Keystone Ancient Forest - Sand Springs, OK
The Keystone Ancient Forest in northeast Oklahoma has been around for centuries: the oldest tree found in the forest is over 500 years old. 300-year-old post oaks and 500-year-old cedar trees invite visitors into a quiet, uncultivated wilderness. Take in the fresh air and the spectacular views from within the forest, which is situated on scenic Keystone Lake. Inhabitants of the Keystone Ancient Forest include deer, American eagles, bobcats, migratory birds, and over 80 species of butterflies.
This serene 1,360-acre nature preserve is open four days a week and offers several well-maintained primitive hiking trails ranging from easy half-mile hikes to challenging four-mile trails. Located just off the parking lot, the paved Childers Trail is ADA accessible and takes about 15 minutes to complete. Spurring off of the Childer's Trail, the 2.8-mile Frank Trail is a moderately difficult-rated trail of compacted stone and bare soil. For a longer, more challenging hike, try the Wilson Trail or the Falls Trail. Volunteer trail guides are on-site to answer questions and help you on your way.
The Keystone Ancient Forest totals 1,380 acres and protects a prime example of cross-timbers woodlands, including some of the oldest known living eastern redcedars. Until the establishment of the preserve, there has been no park or preserve dedicated to these historic forests.
While some consider the area's beauty subtle, its history is anything but that. European explorers wandered these woods while Indian tribes called it home, well before these lands were known as America.
Since 2007, they have been welcoming guests to explore the history among 300-year-old post oak and 500-year-old cedar trees. With the recent addition of the Visitors Center, the preserve is now open every Thursday thru Sunday for hiking activities. This hidden gem is quickly becoming Oklahoma’s premier hiking destination.
Open hiking hours are:
- Thursday 7 am-2 pm
- Friday 7 am-6 pm
- Saturday 7 am-6 pm
- Sunday 7 am-6 pm
You will be amazed at different animals and creatures you can see in the forest, like Deer, mountain lions, bobcats, American eagles, migratory birds, and over 80 varied species of butterflies inhabit this place. So enjoy, but please leave only footprints during your hike.
Volunteer trail guides help staff the parking lot and monitor each hike event. You can hike alone, or if there are enough trail guides available and you choose to, someone may hike with you to help interpret the forest landscape and this interpretative project in the making!
No reservations are needed. Pets are allowed on select hikes with your dog days. Wear comfortable hiking attire, sunscreen, and bug spray if you would like.