Friday, February 24, 2012

Five MORE Entries!!

I have added listings for Black Mesa, Okmulgee Lake, Natural Falls, Lake Tom Steed, and the Choctaw Nation Trail (formerly knows as the Indian Nations Trail.) Anyone else know of any cool trailz not on this list?? Give me a heads-up!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

New Entries!!!

Added to the list--and thank you to those who recommended the new entries, are the Sutton Wilderness trailz, Beech Creek, and Rogers State College trailz. They are added to the link list on the right. We are up to 42 entries, including hundreds of miles of trail. Get out and RUN!!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Welcome to my B I G playground !!!

This is it. A pretty good list of trailz in Oklahoma. I am sleep deprived, and I am sure I have spelled something wrong, dangled a participle, misquoted someone, etc. Tap me on the shoulder, send me an email, leave a sticky note on my door, and I'll fix it. Anything about a trail that has a certain WOW factor that I overlooked?? Lemme know. Got a new trail that you know of? It belongs here--I want it!!! This is indeed an ongoing work, and it'll get better. Some of the maps I have here might not be worth a diddly printed, but most are better than nothing, and all are the best I could find with the help of Uncle Google.

The way this works: Find a trail in the right column or in the post below this one (they are in abc order.) Clicking on the link takes you to another blogpost about that trail. Each post has a picture or two, a course description, and a map of some sort. I hope I am able to show you that there are trailz everywhere waiting for you to come run.

My email is trailzombie@yahoo.com. Send me your corrections, suggestions, trail reports, pictures. I love doing this, and I hope it helps more of my running friends get off the pavement and onto the dirt.

The List:

Arcadia Lake
Billy Creek
Bixhoma
Bluff Creek
Beavers Bend
Cedar Lake
Chandler Park
Draper Lake
Elk City Lake Trail (Flat Rock)
Greenleaf
Heyburn Lake
Holland Hall Cross Country Course
Honor Heights Park
Horse Thief Springs Trail
Keystone Lake
Lake Carl Blackwell
Lake Hefner
Lake McMurtry
Lake Murray
Lake Texoma
Lubell Park
Lynn Lane Reservoir
McGee Creek Recreational Area
Mohawk Park
Oologah Trailz
Old Military Trail/Boardstand Trail
Osage Hills State Park
Ouachita Trail
Post Oak
Pumpkin Holler
Roman Nose State Park
Lake Sahoma
Sparrow Hawk
Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge
Three Forks Trail
Thunderbird Lake
Turkey Mountain
Whispering Pines
Wichita Mountains/Mount Scott

Arcadia Lake

Arcadia Lake is just east of I-35 near Edmond. The multiple-use trail is approximately 8.5 miles one way from the Project Office to Spring Creek Park. The trail is single dirt track with added bridges and water crossings. During the rainy seasons some parts of the trail can be impassable.
I ran this course a few years back, and found it an easy run, pretty flat, and a bit sandy as it was during a dry season.

This map is far better than the one I had. Still, I never got lost.

This map is of the equestrian trailz, and I am not sure how runner-friendly they are.

Beech Creek

Beech Creek sounds like a adventure that could take up a whole weekend. There are 33+ miles of trailz there that are rarely used. At timers, they are hard to follow, because of downed trees and briers, but all of the trailz there are marked with white blazes, and if you can make the blazes out, you can get through.
Click here for a brochure.

There are four different trailz there: the Beech Creek Trail which is 6 miles one way, the Turkey Snout Loop--5 miles, the Walnut Mountain Loop--10 miles, and the Blue Bouncer Loop--10 miles. It would be difficult to do all of them in one day, as you would have to backtrack some, and go over some sections twice to cover all of the mileage. I'm game!!

Click here for some awesome maps, and pictures.

