Murray Lake Trails … Riding the West Shore Trails
I knew I wanted to ride the west shoreline on Murray Lake Trails … but I just didn’t have a good plan. However, when I woke up to 20+ mph winds blowing out of the south I came up with a strategy. While eating my cereal I told Cindy of my plan.
“I am going to ride from this campground (called Cedar Cove) on Highway 77S to the north end of the lake with the wind at my back. Then I will bike the west shore trails all the way to their south end, and the dense forest will block the wind. Once at Tucker Tower, I will ride north on the 77S, back to Cedar Cove with the wind at my back again!”
I went on to further explain my proposal, “I figure this will make a loop … a long skinny loop! And the wind will actually help me on the highway!”
Her only response was, “Are you going to be back before dark?”
She was still a little upset with me for riding back to the campground in the dark the previous night. Since I figured the ride would only be about 25 miles, with half being on pavement with the wind behind me, I assured her saying,
“Yup. I will make it easily. I will most likely be back here for lunch.”
Murray Lake Trails Interactive Map
- Click on the icons and tracks for info or driving directions.
- Yellow Track … Riding Pavement.
- Blue Track … Murray Lake Trails.
Riding up the highway 3.7 miles to the trailhead was a breeze, taking me only about 25 minutes. Finding the head of the Anadarche Trail was just as easy. But I figured I would be eating a late lunch, since I had not started the ride until a little past 11:00 am. As long as I could get back before dark!
I had to cross a bridge just a few dozen feet after starting the trail. This bridge marked the first of several I would traverse through the remainder of the day. Why all the bridges?
An aerial view of the terrain around Murray Lake looks as if someone had taken a huge comb and scraped across the surface, leaving ridges of rock running in a northwest to southeast direction for several miles (zoom in and look closely at map above). I later learned the ridges in and around Murray Lake were due to a buckling of the earth’s crust.
Anyway, the shoreline of Murray Lake was very jagged, with frequent narrow inlets. Most of the inlets contained water since Oklahoma had experienced torrential rains the previous year.
The photo at right shows Tucker Tower … built right on top of one of these ridges.
The Anadarche Trail
The Anadarche Trail was relatively straight but rough and rocky, with a lot of climbing to get over the ridges. This Anadarche did not follow the shoreline as closely as some of the other shore trails.
I rode right by the junction for the trail I had biked the previous evening called the Race Loop as well as the rustic cabin and the incredible bridge built by Andy Alexander for his scout project.
After doing 3.9 miles on the Anadache I found myself back to the road for our campground road.
On to the Visitor Center
I crossed the campground road, headed east a couple of hundred yards, and began to ride on the Buckhorn Trail … a two mile dirt ribbon connecting our campground (Cedar Cove) with the Visitor Center.
I dismounted and entered the Visitor Center to get a map of the southern part of Murray Lake’s west shore trails. I knew right where the maps were located since I had obtained one a few days earlier (and left it sitting on the table at camp).
The southern part of the west shore trails connects the visitor center to the Tucker Tower … nine miles of undulating trail right on the edge of Murray Lake’s shoreline.
Red … Yellow …. Blue
My new map had the trip to Tucker Tower broken into three trails (Red, Yellow, Blue), each exactly three miles long. Since the map did not provide any names I am going to refer to them using their colors on the map I picked up in the visitor center.
The Red trail took me as far as Buzzard’s Roost, a campground on a peninsula with a marina next to it. The Yellow trail continued on until I reached another campground called Ski Ramp, also on the shore. Tucker Tower sits right on the tip on a peninsula 3 miles south of Ski Ramp, and the Blue trail brought me there.
Once again, I found myself crossing many foot bridges … the first one less than a mile south of the visitor center. This one was a fancy, metal affair with a patio roof in the center.
Warning! If you ride this trail you must make an immediate left turn once you exit this bridge, or you will find yourself at a dead end on Highway 77S … like I did!
While riding the Red, Yellow, and Blue I came across a couple of interesting sights. One of those was a strange contraption in the cattails near the shoreline … some kind of fish trap or pen, with half submerged chain link fencing and a dilapidated corrugated aluminum roof.
At one place I suddenly got that feeling I was being watched … only to turn and find a face staring at me … a styrofoam face!
The Blue Trail was overgrown and especially hard to follow. Often the trail was masked by a thick layer of fallen leaves. Luckily, someone had placed markers in the trees for the last mile or I would have surely gotten off track.
Murray Lake’s west shore trails finally ended at the when the Blue Trail dumped me onto the short bit of pavement leading to Tucker Tower and an incredible nature center.
I ate an apple and took a few photos before hitting highway 77S … with the wind at my back! I had visited Tucker Tower and the nature center the previous day and the following are a few of the photos I took at that time.
The ride back to Cedar Cove was quite easy. I cruised into camp at 3:52 and made myself a sandwich, hoping Cindy would see I had made it back for lunch!
My plan had worked beautifully. The wind was my helper on the pavement and nonexistent while I explored the trails alongside a gorgeous lake. Murray Lake Trails … not bad! More than I been told to expect in Oklahoma.
During most visits I take many more photos than I can place on a page. To view every image I captured on the Murray Lake Trials … 74 photos in all, please visit my Photo Gallery Site.
The following link can give you all the stats for the Murray Lake Trails … just click on the box below.