Mountain Biking Oklahoma

Little Bugaboo Creek/Whiskey Flats Ride

There is a place in southeast Oklahoma where they are begging for you to come ride. It is a wildlife management area called McGee Creek Natural Scenic Recreation Area. There are miles of technically tough single-track and more miles of easy double-track to explore. I will combine both into the focus of this chapter. You will begin with a delightful piece of rocky single-track, then connect to another that winds down to McGee Creek Lake. This part is fairly hard riding. Then you will backtrack to find your return route, an easy gravel double-track back to the parking area.

The Little Bugaboo Creek Trail is miles of rocky but mostly flat singletrack"hike and bike" trail. It follows Little Bugaboo Creek from a point near the headquarters building to a clearing in the dense trees where several other trail meet. From there you will follow the sign that directs you onto the Whiskey Flats Trail, an old roadbed that meanders along the side of the valley for about one and one-half miles. The end is in the bottom of the valley-a stretch of McGee Creek Lake known as the Quiet Water Zone.

After you have rested for a moment, it is time to begin the climb out of the valley. Your return will not be dismount-free, because the loose rocks will guarantee the need to walk up a few steep sections. It is a pretty good grind up the hill to where the other trails converge, and when you get there you will be happy to jump on the South Rim Road for about two miles of easy downhill double-track back to the headquarters area. Once back you will have covered about seven miles or so.

I like it here. It is pretty, it is extremely quiet, and they love mountain bikers. This just might be an ideal place to go when it is wet and mushy in Texas. There is ample opportunity for recreating in this park. There are hiking trails, equestrian facilities, a lake for fishing, and plenty of room to roam.

Finding the trail: From US 69/75 at Atoka go east on OK 3 about 20 miles to the Centerville Store. There is a sign at the store directing you north to McGee Creek NSRA. From there follow the paved road north for about 10miles, to where it enters the park. You must register with the officials at the headquarters and let them know your riding plans before starting. Park in the fenced area on the west side of the park road just inside the gate from the headquarters building. The trailhead is behind the headquarters and is marked by a sign. Follow the double-track until you find the sign showing where the single-track of Little Bugaboo Creek Trail splits off to the left. Follow the yellow flagging-tape markers and stay on the single-track until you reach the clearing where the signs indicate the South Rim Road and Box Spring Camp area. The Whiskey Flats Trail exits next to a sign on the west side of the clearing, near where you enter. Follow the blue flagging tape to where the trail ends at the lake. Turn around and go back the way you came until you are again in the clearing with all the signs. Go right out of the clearing onto the double-track and ride south on the South Rim Road until you are once again at the headquarters building.

Notes on the Trail: There are many more miles of trails 'in the park than I can describe in a few short chapters. For a place to get away from it all and listen to the birds tweet, you will not find many that will be more hospitable and have more to offer than McGee Creek Natural Scenic Recreation Area (McGee Creek NSRA to those who prefer acronyms).

The area where the trails are is locked behind a gate from about 6 P.M. until about 8 A. M. If you do not plan to wrap up your riding until after hours, then you need to park outside the gate, near the headquarters building.

For now there are primitive camping facilities here, but a campground with RV pads, water, and electricity is planned for the area near the entrance.

Equestrian use of the trails in this park extends Into areas that are not officially sanctioned for horses. Be nice and offer them the proper courtesies. For the present what this place needs more than rules is people using the facilities. Invite your friends.

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