain biking trails. Ranging from beginner to intermediate, these trails surround Lake McMurtry, and though they aren't extremely difficult, they do provide some challenges. The Lake McMurtry Trail System is comprised of two trails on the west side of the lake and two trails on the east side. There two trails on each side of the lake share a trailhead; both trailheads are located near the ranger stations.
Orange Trail: On the northwest side of the lake sits the Orange Trail. Made up of three loops, this trail is a total of 7.5 miles altogether, out and back. From the trailhead, take the path on the right, heading north. Almost a mile down the trail, you will encounter a gate. If it's closed, you can still go through an opening beside it. Keep right on the path, and you'll follow the shoreline, heading back west. The trail will soon hit a junction where you will take a sharp right. This is the end of one side of the first loop on the Orange Trail. Take the path due north for a while, then you'll run into a path that veers off right. This is the largest of the loops; it will take you across some rocky terrain and includes open areas as well as densely-wooded areas. Along this loop, you'll find great views of the lake. Take the loop counter-clockwise, and it will bring you back to the main section of the trail. You have the option at this point to take the turnaround loop, which branches off to the west. After this loop, you'll head south again to finish at the trailhead.
Blue Trail: The Blue Trail is located on the southwest side of the lake. It has a total length of 7.5 miles out and back, and closely follows the shoreline around each inlet. Most of the terrain is flat and covered with trees. From the trailhead, you'll start off going southwest, and after about a half a mile turn back to the southeast. This route will curve around the shape of the lake, with one long, straight stretch in the middle. You will reach the turnaround loop; go to your left and complete the loop, then go back the way you came to the trailhead.
Yellow Trail: This 6.2-mile trail is located on the northeast side of the lake. This is one of the more difficult trails on the system, with a few steep inclines to maneuver. Starting at the trailhead, the path goes north into dense forest. It meanders north for a while before curving around an inlet to follow the lake shoreline. Stay to the right when you reach the loop, and you'll head back to the north. The path follows around another inlet, and turns back west. After a while going in this direction, the trail turns back to the north, and you'll come across the other loop. Stay to the right and follow it north until the hairpin turn. Then you'll go back south near the shore to complete the loop, and from there follow the way you came. You will have the option to complete the west side of the first loop on your way back.
Red Trail: The Red Trail is situated on the southeast side of the lake. This trail is a loop of 6.75 miles, all the way around. It doesn't go through as many wooded areas as the other trails in this system, but the terrain is more diverse. From the trailhead, take the path going east. You'll curve around the shoreline for a while before a curve that will take you south. This is a long, fairly straight stretch, but then you will encounter some sharp turns and switchbacks that will lead you through the bottom of the loop, once again near the shoreline. Then, you'll start back to the north, winding your way through dense trees. At the point where you go due north, you'll hit some hilly areas that will be a challenge. After another curve you'll go west again, back to the trailhead.