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Is Oklahoma the Worst State for the Outdoors? Here Are the Best Places to Get Outside in the Sooner State

Not every state can have endless trails, mountain peaks, surfable waves, or even easy access to the wilderness. Sometimes, these states lacking an outdoor culture are highlighted in a list like this one titled “Worst States for Outdoor Lovers.” Unfortunately for Oklahoma, it’s usually included in articles as not a great place for outdoor fans.

However, the state that may be best known for tornados and the song that uses its namesake has more ways to explore the great outdoors than you may think.

Here’s a look at some of the best ways to get outdoors in Oklahoma. 

Hike the Ouachita National Recreation Trail

This may surprise some, but there is a long trail you can hike in Oklahoma and into Arkansas. The Ouachita National Recreation Trail is 192 miles. The hike can easily take more than two weeks. Elevation ranges from 600 to 2,600 feet, making it a fun challenge for anyone exploring the entirety of Ouachita National Forest.

Go Climbing in the Wichita Mountains

things to do outdoors in Oklahoma
(Source: Joel Moysuh)

The state, known for its prairies, also has rock climbing areas. The Wichita Mountains, which sit near the border with Texas on the west side of the state, are a popular destination for rock climbers in the area. Others visiting the area can enjoy wildlife viewing, kayaking, and camping. 

Explore the Arkansas River

outdoors in oklahoma
(Source: Lucas Alexander)

On the eastern side of Oklahoma, the Arkansas River provides many ways to get outdoors. The river is a popular fishing destination and, in parts, resembles more of the Ozarks than what you generally see across the state. 

See the Waterfall at Natural Falls State Park

Staying on the state’s east side, Natural Falls State Park has a 77-foot-high waterfall. It’s undoubtedly the main attraction in the park. Visitors can head to multiple overlooks for views of the falls. According to Oklahoma’s state website, the park was used to film scenes in the film “Where the Red Fern Grows.”

Check Out the Caves at Robbers Cave State Park

Another state park also provides a unique visit by exploring a cave. Robbers Cave State Park is home to a cave where outlaws like Jesse James used to hide out. Besides the cave, visitors can also mountain bike, go fishing, and enjoy plenty of hikes. 

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