Hiking is growing more popular, and Oklahoma offers plenty of trails

Fall hiking in the Ouachita National Forest in southeast Oklahoma is a well-loved tradition.

“The scenic drive is beautiful, and the mountains make you seriously question if you are still in Oklahoma.”

Newcomers might make the assumption that Oklahoma’s landscape is dry, flat and uninteresting. But Oklahoma natives and seasoned transplants know it offers diverse terrain, from open prairies to wooded pines, with hiking trails for experts and beginners.

More women are taking the opportunity to get outside, especially the 20-30 and 50-60 age groups.

“What we see most are the opportunities that are very close to home that have new hikers interested.”

Martin Nature Park, Arcadia Lake trails and Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge are among those venues.

In the three years since the Norman/OKC Hiking and Outdoor Fun Meetup was organized, more than 1,000 people have joined and the group has hiked all over Oklahoma, the most popular area being the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge.

“It’s only a little over an hour drive from Norman, but it’s totally different there from anywhere else in Oklahoma. They have great trails; it’s really pretty. There’s lots of wildlife, and it’s fairly close by.”

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