Hiking group showcases Oak Leaf Trail at lake Okmulgee

Lake Okmulgee was the perfect hiking destination last weekend as mild temperatures and a thundering spillway attracted a group of hikers from both in town and around the state. The group has been getting together to hike at the lake since November 2016 to showcase the Oak Leaf Nature Trail.

The path has trailheads at both the Red Oak and Pin Oak areas and is about 1.5 miles in length. A paved path extends for about a quarter-mile from the Red Oak trailhead then enters a more rugged, unpaved lakeside section near the Blackjack area. Beyond Pin Oak, the trail can be extended to the dam for a walk to the top of the spillway, making the hike a total of about two miles. On the return leg, the trail ascends an incline to the lake's scenic overlook, a refreshing stop before ending the walk with a short downhill section.

Much of the trail was originally built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the 1930s and CCC stone staircases are scattered along the hillsides, making for some intriguing side trips.

Joining group leaders Julie Roberds of Okmulgee and Susan Dragoo of Norman were Mary Lewellen and Linda Brydges, both of Okmulgee, Marlie Sawyer of Beggs, Rhonda Muzljakovich and Lisa Knappe of Bartlesville, and young Jack Flanary, grandson of Roberds.

"The lake is an outstanding recreational resource for the community," said Dragoo. "It has some of Oklahoma's most beautiful camping and the Oak Leaf Trail is both beautiful and historical. More Okmulgeeans should get out to explore it, and join us for another group hike in the fall."

Lake maps and historical information are available at travelok.com/listings/view.profile/id.5520. Follow Dragoo and Roberds on Facebook at facebook.com/susan.dragoo.9 and facebook.com/juliemonigoldroberds for upcoming hike information. See susandragoo.com for more on travel, outdoor adventure, and history in Oklahoma.

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