I am betting the ticks are bad here, so if I don't get there before mid-March, it'll be a November trip.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Billy Creek

Billy Creek Trail is a triangular loop that runs south from the Ouachita Trail and Talamena Drive to a trailhead near Muse OK. There are a couple of distance options making a 6 mile loop or a 12 mile loop. Climbing is the order of the day if you start at the south trailhead in the valley. You'll enjoy tall pines, a few rocky sections, and a good workout if you go for the whole thing.
I have ran this loop one time, and loved it. This loop can be combined with the Horse Thief Springs loop for a 26-27 mile run that will take you to the Cedar Lake area, and if doing that, starting and finishing at Cedar Lake would be an excellent idea. Click here for info on the trail and a great map.

Click here for a blogpost of my trip to run the Billy Creek Trail.

Bixhoma

One of my favoritye places for a quick midweek run is Lake Bixhoma.
Most people think I am saying Lake Texoma, but this small lake is southeast of Bixby, and seems like it is vacation-land, it's so scenic.
This satellite shot really doesn't do it justice either, so I'll share a few pix. I run here a lot. There is gravel and dirt roads that go around about 2/3 of the lake. I park usually by the bathrooms and run as far as the dirt or gravel road goes, and then come back and do the other side. Doing this gets about 3 miles +/-.
You can also run north up a HUGE hill and make a half mile out-and-back of hill work.



I bushwhacked my way all around the lake one time, thinking early on it'd be cool to make a trail all the way around it. A shredded pair or tights later, I scrapped that idea. My friend Mitch and I ran here from Bixby last December, and on the south side of the lake, someone had began bulldozing a trail around the south shore. They stopped after hitting a monstrous rock outcropping, and I do not know if they have went any further.

On the west side of the lake, there is a sign that points to the Ichabod Crane Trail. This faint trail goes straight up a good climb, and then fizzles. Again, it looks like someone had a great idea and it was a little too hard to complete. But even if these projects never get finished, this is still a good 3-4 miler.
And, it's a great place to watch a sunset.

Click here for several blogposts from my runs there.

Black Mesa

If you happen to be in the panhandle of Oklahoma, and have a bit of time to spare--and want to be able to say you've been at the highest point in Oklahoma, try the Black Mesa Trail.
This is desert running. Not a shade tree anywhere. Run it in the summer and you better have your hydration pack and handhelds filled.
Take your camera. There are plenty of rock formations to see, as well as tarantulas, horned toads, and rattlesnakes.

Click here for a so-so map of the area.

Bluff Creek

Just north of Lake Hefner, there are a few miles of trails referred to as Bluff Creek. They are not real hilly, but there are a few little ups and downs.

This map, if you can enlarge it a bit, will get you around. There are not so may miles here that you will get lost--for long.
This Mountain bike website has some good info from a Mt Biker's perspective.

Beavers Bend

In far southeast Oklahoma near Broken Bow, Beavers Bend Resort has a couple of short nature trailz, a 6 miler, and a 16 mile offering called the David Boren Trail. I have not ran there, but I used to vacation there as a kid, and have played golf there a few times. This is a hilly area, with lots of tall pines. One of the trailz runs along the Mountain Fork River, while another skirts the shores of Broken Bow Lake.

This website has a little info on the Beavers Bend area trailz.

This blog (not mine) has a bit more info on the area.


I do not think the above map has the David Boren trail on it. It may be that a good map can be picked up at the park office. This is another one I need to make a road trip to investigate.

Cedar Creek

Cedar Lake is just north of Winding Stair Mountain, the Talamena Drive, and the Ouachita Trail. There is a super nice camping area with tall pines, cool breezes, modern restrooms and showers. Would this be a great place for a weekend trail vacation--YES!
The trail around Cedar Lake gets you three miles, and the trailhead to the Horse Thief Springs Trail is on the south side of the park. There are also equestrian trailz, some of which are nice and runnable. (A few of them are wide and hoofed up--not so good to run on.)

Click here for a good website with pictures and a good map.

Click here for a blog post of a trip here. The second half of the post has Cedar Creek pictures.

