Some people may not think of Tulsa as an ideal place for hiking, but despite its lack of elevation, Tulsa has a couple of great places for getting your walk on. In this first of two hiking entries, I’m dedicating this entry to the beautiful trails of Oxley Nature Center.
Oxley Nature Center is part of Mohawk Park, located just north of the Zoo. The Oxley trails include 9 miles of hiking, with trails for any level of hiker. The trails are fairly smooth, and wheelchairs and strollers can access most of them. However, pets, bicycles and other vehicles are prohibited from the trails. But if you’re looking for a nice place to cycle in Mohawk Park, just look for the Herb Beattie Bike Path just outside of the Oxley Trails.
Some of the trails are very short — as short as 1/4 mile, making them a perfect nature walk for kids. The first trail I tried was the Red Fox Trail Loop, which starts and ends just behind the Oxley Nature Center Interpretive Building. This trail is level, wooded and has a couple benches, making it a perfect spot for my lunch break. I enjoyed the serenity of the pond at the beginning of the end of the trail and was greeted by the sounds of dozens of happy birds as soon as I entered the wooded area.
Next, I headed over to the Bird Creek Trail. I really enjoyed this trail, especially the beautiful carved bench (first photo of this post) that a fellow hiker told me was crafted by the Boy Scouts. This trail leads into the Yellow Warbler Trail, where deer and frogs are sometimes found. I was really hoping to see a Bambi or two, but didn’t have any particular luck on this day. I did, however, see a ton of beautiful willdflowers.
The longest trail at Oxley is the North Woods Loop, 1.2 miles. If you are up for a longer hike than that, it’s easy to combine several trails. With 15 trails total, there’s always somewhere new to wander. I kept my print copy of the trail map, with the three trails I completed highlighted. My goal is to eventually have every trail completed and highlighted on my map!
For a full list of the Oxley Nature Center trails, visit their website, and be sure to familiarize yourself with their hours and park rules. Also, be sure to visit the Interpretive Building, which will help you better understand the plant, animals, and wildlife in the area.