By Don Lowe

Residents and visitors to Northeast Oklahoma who enjoy the great outdoors will likely be spending time at several locations in and around the Grand Lake area that are ideal for activities such as walking, jogging and biking, as well as simply seeing and hearing all the sights and sounds Mother Nature has to offer.  

We’re thrilled to share a few of these terrific locations that are sure to make for a delightful time spent outside and provide you with a truly amazing adventure. 

Bernice State Park – This park features a 1-mile paved walking and jogging path that is handicapped accessible. There are two wildlife watch towers, a nature center and a 66-acre wildlife refuge. The refuge has a half-mile paved nature trail that has benches along the way and primitive trails for you to wander off the beaten path. 

You can walk along the lake, but it is rocky so be sure to wear appropriate shoes and watch for critters along the way. 

From the Horse Creek Bridge, through the camping area into the woods and ending at S550 Road, is two miles round-trip paved. Half of the trail wanders through the woods. 

Cardinal Nature Trail – (Cleora) This is approximately 2 miles if you walk along the fence lines that are mowed but not marked on the map. There is a nature outdoor learning center with a lake view in the middle of your walk. It’s considered an easy to moderate hike with woody trails up and down it, while the mowed area is flat. 

Har-Ber Village Museum & Nature Trail – (Grove) Experience history of a pioneer-era village on a self-guided tour through 6 acres and nearly 100 exhibits located on the shores of Grand Lake o’ the Cherokees. Antiques, collectibles and reproductions are displayed to represent the mid-1800s to the early 1900s in the Four-State Region. 

The nature trail is nearly 2 miles in length and is pet-friendly, while providing a ¾-mile section that is accessible for strollers, wheelchairs and other non-motorized vehicles.

Lendonwood Gardens –(Grove)  This is a beautiful 8-acre botanical garden near Grand Lake. Shady pathways meander through more than 1,000 types of plants, including azaleas, dogwoods, peonies, hostas, evergreen trees and more. 

There are several collections of plants, such as false cypress, daylilies, rhododendrons and Japanese maples. Lendonwood is also home to the Oklahoma Garden, featuring “Oklahoma Proven” plants designated by the Oklahoma State University Extension program. 

Monkey Island Trail – This is a concrete trail that stretches a total of 4 miles there and back. It’s considered to be an easy hike that follows along housing and a golf course. A little stretch of it is not paved. 

Natural Falls State Park – Features 4.5 miles of hiking and nature trails. The Dripping Springs Trail and Waterfall is in West Siloam Springs, Oklahoma. 

The main attraction is the 77-foot waterfall along the Dripping Springs Trail. It is an easy 1.3-mile loop trail that is perfect for all ages and features the waterfall, as well as a winding creek, caves, bluffs and bridges. 

Other trails in the park include Bear Trail, Ghost Coon Trail and Fox Den Trail. 

Rotary Centennial Park – (Miami) This park provides 7 acres with a 1-mile walking path. There is convenient parking and security lighting for safety.