Exploring OKC’s 90+ Miles of Trails

winding trail through forested area (Spring Creek Trail)
Spring Creek Trail, Edmond, OK

Did you know there are over 90 miles of trails in OKC? It’s part of Oklahoma City’s initiative to get people outside into a healthier lifestyle.

With the Memorial Marathon this weekend and the weather warming up, I thought this was a great time to give you a guide to some of the these trails! Whether you’re training for a marathon, enjoy biking, like exploring nature, or want a safe place to walk at night, there’s a trail for you here in OKC! I’ll even recommend a great park for walking your dog!

We’d be here all day if I described every OKC trail. So I’m just going to give you the lowdown on my personal favorites.

My Favorite Long-Distance Running or Biking Trails in OKC: “The Loop”

There are 10 interconnected trails around OKC, allowing for some very long bikes or runs!  If you want to do one big loop, you can now bike from Lake Hefner down to Lake Overholser over by the Oklahoma River and back to the Lake for a total of around 30 miles (not including riding around the circumference of Lake Hefner)!

Full disclosure: I’m not a long-distance runner by any stretch of the imagination. I do enjoy walking longer distances, so I’ve walked portions of all the trails in this loop, which is why I think it would be a fantastic bike ride. Or run, if you like that kind of torture. 🙂

All of the trails in this loop are paved with asphalt or cement. They are usually well-marked with lanes indicating direction. I found it very helpful to use the interactive map of the trails provided by the OKC city website. For even more specifics on each trail, check out the TrailLink website.

Here’s an overview of the trails that compose the Loop:

Lake Hefner (Bert Cooper Trails)

Lake Hefner is undoubtedly one of the most popular places for runners and bikers alike in OKC. With the 9 mile trail looping the beautiful lake and by a golf course, you can enjoy the scenery while keeping track of your distance with the half-mile markers.  It’s a multi-use path, so bikers, runners, and walkers share it. Bike lanes are marked only for part of the trail, so keep an ear out for the buzz of their spinning wheels, if you’re a pedestrian!

Location/Parking: This trail loops around Lake Hefner. You can park in multiple locations: on the south end in Lakeshore Park off of Meridian or Stars and Stripes Park off of S. Lake Hefner Drive or in the east parking lots by the restaurants off of Lake Hefner Parkway.

Length: 9 miles

Tip: It tends to be quite windy there, so it doesn’t hurt to have a jacket on cooler days.

Hefner-Overholser Trail

You can bike or run from Lake Hefner to Lake Overholser with these marked trails, which will take you past the Wiley Post Airport. There are short distances where bikes will share the road with cars. It’s an urban trail and a great way to connect the two lakes, but not particularly scenic.

Location/Parking: On the north end, you can park by Lake Hefner near Britton and MacArthur. Look for red posts to find the trail. For the south trailhead, park at Stinchcomb Wildlife Reserve.

Length: 6.3 miles

Tip: If you plan to do the whole distance, I personally think it’s better for biking than running.  You’ll be running on the sidewalk next to the street with the exception of the airport area.

Overholser/East Trail

Walk the length of Lake Overholser and watch kayakers going through the lake and marshland.  This is a great spot for bird-watching, too! While you’re here, check out Stinchcomb Wildlife Reserve, as you can access that park easily from the north end of this trail.  This trail connects to the West River trail on the opposite end. It is quite walker-friendly and even wheelchair accessible.

Location/Parking: Stinchcomb Wildlife Reserve on the north end or in the Lake Overholser parking lot on the south end. (If you park at the Reserve, walk directly south of it on Stinchcomb Ave to find the Overholser Trail.)

Length: 2 miles

Tip: Parts of the trail are under construction this year. Check the OKC city website to see updates.

West River Trail

West River is one of the 3 trails being created by our tax dollars from MAPS 3. (The other two trails are Will Rogers and Lake Draper.) If you want a more rural trek, this trail will take you by the Canadian River and away from the street.  You can bike it from Lake Overholser to the Oklahoma River. Check out the video above to see it!

Location / Parking: Park at Overholser Lake on the west end or Crystal Lake midway through the trail. I didn’t spot great public parking on the east end of the trail, mostly local businesses.

Length: 7.5 miles

Tips: Though the West River trail was completed in 2015, it is currently undergoing some construction. Check here for more updates.

Oklahoma River Trails

A biker goes over a bridge that crosses the Oklahoma River on the Oklahoma River Trail.
Bikers, runners, and walkers will enjoy the trails by the Oklahoma River.

I love these well-lit wide paths that flank the Oklahoma River, with their little bridges and nice landscaping. It’s a pleasant area for walking, running, or biking. The Oklahoma River Trails connect with the West River Trail, Will Rogers Trail, South Grand Boulevard Trail, and Lightning Trail. I guess you could call it the central hub!

Location / Parking: Along the Oklahoma River. Multiple parking options for the south side of the river include SW 15th Street and S. Meridian Avenue, River Park at SW 8th Street and S. Agnew Avenue, Wiley Post Park at SE 17th Street and S. Robinson Avenue, and SW 15th Street, just east of S. Portland Avenue.

Length: 13 miles total, 6 for the trail on the north side of the river, 7 for south side of the river. For the Loop, though, you’ll only be on the southern portion of the trail for about a mile before heading north on May.

