New Trails Coming to Turkey Mountain

Big News out today in Tulsa for those of us who love the Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area. The RiverParks Authority has announced that it is beginning the first phase of the Turkey Mountain Master Plan. Construction on thirteen miles of trail will begin this Fall. The trails are being designed by Progressive Trail Design who designs and build trails all over the country.


This is huge news for Tulsa. Six years ago a company announced plans to build an outlet mall on the mountain. It seemed like an unstoppable force but a small group of citizens (the Tulsa Urban Wilderness Coalition) organized opposition to the outlet mall and guess what, the mall decided to go somewhere else in town. And further, that somewhere else, the company scraped off a bunch of dirt and started construction and then quit (they say only temporarily) leaving kind of a big muddy mess. (Thank goodness they didn’t do that on Turkey Mountain is what I say.)


Two years ago the RiverParks Authority got funding to develop a master plan. As part of the process input was provided by thousands of Tulsans on what they wanted Turkey Mountain to look like. What they came up with was wonderful. Check it out here. A great plan but an unfunded plan.

Wagon Wheel Lake

So now they have enough funding for the design and construction of thirteen miles of trail. Professionally designed trail rather than overgrown deer trails.

Lots of races are run on Turkey Mountain every year.

The existing trails on Turkey, although we love them were not designed. They just kind of happened. We have trails that go straight up hillsides and those trails are eroded rocky boulder fields now. The trails are not sustainable and get very muddy after rains where the water puddles up.

Turkey Mountain cleanup June 2015
Several work days per year on Turkey Mountain

The new trails will be more accessible to a wider population segment. I’m pretty comfortable on Turkey Mountain now but it took me years to get that way. I know which trails are almost impossible to traverse. As new trails are built, many of the older trails are going to blocked off and retired to let the land rest. All this is exciting news.


Want to learn more? Listen to the Official Turkey Mountain podcast. Ryan Howell of the RiverParks Authority talks about the problems with the existing trails and the promise of the new. He also talked about restoring the bulk of Turkey Mountain to an Oak Savanna via the use of prescribed burns and removal of non-native species. He also discusses the history of Turkey Mountain including tales of buried gold and Viking explorers.

A new trail being built

Consider joining the Tulsa Urban Wilderness Coalition. It’s a nominal cost and you will find out about work days, which are a lot of fun. TUWC’s scope is all the urban wilderness spaces in Tulsa, not just Turkey Mountain. They have become a resource for other organizations in the Tulsa area. (Full disclosure, I am am member, and all opinions on this blog are my own.) Check out and like their facebook page.

Sunset on the mountain

If you are on instagram follow the Turkey Mountain account. (more full disclosure, I post photos to that account once or twice a week.)

Follow the Turkey Mountain Facebook Account and their Public Trail User Forum also on facebook.

Monarch Way Station on Turkey Mountain built last year as part of Monarchs on the Mountain event last year. The event will be be September 17 to 19 this year. Check out their web page for the details.


You can only legally camp one night a year on Turkey Mountain during an event called Base Camp. It is a fun camping and music festival. This year on October 2 and 3.

It is exciting to see the results of a small group of people who stood up to big corporations and City Hall and won. (Just to be clear, I was not one of those people, but I was cheering them on.)

Linking with Our World Tuesday

14 thoughts on “New Trails Coming to Turkey Mountain

  1. Vicki

    What a great thing! Looks fun to be in on the first stages and can only imagine how much people will love it! So much better than a mall!

  2. DrillerAA

    Congratulations to everyone involved in this project. I know the task seemed daunting in the beginning, but perseverance paid of and Turkey Mountain will be reborn as a park that more and more citizens can enjoy.
    Here in Northwest Arkansas, the trail systems have become world class. Bentonville is considered the mountain biking capitol of the U.S., maybe the world. People are moving here to live just because of the trails. I need to get out and do a photo shoot of some of the examples.

  3. sallie rainville

    Trying again I thought I’d commented here, but it must have got lost in cyberspace. You know how much I love your Turkey Mountain Posts and if I were closer I’d do all those supportive things you mentioned. That was such a wonderful effort by “real people” that continues to pay off. Just wonderful. Also If I lived there, I would be thrilled that they will be adding some trails that will be easier to navigate. Our days of steep hillside trails are well behind us.
    PS: Enjoyed your fun posts below, but am sorry to learn about your State’s poor vaccination record. Even here in blue state Oregon we have some of “those people” and masks are back in — big controversy over requiring them in schools though. One of the times I’m quite glad to be too old to worry.

  4. Pat

    How exciting, Yogi! Not only for the new trails that will open up new vistas for you and others, but also allow the old trail areas to heal from use.

  5. Fun60

    There is something very satisfying about a small group ousting a large corporation. Hope you have many happy hours enjoying those new trails once they opened.

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