Our World – Hiking at Oklahoma’s Keystone State Park

Sunday morning I headed out to Keystone State Park to help with some trail maintenance organized by the Tulsa Urban Wilderness Coalition and the US Army Corps of Engineers. The rough and tough go getters were busy moving big rocks around, me, I always bring my loppers so I walk on the trails picking up litter and lopping off the limbs that might intrude on the hikers, runners, and bikers on the trail. That’s not a very manly job but hey I do what I can do.

Keystone Tree Fur and Feathers

The park is in the cross timbers region of Oklahoma which is dominated by rocks, lots of rocks and thin flinty soil so the trees don’t get very big. They can be very old but just not big. Many of the trees are post oaks and it is amazing the contortions they go through to get enough sunlight.

Keystone rocks hdr

The rocks are amazing as well. Many of them are layers of soft sandstone and harder shales. A gazillion years ago all these rocks were at the bottom of the ocean. Since then through uplift and faulting the rocks are all this way and that way. Luckily the land is very poor for farming and ranching so the animals and plants that live on it are undisturbed for the most part.

Keystone Rock Fur and Feathers

Another one of the dancing trees that seem to sprout right of the rocks.

Keystone creek rocks

The area has small intermittent creeks running through it.


The trails were in great shape. I didn’t have a whole lot of lopping to do or really much of any litter to pick up. Most of the litter I picked up was near the parking lot.


I love the lichen that grows on trees. Despite what you may hear, in the more shady parts the stuff is on all sides of the trees. Northeast Oklahoma is so wet and humid you can’t count on telling north by lichens.

So I finished up after a few hours as did the more studly men. Many of them brought their mountain bikes and did a turn or two on the trails cuz that is what you do if you are a manly man. I went to go find a geocache.

I am linking with Our World Tuesday

16 thoughts on “Our World – Hiking at Oklahoma’s Keystone State Park

  1. Driller's Place

    I think my rock lifting days are behind me as well. That little intermittent stream is a nice feature along the trail and like you, I love photographing lichen and other plants that I find growing on trees. Nicely done Yogi.

  2. Vicki

    We have a trail near us that looks similar to that. It runs along a river, and it’s one of my favorite places to walk.

  3. Pat

    That amount of tree lichen is amazing to see, Yogi! It’s great that you are helping to keep your favorite trails and open space clean

  4. Nancy Chan

    I especially like the first shot. It is wonderful to help maintain the trials for hikers and bikers, whether you are doing the big or small jobs.

  5. Sandy Lee Carlson

    Those are amazing rocks. Looking at your photos, I found myself thinking Oklahoma looks like Connecticut in many ways. We, too, have rocks that stunt the growth of things. The amazing part is how plants work around the obstacles rocks present.

  6. Angie

    Alan – thanks to you and the whole crew for getting out there to do trail maintenance! It is all too easy to take that work for granted. You are the unsung heroes of the outdoors! Love the first photo!

  7. Gaelyn

    Loping is a very important job that I wouldn’t be able to do. I’m more of a litter picker. Thank you for joining in to keep such a beautiful place clean and available. You have so opened my eyes to the beauty found in OK.

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