Although you’ll find countless places to cycle across the state, the road biking routes listed below transcend the average park trail. Whether you’re looking to scale the hills of the east or seeking an easier trek through the flat western prairies, get ready to encounter Oklahoma’s diverse topographies on two wheels.
Perennially drawing bird watchers, sailing enthusiasts, joggers and even kite flyers, Lake Hefner also welcomes road cyclists with a lively backdrop of central Oklahoma.
Bring your bike to glide around a paved loop surrounded by sparkling waters and expansive skies on the Bert Cooper Trail. Named one of the best urban walking trails in the U.S. by Outside Magazine, this multi-use path features over nine miles of asphalt and concrete for an easy bike ride circling Lake Hefner. Along the way, you’ll pass forested areas, playgrounds, picnic spots and Lake Hefner’s signature lighthouse, a favorite site for snapping pictures and watching sunsets. After your cycling excursion, wind down at restaurants like Louie’s Bar & Grill, Mama Roja or Redrock Canyon Grill, all popular for their panoramic views of Lake Hefner.
For an alternative route with Lake Hefner as a starting point, take the Hefner-Overholser Trail near Britton Road, featuring over seven miles of paved road leading to Lake Overholser. Connecting two of Oklahoma City's popular reservoirs, most of this route is dedicated trail space, with approximately two miles of an on-street biking trail passing by Wiley Post Airport.
Talimena National Scenic Byway
While this 54-mile, picturesque stretch of road is popular with motorcyclists, those with road bikes can also take on this vigorous, rewarding ride in southeast Oklahoma. The winding Talimena National Scenic Byway showcases the grandeur of the Ouachita Mountains on the Arkansas-Oklahoma border. Steep climbs and meandering paths create the perfect challenge for experienced cyclists.
Start from U.S. Highway 259 five miles north of Big Cedar, or from U.S. Highway 271 seven miles northeast of Talihina. Cyclists often choose to take Highway 1 for a full day route, which spans along the top of the spine of the Winding Stair Mountain range, from Talihina to Highway 259. Along the way, 22 panoramic vistas outline the natural and historic significance of the region. If you’re cycling here in the fall, prepare for foliage in magnificent shades of red, orange and yellow.
Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge
For a cycling tour pronounced by historic sites and natural wonders, set your sights on the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. This cycling trip through southwest Oklahoma rolls through low-impact landscapes and a mosaic of seasonal color from wildflower fields in the warmer months and jewel-toned foliage in the fall.
Start in Lawton on OK-49 at exit 45 off I-44, near the Fort Sill National Historic Landmark & Museum, a 19th century army post consisting of 50 buildings. Continuing west on OK-49, cyclists will approach the tranquil town of Medicine Park, known for unique geological features like natural cobble stones and red rocks. With natural attractions like Bath Lake and plenty of dining options, make it a multi-day trip and spend the night in quaint quarters at Blue Eyed Coyote Guest House or Harper’s Landing.
In the morning, resume riding west on OK-49 past Lake Lawtonka until you reach the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. Your final destination is worth the wait, featuring over 59,000 acres of mixed grass prairie, captivatingly rugged lands and incredible wildlife viewing opportunities.
Chickasaw National Recreation Area
Continue an over 100-year-old tradition of outdoor recreation with a bike ride at the Chickasaw National Recreation Area in Sulphur. Constructed in 1902, Oklahoma's oldest national park area offers a paved trail for all levels. CNRA is surrounded by some of south-central Oklahoma’s most distinguished water features, including Lake of the Arbuckles and the Little Niagara swimming hole.
Take a tranquil spin around Veterans Lake in the park’s Platt Historic District, featuring a nearly 3-mile paved trail with beautiful shoreline views. This easy, often-overlooked loop offers a balance between uphill and level pathways, with plenty of wildlife viewing opportunities and scenic overlooks along the route. Pack a picnic to enjoy and take in the colorful scenery after your ride around the lake.
Cherokee Hills Scenic Byway
For proof of Oklahoma’s geographical range, look no further than Cherokee Hills Scenic Byway in the northeast. This stretch of road in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains is revered for its lush greenery and glistening waters.
Start your cycling route along the shores of Lake Tenkiller at Highway 10 N near Gore. Known to many as “heaven in the hills,” the area around Tenkiller State Park is a diverse spot for recreational activities, from diving and fishing to boating and hiking.
Remaining northeast along Highway 100/82, cyclists will ride parallel to the Illinois River, one of the region’s most popular sites for float trips, kayaking and fishing. Enjoy lovely scenery while riding through Cookson and Keys. Rich with Native American history, culture and outdoor attractions, this conclusion to your extended cycling route provides the perfect culmination of northeast Oklahoma’s natural beauty.