Chandler Park

Chandler Park in west Tulsa has a few trails through the boulders in the main part of the park. These boulders are famous among the rock climbing and rappelling gang. There are a few trailz weaving through the giant rocks--not long trailz, but very scenic and well worth a jaunt through.
SO many people think that the only trailz are just in the park. Wrong. Head out past the farthest southwest ball field and wiggle around the white gate and head west. There are miles and miles of trailz from there.
This map shows a little of what is there. This is a vague map, but represents about 5-6 miles of trail--mostly single track. But there is so much more!
There are jeep roads (A few ATVs motor around here, but it's rare to see them.) There are a couple of powerline trailz that have huge climbs. Want hill work--here it is. You can follow routes and try to stay on top of Avery Drive and you will find 60-80' bluffs--far taller than anything in the main part of the park.
I am generally against development, but this area could be a state park. I love this area. It's a short drive for anyone in the Tulsa Area, and I still have not seen it all.

A WORD OF CAUTION: THIS IS NOT A GOOD PLACE TO GO WHEN IT'S MUDDY!! You will have 22 lbs of mud caked up on each shoe, so unless you want a good leg weight workout, come when it's dry.

Click here for several blogposts with lots of pictures from my runs there.

Choctaw Nation Trail

The Choctaw Nation Trail is in the Ouachita area. It is a 43 mile multi-use trail that connects Holson Valley with the Kiamichi Valley, and coincides with the Boardstand and Old Military Road on the western portion. I have veered off on this trail by accident once while running the Boardstand Loop, and it was a pleasant diversion. What I encountered was well maintained and not super-technical. You'll run on a carpet of pine needles, and get your fair share of ups and downs.

Click here for a great series of maps.

The above website claims, "The INT is a multi-use trail open to hikers, horses, mountain bikes and dirt bikes. Consequently, the trail tends to be wide and because it uses some of the old logging roads, is regularly 2-track.the combination of the motorcycles and rain have filled the trail with angular cobbles making steep segments poor quality for hiking. The INT between Bohannon and Billy Creek goes through some nice areas and has some nice views, but this is definitely not the best hiking trail section in the Ouachitas." If I read right, it coincides with the Billy Creek Trail, and that trail usually is in great shape.

Draper Lake

Lake Stanley Draper is a treasure in the metropolis of Oklahoima City. This urban wilderness has over 13 miles of trailz just begging to be run. A blogger and runner friend Julie has an awesome blog, and I took the liberty of borrowing a picture of the trail taken on a warm summer day.


This map from Google should get you to the trailhead.

Click here for some info on the course, a printable map, and several trail review--from a mountain biker's perspective.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Elk City Lake Trail (Flat Rock)

This trail is not actually in Oklahoma, but it's not too far into Kansas, and is worth the drive. This is a trail that can change your life--make you fall sickeningly in love with the trailz, or drive you forever back to the roads. It's a hard trail--very scenic, very rocky, a lot of short but steep climbs, and it's a challenge like few other trails in the area. Most first timers are amazed that anything like could even exist in the state of Kansas. This link will get you to a great trail map. The Flat Rock 50K is held here each September, and I have ran this race for the past 10 years. It is the hardest 50K I have ever done, but I love it and will always go back. Check out the course profile!!
Sometimes an elevation profile can look scary--and this one is kind f like that. There ARE quite a few semi-flat sections, but after many long miles, it seems like you're climbing skyscrapers to make your way home.
This trail can be ran as an out-and-back--turn around when you need to. Or, there is a trailhead around halfway out, and at the west end of the trail. I would like to plan a trip in the next month or so to do a fun run. And of course, cone run the 50K or 25K in late September!!!

Greenleaf

Just east of Braggs, which is southeast of Muskogee, you'll find Greenleaf State Park. There is a long tough yet beautiful trail there that will get you all the miles you want. You can park at the campground, and take the trail to the highway and cross the long bridge. Then you tuck into the woods and wind your way down to a swinging bridge, which is cool.
After the bridge, you start on a long winding loop. There is a sign there with stern warnings that the trail is tough and long, you should carry water, there are no bathrooms, etc.
This map, despite being small, will help you find your way around. Take the little cut-across at around 5 miles out and return on the upper trail and you'll have a solid 12 miler. Take the whole trail and you'll log 18+. The northern loop often is a little harder to follow, but it is marked. Don't be surprised by a blown down tree or two, and figure on being swiped by overgrowth in the late spring and summer. The trail near the water is far easier that the one above, which has some significant climbs.
You'll run on pine needles, a fair share of rocks and roots, and will pick up a good supply of ticks any time from April til cooler weather in the fall. Click here for a blogpost with pictures of my last trip there.

