Spring Outdoor Sports: Big Things Are Happening in the Urban Wilderness of Turkey Mountain in Tulsa | Tulsa World Magazine


SSpring will bring new life to the forests of Turkey Mountain, but that’s not the only thing that will emerge as the warmer months arrive.

The Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness trail system is being upgraded and some of the new trails are already open.

The River Parks Authority, working with Progressive Trail Designs to implement the Turkey Mountain Master Plan, has already opened 2 miles of new trails.

This stretch of singletrack is great for hiking and running, but also offers something long sought after in the park: a welcoming stretch of trail for mountain bikers of all skill levels.

Turkey Mountain is a mountain biking favorite, but most of its trails aren’t exactly beginner-friendly. Many challenging trails will remain, but new sections of trail will open up the park to beginners while providing fun features—jumps, bumps, and switchbacks—that will give riders a whole new experience at Turkey Mountain.

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Further work is in progress. By June, a total of 6 miles of new trails will be open and 6 more by the end of July.

There will be periodic trail closures as more work is done (a major facelift of the trails from the lower parking lot to the summit is scheduled to begin in July), but many other routes will remain open to explore.

What the new trails won’t change is the fundamental nature of Turkey Mountain. Its trails meander through black oak, cedar and a colorful array of undergrowth. Deer, armadillos, various reptiles and many more can be seen daily on routes that cross meadows, cruise around ponds and dive into woodland. And you can still see some of Turkey Mountain’s more industrial past, as remnants of well sites from the 1920s oil boom dot the park.

Molly Bixler and Ranger are reflected in a pond as they walk a trail at Turkey Mountain.

Mike Simons, Tulsa World Magazine

While you wait for upgrades to Turkey Mountain, there are a number of other locations and events to watch out for this spring. Some:

If you’re looking for other places to mountain bike, check out Lake Claremore Bike Trails. Closer to home, recent renovations to Lubell Park have made it the newest hotspot to ride. If mountain biking isn’t your thing, you can hike and run at both locations.

Fly fishing in the Illinois River

Paddle sports are becoming increasingly popular and there are plenty of places nearby to try it out.

Tulsa World Magazine File

Interested in getting on the water? Paddle sports are becoming increasingly popular and there are plenty of places nearby to try it out. Some favorite spots for kayakers: Greenleaf State Park near Braggs, or a number of spots on the Illinois River near Tahlequah: Peyton’s Place, Eagle Bluff, Diamondhead and Arrowhead resorts.


Triathletes are seen swimming at Keystone Lake as they compete in the 2021 IRONMAN Tulsa North American Championship. The event returns in May.

Ian Maule, Tulsa World magazine file

Are groceries more your thing? Ironman Tulsa was a big hit last year, and it returns May 22. Watch athletes swim, ride and run a marathon on courses that wind through Keystone Lake, cross three counties and ultimately end in downtown Tulsa. Think you have what it takes to become an Ironman? Visit the registration site and register.

One of the city’s biggest sporting events returns June 10-12 when the Saint Francis Tulsa Tough Bike Races come to town. See some of the sport’s elite ride tough downtown tracks or join Tulsa’s biggest block party on the final day of the event at the Riverside Criterion, also known as Cry Baby Hill. Come watch, sign up to compete, or enjoy the more leisurely Townie Ride this weekend.


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