Road Trip: Adrenaline Rush

Oklahoma is an outdoor paradise for adventure lovers of all stripes. With an invigorating and varied terrain and more than a million surface acres of water, you're bound to find a spot that's perfect for you.

Rock climbing enthusiasts find a great challenge on the granite crags and many rock faces of the Wichita Mountains in southwest Oklahoma. Guide For a Day offers personalized rock climbing instruction in the Wichita Mountains for skill levels from beginner to advanced.
Photo Credit: Guide For a Day

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Red Dirt Walkabouts

Hit the following trails for inspiring views that add up to natural adventures for hiking enthusiasts at all levels. Beginning hikers won't want to miss the trek at Oxley Nature Center in Tulsa. Located in Mohawk Park, this 804-acre nature center offers eleven miles of hiking trails, most of which are wheelchair and stroller accessible.

If you’ve ditched the tennis shoes for a real pair of hiking boots, you’re probably ready to take on some hills and stretch your new-found hiking prowess with an intermediate trail. Try the McGee Creek Natural Scenic Recreation Area near Atoka, an 8,900-acre preserve with 30 miles of trails ranging from an easy, one-mile nature trail to more lengthy and demanding paths.

Once your hiking skills and stamina is ready for the next challenge, try an expert level hike such as the one found on southeast Oklahoma's David Boren Trail. Beginning at the south end of Beavers Bend State Park near Broken Bow, the trail is a 16-mile path through hilly, forested terrain with creek crossings. Scenic stretches of water are never far away, and there are four major trail heads in addition to the South Park trailhead mentioned above.

In the area:

If you want to pair a hike with a camping experience, McGee Creek State Park near Atoka is located on the southwest edge of the Ouachita Mountain Range and is adjacent to the McGee Creek Natural Scenic Recreation Area. The park offers lake huts, tent camping and RV sites along with other amenities. The David Boren Hiking Trail in Beavers Bend State Park offers primitive camping on the trail.

Wheeling Adventures

Get your adrenaline rush going with a two or four-wheel expedition into some of Oklahoma’s more challenging terrain. Little Sahara State Park near Waynoka, featuring 1,600 acres of golden sand dunes with some reaching as high as 75 feet, is a favorite playground for off-road enthusiasts. Dune buggies, ATVs and dirt bikes are welcomed. In southwestern Oklahoma, try the ATV area at Quartz Mountain Nature Park. This 50-acre park on the north shore of Lake Altus-Lugert is a designated ATV area. During summer months, visitors can park four-wheelers on the beach and cool off with a swim in the lake. The massive Cross Bar Ranch Park in Davis offers 6,500 acres of rideable terrain in south-central Oklahoma and is the state's largest dedicated ATV area.

In the area:

When you’re ready for a break from the sand dunes at Little Sahara, head to the Waynoka History Museum & Information Center, housed in a beautifully restored Harvey House built in 1910 and Santa Fe Depot rail depot complex. Inside, visitors will find an air-rail museum, the Mexican-American restaurant El Charro and a gift shop. The museum features exhibits that include items from the Transcontinental Air Transport, a forerunner of TWA, as well as items pertaining to the Santa Fe Railroad and Fred Harvey. Art and artifacts detailing the history of rail and the surrounding area are also on display.

Climb on Up

Scale the heights of Oklahoma’s mecca of rock climbing, the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge near Medicine Park. Routes of granite up to 400 feet in height and vast fields of boulders provide more than enough problems to keep a climber amply challenged. Mount Scott is especially popular, in part for the many crags found along its northern walls.

Not far from the Western beauty found at Quartz Mountain Resort, Arts & Conference Center near Lone Wolf, visitors will find the slabby crag of Baldy Peak rising more than 500 feet above the surrounding wheat fields. Rock climbing here offers dramatic, heart-pounding views in a classic place that’s quiet and secluded. Other popular rappelling spots include Robbers Cave State Park, located in southeast Oklahoma and featuring rock of compacted sandstone, and Chandler Park, located 15 minutes from downtown Tulsa and featuring immense limestone boulders.

In the area:

An ideal setting for quiet reflection and solitude, Quartz Mountain State Park features a backdrop of stunning red granite hills overlooking Lake Altus-Lugert on the western edge of the Wichita Mountains. Located in far southwestern Oklahoma, the park is perfect for family fun or a romantic retreat with amenities like an 18-hole golf course, miniature golf, paddle boating, mountain biking and hiking on nature trails.

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