Happy Lake

Near Claremore Lake, where there are a few miles of PAVED trailz, there is a very small hidden reservoir called Happy Lake. If you can find it, you'll also find about four miles of easy single track, with a couple of short technical sections to keep it interesting.

This network of single track is very new, and does not get a lot of use, but is well marked and easy to follow.  The lake is beautiful, and evidently is a good place to fish, as I saw several people wetting a line while I was there. Below these bluffs are some small caves. The video below has a couple of pan shots as well as me rambling a narrative. Sorry if I put you to sleep!!



There are no maps that I could find on Google of this network of trailz. I did not cover them all, as there were a few turns at intersections that I did not have time to take.
This map will get you there though. I am pretty sure that if you can cover four miles, you will eventually get back to the trail head without getting lost.

Heyburn Lake

Heyburn Lake has a couple of different trail choices. First off, the lake is west of Kellyville. It's a small lake, and is usually a bit on the muddy side as compared to other Oklahoma lakes. These trailz are technically equestrian, but I have ran the ones in the park proper, and they were a pleasure to play on.
I was there last summer, and I picked up a dozen or so ticks, so if you go there after March, I'd spray down before running. The trailz are on the north side of the lake. As far as I know, there are no trailz in the other camping areas.
This is the only trail map I could find. I did not run on the Rattlesnake Trail, as it appeared overgrown, and I had my fill of ticks by then. But in cooler months, I'd like to explore it. Here is a link to pics of my summer visit there. I have also heard there are some motorcycle trailz at Heyburn that might be good to run on--don't know where.

UPDATE: MY FRIEND CLINT GREEN HIKED THE RATTLESNAKE TRAIL, AND REPORTED IT IS ABOUT 4 MILES LONG AND ENDS UP ON THE HIGHWAY. IT'S NOT A LOOP, SO PLAN ON ABOUT 8 MILES GOING OUT AND BACK, OR I AM ASSUMING YOU COULD RETURN VIA THE PAVED ROAD.

Holland Hall Cross Country Course

Holland Hall, a private school on 81st St in south Tulsa, has a cross country course on their grounds that just beg to be run. They are sweet single track with several ups and downs. Because the school is private, whenever an opportunity to run there comes up, it's a real treat.
There are three ways YOU can run this trail. 1. Be a member of the Holland Hall cross country team. 2. Be a wealthy and generous alum who has permission to come and go on the trailz. 3. Enter the Hope Rains 5K trail run each year in May.



a few blogposts with pictures

Honor Heights Park

Honor Height Park in Muskogee has a couple of trails--short, but very scenic. Go during march-April, and you'll see the most beautiful azaleas on the planet. During December, Honor Height Park puts on a Christmas light show that will astound you. Honor Heights is home to three trails: Henry Bresser Nature Trail, the Audubon Trail, and the Stem Beach Trail.
String them all together (with a little asphalt running) and you can get a nice 3-miler in. Then run it in reverse--you needed six miles anyway!  I found no maps, but you should have no problem getting around in the park.
In August, my friend Joel Everett has a 5K and 10K there--the Waterloop Trail Run. You'll enjoy the trailz, and a wetdown in the park fountains. Sounds fun.

Horse Thief Trail

The Horse Thief Trail hiking is one of the most awesome trails in the Ouachitas.
The main trailheads are located at Cedar Lake and on Hwy 1 aka the Talimena Drive. The loop uses a section of the Ouachita Trail near the top of the Winding Stair Mountain (you'll be glad to have the climb behind you) and this mile long section on the OT is rugged and technical.
(Yes, this is the OT!)

