Hike into fall at an Oklahoma state park

As cooler weather arrives, hit the trails in Oklahoma for a memorable outdoors experience.
BY KELI CLARK Published: September 2, 2012
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The long, hot days of summer are slipping away with the arrival of the fall season and the refreshing cooler weather.

If you're experiencing seasonal confusion and summer withdrawal, there is a prescription to cure your ailment: Step outside. Take a deep breath of fresh air, lace up your hiking shoes and hit the trails. Less intense temperatures between seasons make it comfortable for hiking, and spending time outdoors invigorates the soul.

The Centennial Trail at the Washita National Wildlife Refuge in western Oklahoma is a three-tenths-mile nature trail that loops through a small area of the refuge. The outdoor education trail features a hard surface, which is suitable for wheelchair access.

It's also a great place for power walkers who enjoy being outdoors and like the convenience of a paved trail. Interpretive signs along the way point out the wildlife and vegetation found in this area, and a short boardwalk leads to the observation deck where scopes are set up to view the marshland.

At the Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge near Jet in northwestern Oklahoma, the Eagle Roost Trail is a 1.25-mile interpretive nature trail that takes you through a variety of habitats. The diversity of landscape along the trail includes wetlands, woodlands, prairies and a bay area. The refuge is a breeding ground for birds and during this time of year some of the migrating waterfowl can be spotted.

Another attraction to check out while on the trail is the array of plant life. Grasslands, fallen trees and the wooded areas are home to many kinds of birds and animals. Be sure to include binoculars in your backpack when hiking this trail and possibly a notebook to list all of the different wildlife you'll see.

A system of trails at Baldy Point Natural Area at Quartz Mountain offer hikers a variance of scenic landscape and diverse terrain. These trails have been in existence for years and have been upgraded and improved.

Beginning at this location, Summit Point Trail leads hikers to the picturesque north side where climbers have access to the ascent and descent routes. The flat grade increases as you climb further toward the summit, rating it as a moderate trail. Along the way, the granite rock formations and massive boulders emphasize the special qualities found in this area.