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Top 10 Bike Trails in Oklahoma

Map of top 10 places to bike in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma is a beautiful state full of fantastic cycling opportunities. Whether you prefer historic rail trails, rugged mountain biking routes, or a little bit of everything, Oklahoma’s got it all. Check out these top 10 places to cycle in the Sooner State.

1. Tulsa River Parks Trails – Tulsa, OK

The Tulsa River Park Trails offer more than 26 miles of paved trails on the banks of the Arkansas River. They offer a shaded waterfront ride through scenic areas with excellent views and a bridge that connects paths on both sides of the river. Along the East Bank Trail, you’ll enjoy points of interest like the Tulsa Spotlight Theatre, gorgeous historic homes, and The Gathering Place, an incredible award-winning park for visitors of all ages. For a more serene riding experience, ride the West Bank Trail, where you’ll pass through several city parks and enjoy stunning waterfront views.

Tips: At the end of the West Bank Trail, you can continue along the connection to Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area, which offers plenty of mountain biking adventures.

2. Will Rogers Trail – Oklahoma City, OK

The Will Rogers Trail is a nine-mile route in downtown Oklahoma City, stretching from the south side of Lake Hefner to the north side of the Oklahoma River. Traverse this trail on your bike for an urban adventure through Will Rogers Park and the surrounding Will Rogers Gardens. You’ll pass scenic, historic neighborhoods featuring Spanish Colonial Revival homes and beautifully landscaped terrain. Bike shelters, solar-powered lights, and bike racks make it easy and convenient to hop on this trail at any time of the day.

Tips: The Will Rogers Trail also connects to the Oklahoma River Trail for extra mileage.

3. Talimena National Scenic Byway – Talihina, OK

The Talimena National Scenic Byway is a 54-mile stretch of road with spectacular views of the southeast Oklahoma landscape. Tucked away in Choctaw Country, this scenic byway winds its way through one of the highest mountain ranges between the Appalachians and the Rockies. While you ride, check out some of the area’s most popular destinations, including Talimena State Park, Cedar Lake Recreation Area, and the Ouachita National Forest, where you can enjoy additional outdoor activities like hiking and mountain biking.

Tips: This route is very popular in the fall when the fall foliage is lit up in gorgeous shades of red, yellow, and orange. In addition to cyclists, motorcyclists also frequent this route, so watch carefully for vehicle traffic while you ride.

4. Mt. Scott Fire Road – Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

The Mt. Scott Fire Road in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge is a six-mile dirt and gravel trail and a designated mountain biking trail. Since it’s inside the wildlife refuge, you can expect plenty of excellent wildlife viewing opportunities while you ride, including American bison, Rocky Mountain elk, prairie dogs, and many other animals. This trail is a moderately challenging route, with rocky terrain, technical challenges, and a few steep climbs, making it an exciting ride. Although the road has minimal shade and can get hot in the summer, it offers unparalleled views!

Tips: The nearby Charon’s Garden Wilderness Area has camping sites if you plan to stay in the area for a few days.

5. Chickasaw National Recreation Area – Sulphur, OK

Chickasaw National Recreation Area is Oklahoma’s oldest national park and is a popular destination for outdoor activities, including cycling. The recreation area encompasses two separate parks: The Platt National Park Historic District and Lake of the Arbuckles. Within the Platt National Park Historic District, you’ll find a scenic 3-mile paved trail that encircles Veterans Lake, offering waterfront views, plenty of local wildlife to check out along the way, and a good variety of elevation changes. Don’t neglect to stop and enjoy the many scenic overlooks along the route!

Tips: The Chickasaw National Recreation Area is also home to six public campgrounds, so there are plenty of reasons to make this bike ride a weekend excursion.

6. Old Frisco Trail – Poteau, OK

The Old Frisco Trail is a 6.5-mile crushed stone trail that follows the abandoned St. Louis–San Francisco Railway. The route starts on the southern end of Poteau near the Arkansas border, passes Cavanal Lake, and ends just north of Lake Wister State Park, for a scenic and fun cycling adventure through eastern Oklahoma. The route is mainly flat and passes through a thickly forested area, offering excellent wildlife viewing opportunities and even more biking paths at the trail’s end near the 33,000-acre state park. The trail also has many amenities for cyclists, including water fountains, benches, a bike repair station, and lights along the first half-mile of the route.