I have found the best direction to run the Horse Thief Springs Trail is clockwise on the loop. The return from the top on the western trail is nice fast single track--fun to run! I have ran this twice a few years back, and I remember it being 15-16 miles, although a the link below calls it 12.7 miles, starting and finishing at Cedar Creek. Click here for more info and a great map.
A nice long outing might include a loop around Cedar Lake as a warm-up or cool-down. You can also connect wityh the Billy Creek Trail, which runs down the other side of the mountain. It has a few different options, but can be up to a 14 mile loop.
Click here for a PDF brochure. Might print a little easier.

Keystone Lake

Keystone Lake just west of Tulsa has many trail running offerings. There is about a mile of "fitness" trail at Keystone State Park. It's chat, and fun for about two laps.
Right across the highway from the state park, the Keystone Mountain Bike trailz has 5 miles of mostly technical single track. It winds and twists around, making the most of a small plot of land.
You'll run over lots of rocks and roots, and climb a few short but steep hills. If you're lucky, there might even be a water crossing or two!! Click here for an excellent printable trail map.
Or click here for a few blogposts with pictures of the trailz.

From the Keystone Mountain bike parking lot, take Old HW 51 (a nice stretch of road running) and just to the north of the road there is the remnants of a very old railroad bed that works as a good couple of miles of trail running.

Or go north across the dam, and on the left, you'll find the Two Rivers Trail--a short but very nice single track delight.
I could find no trail maps for the above two places, but there is not much of a way to get lost once you're there. (Thank you to Clinton Green for the above picture of the Two Rivers trail.)

There are a couple of camping websites that mentions a 15 mile Sand Plum trail at Walnut State Park on the north side of the lake. I was there 5 years ago, and found them to be wide mowed swatches in fields of tall grass--nowhere near 15 miles. They were perfect for horses, but not that interesting to me. On this particular outing, I found myself covered by hundreds of seed ticks. It was an itchy time in my life. I have not been back since them.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Lake Carl Blackwell

Lake Carl Blackwell is west of Stillwater, not far from Lake McMurtry. This is primarily an equestrian trail area, and if it's been muddy, I am sure there will be sections that are beat up with hoof-holes. Click here for a trail map. I hesitated in listing this trail here before checking it out. Next time (and it will be soon) that I am at McMurtry, I'll check it out. If there are some runner-friendly trailz, I'll take more pics and give it kudos. If it's all pasture and beat up by horse hoofs, it'll disappear from this list.
Anyone out there ran here? Any reviews?
trail map This picture looks inviting....

Lake Hefner

Lake Hefner is a place to run long, fast, and get a tan all in one outing. The large city lake in the state capitol has a 9.1 mile chat trail around the shores that is as flat as they come. Very little shade and strong winds bring enough of challenge to make up for the lack of hills though. There is a map of the trails, but it's not needed. Stay beside the water and run til you see your car again.
Like the city reservoirs in Tulsa, this is a great place to see spectacular sunsets/sunrises, and hear the soothing sounds of lapping waves.

Lake McMurtry

Lake McMurtry, west of Stillwater, is one of the older and better known trail systems in Oklahoma.
Created by mountain bikers, it twists and winds around in some areas with a few switchbacks through dense woods. In other places it runs more point-to-point from the center of the park to the far reaches, through meadows and along the lakeshore.
If you like tight single track trail with enough ups and downs to get your heartrate maxing out, this is the place. You'll have your share of roots and rocks, but this is far less technical than Turkey Mountain. Click here for a good trail map of the northwest trail--the route that the Lake McMurtry 25K and 50K start out on.
Or, see if this one, which has all the trailz, will print for you.



The LMTR 50K/25K/12K uses only the west trailz.
There has been a bit of concern recently about the eastern trail system falling prey to commercial development.
As of this writing, I do not know of any recent developments.


These trailz are fun, not to easy but not too hard.
Be sure to check out the Leap-O-Doom--and jump at your own peril!
This link will take you to several blog posts of some of the past races.