Tip: You’ll find benches periodically scattered on the trail, which makes it nice for a little rest or shorter walks.

Will Rogers Trail

Yellow posts mark the trail, as well as yellow lane markings.
You can follow the Will Rogers Trail by looking for the bright yellow post markers.

The Will Rogers Trail connects the Oklahoma River trail back to the Bert Cooper trails around Lake Hefner, completing the loop. It’s an urban trail, which will entail crossing several larger intersections, protected except for 2 blocks. You will pass by the beautifully landscaped Will Rogers Park.

Location/Parking: Park on the south side of Lake Hefner near Meridian and NW Expressway for the north end of the trail or off of at the Oklahoma River for the south end. You can also start in the middle of the trail, by parking at Will Rogers Park.

Length: 8.1 miles

Tip: Watch for the bright yellow posts that mark the trail, especially since it can hop from one side of the street to the other.

This Loop is only one part of the interconnected trails in OKC. You can go from the Oklahoma River Trail to the South Grand Boulevard Trail, which runs across the south side of OKC and links to other trails further south. If the Katy Trail on the east side of OKC is connected, the Oklahoma Bicycle Society points out that we’re not far from having a 58 mile loop around the city!

Now that you know about some of the best trails for long-distance biking or running, let’s check out some of my favorite locations for other kinds of trails!

My Favorite Night Walk Spot in OKC: Eagle Trail at OC

Bright lights and security emergency phones line the Eagle Trail at Oklahoma Christian University.
Bright lights and emergency phones line the Eagle Trail at Oklahoma Christian University, making it a great safe spot for walking at night.

It can be difficult to find a place to walk at night that feels safe. My personal favorite place to take an evening stroll is the Eagle Trail at Oklahoma Christian University in Edmond. It’s well-lit with emergency phone stations set up along the path and campus security seems present.

While walking or running the perimeter of campus, you’ll go by little ponds and fountains, so it’s quite pretty. The path is asphalt, but there is a softer crushed granite track beside it.

Eagle Trail is supposed to be connected to OKC and Edmond trails in the future!

Location: (Edmond) Any of the campus parking lots can be used in the evening.

Length: The full loop is approximately 2.5-3 miles.

Tip: Though it’s multi-use, I’ve noticed there tend to be more walkers and runners than bikers on the Eagle Trail, making it even more walker-friendly.

My Favorite Dog-Friendly Trail in OKC: Bluff Creek Park

a dog waste station at Bluff Creek Park in OKC
The amenities for dogs at Bluff Creek Park in OKC

Bluff Creek Park is a pretty area for taking your dogs on a walk or run.  You’ll find water fountains with low spouts and doggie waste stations with bags periodically scattered along the 1 mile loop for walkers. 

Do note that you will have to keep your pet on a leash, though. Also, as my friend pointed out, the fact that the pedestrian trail doesn’t allow bikes can be really helpful if your pup can get overly excited by them!

Length: 1 mile paved trail for pedestrians exclusively (no bikes), 4 mile trail for mountain biking,

Location/Parking: The park is just north of Lake Hefner and has its own parking lot.

Tip: Bring your whole family to Bluff Creek; kids will enjoy the playgrounds and the open lawns to play frisbee!

If you’re more interested in a dog park than a trail, you might check out PAW Park at 3303 NW Grand. You can let your dogs run off-leash through the two-acre enclosed area that even has a pond!

My Favorite Nature Walk in OKC: Spring Creek Trail

Spring Creek Trail's wide path is marked with bike and pedestrian lanes.
Spring Creek Trail’s wide path through nature is well marked for pedestrians and bikers.

When surrounded by city life, it can be really nice to get away into nature within one of the metro’s parks. If you’re looking for a place that is relatively untouched from the natural habitat (instead of manicured lawns or planted trees) and a good place to see wildlife, check out the relatively new Spring Creek Trail in Edmond.

Though this trail is not in a nature park per se, the trail has been hewn out of the forested area near Lake Arcadia so you can hardly tell that you’re close to a busy interstate. With the thick tree cover, slightly curving paths, walking by the occasional farm, and even glimpsing the lake, you feel like you’re out in the beautiful countryside, instead of the edge of town. If you’re quiet, it’s easy to spot deer or other wildlife.

It is a paved 18-foot wide trail with separate biking and walking lanes clearly marked. There are a few small unpaved trails off the main trail, but not many.

Location/Parking: There are currently two trailheads.  One is at Integris Baptist in Edmond. Enter off the I-35 Frontage Road and take the first left. Once in the parking lot, head back in the direction of the Frontage Road and park as close to that as possible. You’ll find the trail there; it is not currently well marked. The second entry is through the Lake Arcadia entrance off of 15th St. You can enter for free, if you let the park know you’re there for the trail. Take the first left and follow it, as it curves up and around the lake. It makes one loop. You’ll see the trailhead easily once you arrive and there is some parking there.

Length: 2.5 miles. The ultimate goal is that it will connect with a total of 18 miles of trails around Edmond and Lake Arcadia. Fox Lake Trail starts up on the west side of I-35 already, but the connection between the two trails has not been completed yet.

Tip: You can find a post with bike repair supplies near the Integris trailhead.

After that whirlwind tour, I hope you have some new places to check out to get your exercise in OKC! It’s been a blast to explore them myself!

What’s your favorite place to walk, bike, or run in OKC? Share in the comments!

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