Tips: This trail is a favorite among locals and visitors because of its beautiful green scenery and colorfully painted bridges.

7. Osage Prairie Trail – Tulsa to Skiatook, OK

The Osage Prairie Trail is a 14.5-mile trail that stretches from Tulsa to Skiatook, Oklahoma. It’s popular among commuting cyclists who make their way to Oklahoma State University and downtown Tulsa. Although this trail offers great access to these urban areas, the southern portion is much more suburban, adopting the rural landscape of the Oklahoma countryside as it leaves the city. The Osage Prairie Trail also features convenient amenities for cyclists, including water fountains, benches, bike racks, and plenty of nearby parking.

Tips: This trail also connects with several smaller trails in the Tulsa area.

8. Cherokee Hills Scenic Byway – Tahlequah to West Siloam Springs, OK

The Cherokee Hills Scenic Byway is an 84-mile route in the foothills of the beautiful Ozark Mountains. The ride takes you along the shores of clear Lake Tenkiller, where you’ll likely spot people fishing, boating, and even scuba diving. As the route continues, it provides exceptional views of the Cookson Hills and the lush forests of the Ozark Mountains. (During the fall months, these are particularly beautiful!) The northern part of the Cherokee Hills Scenic Byway parallels the Illinois River, featuring picturesque cliffs and vistas, making way to Natural Falls State Park, home to the tallest waterfall in Oklahoma! 

Tips: Since this bike ride traverses some of the route of the tragic forced relocation of Native Americans known as the Trail of Tears, it’s also an excellent opportunity to learn about the proud Cherokee heritage via the local architecture, museums, and other cultural events in the area.

9. Katy Trail – Oklahoma City, OK

The Katy Trail is a paved 7-mile multi-use trail that runs parallel to the old Katy Railway line. It passes through Oklahoma City’s Adventure District, a popular area home to some of the best tourist attractions in the state, including the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Science Museum Oklahoma, and much more. Along the way, you’ll also pass through spacious city parks, including Douglas Park at the trail’s end. The park has a playground, basketball court, and recreation center for visitors to enjoy.

Tips: As you cycle the Katy Trail, you’ll also pass the well-known Zoo Lake, a popular bird-watching and fishing spot. Definitely make a pit stop if you can!

10. Centennial Trail – Muskogee, OK

The Centennial Trail in western Muskogee leads cyclists through various Oklahoma landscapes, offering a little something for everyone! Passing through city parks, urban neighborhoods, thick hardwood forests, open prairie, and wetlands, you’re sure to experience plenty of variety as you cycle this route. Beginning at N. 40th Street, the trail cuts through downtown Muskogee, passing several historical points of interest along the way, including the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame, Three Rivers Museum, and Hatbox Airfield, first established in 1921 and initially used for a flying circus. Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhardt also flew there in the late 1920s.

Tips: Phase Two of the Centennial Trail (also known as Centennial Trail South) also connects to Painted Rock Trail, which leads cyclists to the Coody Creek Bark Park, a fenced-in dog park featuring bathrooms, a covered picnic area, and another trail to explore.

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Sources:

  1. https://www.riverparks.org
  2. https://www.traillink.com/trail/will-rogers-trail/
  3. https://www.travelok.com/listings/view.profile/id.29659
  4. https://www.talimenadrive.com
  5. https://www.fws.gov/refuge/wichita-mountains/visit-us
  6. https://www.travelok.com/listings/view.profile/id.29979
  7. https://www.nps.gov/chic/planyourvisit/trails.htm
  8. https://www.oldfriscotrail.com
  9. https://www2.tulsacounty.org/parks/parks-facilities/osage-prairie-trail/
  10. https://www.travelok.com/listings/view.profile/id.14852
  11. https://scenicbyways.info/byway/2346.html
  12. https://www.keepmovingokc.org/venue/katy-trail/ 
  13. https://www.traillink.com/trail/centennial-trail-(ok)/ 
  14. https://www.muskogeeparks.org/parks___trails/trails/centennial_trail.php 

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