Explore the wilder parts of the metro Oklahoma City area 

Want to get away from it all? There's no need to drive for hours or hop on a plane to commune with the great outdoors. Nature is closer than you might think.

The metro is a sprawling giant, all subdivisions, highways and retail outlets. But that size means that tucked into corners and pockets between the developments are nature escapes " oases of water, hills and trees.

Looking to forget about the office with a bracing walk, but still need to be close to fabulous shopping and dining? Check out Edmond's Hafer Park. How about feeling completely isolated, like the closest outpost of civilization is a three-day hike away? Escape to Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge.

Whether searching for a morning hike, a mid-afternoon stroll or an all-day adventure, metro trails cover all the bases.

Grab your hiking poles, a sack of granola, and get going.

Martin Park Nature Center, 5000 W. Memorial

No. of Trails: 4 Total Miles: 3.5 miles Trail Surface: gravel, hard-packed dirt  Environment: mostly wooded with some open meadows, water, moderate slopes 

Bluff Creek Park, 4327 W. Hefner

No. of Trails: 1 multi-use  (a second 1.5-mile trail will open later in the year) Total Miles: 3.5-mile loop Trail Surface: dirt track Environment: narrow, winding trails through mostly wooded, hilly areas 

Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge, 5101 N. Stinchcomb

No. of Trails: Multiple trails on more than 1,000 acres Total Miles: 2 miles + Trail Surface: dirt track Environment: marshlands, four  lakes, wooded areas

South Lakes Regional Park, 4210 S.W. 119th

No. of Trails: 3 connected loops Total Miles: 1.5 miles Trail Surface: paved Environment: rolling parkland, arboretum, lakes 

Oklahoma River, multiple entry points

No. of Trails: 2 multi-use Total Miles: 6 miles north trail; 7 miles south trail Trail Surface:  paved Environment: along the  Oklahoma River 

Arcadia Lake, 9000 E. Second, Edmond

No. of Trails: 1 multi-use (also a separate  equestrian trail) Total Miles: 6.5 miles one way Trail Surface: dirt track Environment: wooded areas, open meadow, water (including one creek crossing)

Hafer Park, 1034 S. Bryant, Edmond

No. of Trails: 1 Total Miles: 1.5-miles loop Trail Surface: paved Environment: mix of wooded areas, meadows, manicured park lawns

  Mitch Park, 1501 W. Covell, Edmond

No. of Trails: 2 Total Miles: 2.8-mile main loop, 1.8 miles of inner trails Trail Surface: paved Environment: some hilly sections, heavily wooded

"Jenny Coon Peterson

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