Our part of Oklahoma is so flat that we can see a mountain from our kitchen window that’s 20 miles away. After looking at it every day for over a year, I realized we’d only explored one of its trails. It was time to change that.
When I say we have mountains here, they’re not the mountains that I normally think of. Picture a big pile of rocks fused together. Bigger than a hill, but not quite a mountain. If giants made rock piles, that’s what southwestern Oklahoma’s mountains are.
Whether they fit your traditional picture of mountains, they are striking. The almost orange of the rocks contrasted with a cloudless blue sky and nearly neon green lichen is beautiful. Somehow I love it more in the cooler months – the sharpness of a chilly day makes it even better.
Quartz Mountain is technically the very western end of the Wichita Mountains, which we love exploring via the Wildlife Refuge. We hadn’t explored trails in the main area. We’d hiked Quartz Mountain’s Baldy Point area before, which is primarily a rock climbing area. The town surrounding Quartz Mountain feels a bit like a mountain resort, faded but still surviving. There’s a miniature amusement park for kids with slides and a little ferris wheel. The nearby lake is where we’ve taken Wedge to try to convince him to swim, and a quiet golf course sits nearby.
We decided to check out the New Horizon trail. From the map it looked like one of the longer trails and promised a great view from the top of Quartz Mountain itself. My mountain-man husband doesn’t believe in hiking if there aren’t views, so OBVIOUSLY this was the trail for us.
The trail starts out well enough. There’s a sign at the entrance, complete with parking and picnic tables. However, after less than 100 yards, the trail is almost completely unmarked. Essentially, you choose your own adventure to get up the mountainside.
Our 85 pound German Shepherd pup who’s usually up for anything did not have a good time. We climbed all the way to the peak, thinking from the top we’d find the trail and make our way down on a less steep trail. No dice: there seriously was no trail. We ended up having to cajole him back down the mountain on steeper jumps than he had any interest in taking.
Don’t get me wrong – it’s beautiful and 100% worth it when you get to the top. But this hike isn’t dog or little kid friendly.
Prepare to do some bouldering! It was really fun to scramble up the mountainside and then find our way back down. And check out these views from the top!
If you’re looking for an adventurous trail in Quartz Mountain, the New Horizon trail is perfect! Just don’t take your dog. They’ll thank you for it later.
Opinions are my own & I didn’t receive compensation for my writing. All images copyright Teaspoon of Nose.