Whether you enjoy hiking, biking or just taking in nature's offerings, Turkey Mountain Park in Tulsa, Oklahoma is for you. This small mountain park includes many different trails to explore, each with a multitude of types of scenery, plants and interesting artifacts from days gone past to experience year around.
A favorite photography spot of my mine, Turkey Mountain, is an adventure for your body and your film cameras. It really has something to offer anyone who is looking to get out and away from the city life and into nature for awhile. It’s a magical escape into the woods, guided by trails sprawling all throughout the park, each trail passing through different parts of the park so that you can experience something new and interesting each time you visit.
Turkey Mountain reaches up above Tulsa, Oklahoma, a hill just high enough to say it’s a mountain, but not so high that it’s a daunting task to climb. Located at 68th and Elwood, it is convenient to most everyone in Tulsa and the surrounding cities. Many people drive past and never experience the park itself, not realizing it’s even really a place to visit, or knowing what they are missing.
The scenery changes from season to season, so going back during the course of the year is a must if you want to really take in the whole experience. You also will have to put some work into visiting each path and exploring the sites that each one contains, as there is a lot there. I go for the trees, and Turkey Mountain is filled with them. But there are many more things from huge interesting rocks, hills and paths reaching all through the park, beautiful flowers that bloom along the paths and in the woods during all times of the year and much more.
The paths themselves are varied in length, type of terrain and difficulty and include around 20 miles of actual walking or biking area to explore. Some reach deep into the woods and take quite a while to complete, others are shorter but offer lots of beautiful scenery for a shorter photographic trip. If you wish for something that is a little more controlled, they also have a nice long paved path that also passes through some wonderful wooded areas and across train tracks, reaching all the way from 61st to 71st streets and winding through the East side of the park.
Hiking or biking the trails is not the only thing you can do at Turkey Mountain. There are many objects to be found, some hidden and some in plain site. All fun to locate and photograph, you will find old oil pipelines, rusted truck parts, rocks, trees and plants, cement pipes, train tracks and much more. All of these things are there, waiting for you to find them and capture them on film.
Along the East side of Turkey Mountain, depending on which trail you take, you will be treated to a view of Tulsa as seen across the Arkansas River. I find the view in certain spots to be very relaxing and some of these spots are only accessible if you stray off the paths.
Keep in mind that it is a nature park filled with plants, and insects as well as some plants that may cause you some irritation if you are allergic to Poison Ivy or similar. So go prepared and try not to stray if you don’t feel comfortable going off path. The best time for off-path adventuring is during the fall and winter months when most of the ground vegetation is dormant and you have a clear view of the ground and the non-marked paths that others have taken over the years.
I’ve been to Turkey Mountain many times and taken many photos and still I find something new and amazing each time I visit.
Are you up to the challenge?
For more information and a map of the trails, please visit the Turkey Mountain Park Website.