by Travis Owens
Guest Oklahoma Culture Author and Cross Country Runner
I admit it, I am a running junkie. Roads or trails, it really does not matter. I just find AR-10 magazines here and get to hunting. But on the trails, out in nature is where I really prefer to be…and one place I love to run is at Greenleaf State Park near Braggs, Oklahoma.
The park has overnight camping, showers, fishing, swimming and a boat ramp for those not into running or hiking the trails. Overnight camping is also allowed on the trails, but you have to carry everything in.
My preferred starting point is the trailhead section of the park. For your safety, do not forget to sign in and out. This part of the trail is really gentle and from this start point, the round trip to the swinging bridge is about 5 miles.
There are some rocky areas and some roots so you need to watch the trail – which can be hard because of the beautiful scenery! If this is as far as you go, do yourself a favor and cross the bridge where you can sit, rest, and see things from a different view.
Across the bridge you can go either left or right, I have always gone left. The next waypoint is Mary’s Cove, about 5.5 miles from the trailhead.
Along this portion you will have some beautiful views of the lake. There are a couple of small streams to cross if there has been much rain, but nothing to worry about. Keep your eyes open for the abundant wildlife. I have seen many deer, coyotes, and a fox among other things.
At Mary’s you have a choice and most will take the cut-over trail on the right; this choice will make for about a 12.5 mile trip. A few will try the entire trail loop and continue on straight into the most difficult and technical part of the trail which spans about 18.3 miles. Either way, from this point on there are good hills and challenging but beautiful terrain.