|Address:||901 W 1st St, Sulphur, OK 73086, USA|
This past weekend I needed to get away so I headed over to the Chickasaw National Recreation Area (CNRA) near Sulphur, OK for the first time. Getting to the area is very easy, and is about halfway between OKC and DFW, and right on HWY 7. When I got to Sulphur I went to the Chickasaw Visitor Center. I was mistaken that this was the CNRA visitor center, it is not. I was directed to the Travertine Nature Center actually inside the park. The nature center is a good place to get information about the CNRA, see a few exhibits (including some live animals) and buy some souvenirs. They also have a video you can watch but I skipped that. Driving into the park to the nature center the road takes you along Travertine Creek where it looks like most visitors hang out at. There were people everywhere swimming in the creek. Little Niagara (which is nothing like the real Niagara) is close by the visitor center and very crowded. From the nature center I walked to the Antelope Springs and Buffalo Springs. The trail is pretty and easy to walk (you can probably roll a wheel chair or stroller on it if needed). It’s gorgeous and looks like something not in OK. There is plenty of camping at CNRA. Central and Cold Springs campgrounds looked packed, noisy, and families. The ranger advised me to Rock Creek, which was a lot quieter. Campsites are what you expect to find in National Park campgrounds – large parking space for camper, flat space for a tent, table, lantern holder, water & trash close by and bathrooms scattered about. The site I got was very wooded. No showers in this part of the park but the campsite host said there were some in Buckhorn campgrounds. Cost was $14 a night. I Drove down to Buckhorn on Lake of the Arbuckles to explore a little. There is a boat ramp with large amounts of parking, and campgrounds looked about average. Drove back up and opted for an afternoon hike. I took Trail 1 down to where it meets Trail 3 and then looped back up. Took about 2 hours. It was hot and steamy. There had been a lot of rain and the trail was muddy. Crossing the creek at the beginning was tricky due to the high water. It looks like it normally would be fine though. It’s a multi-use trail and the horses had torn up the trail pretty bad in some places. Overall it was an average hike, nothing spectacular, but there were decent views when you get up on top of the ridge. Saw lots of birds and a bobcat. There is some up and down on the trail. The good thing about it, you can always turn around or do different variations due to the different loops. After my hike I cooled off in Travertine Creek. It’s rumored that the water has healing powers, but since I cut my leg on a vine and hurt my feet I can’t confirm that…After cooling off I went to Veterans Lake and kayaked and fished. No luck on fishing but the lake was beautiful to be out on and I spent a couple hours on it. The next morning I walked around the lake. It’s 2.9 miles and is an easy walk and is paved the whole way. Was a pretty morning. Drove out to the other side of the park and went to Eagle Bay Boat Launch (did not go to The Point). Kayaked up the Guy Sandy Creek a ways. Was able to get slightly past the gravel road north of there but then the current got to strong and it was too much effort to try to paddle up it. Still had bad luck fishing but it was a beautiful day to paddle around. Note – there is supposed to be a fee to launch a boat there but I did not see a kiask to pay. A guy said you can pay at Guy Sandy a few miles further down. Another note for paddlers – the ranger said you can kayak down Rock Creek from Rock Creek Campground. I would advise having transport at The Point because you are not going to be able to make it back up. Overall, a good park, especially for central OK. Great for families, especially to play in the water. There were huge picnic areas and pavilions great for large gatherings. So I recommend heading out to it and cool off in the creek or go boating on the lake!
It was very nice when we were here in late April. Quiet and beautiful. The park ranger, however, told us that after that week, wed never be able to get a camp spot because it is so crowded. He wasnt very nice about it either~ like he was trying to scare us off. (My husband is 68, and we are the furthest thing from scary people youd want to keep out...ha) You cant make reservations on the west side of the lake, only in the RV sites, and we dont like that. We prefer to KNOW we will have a place to sleep before we drive 150 miles to get to a park. Beautiful place, but if its that crowded, and you cant make reservations, then its OFF of our list of places to go, and we travel constantly. The town is really cute, and theres a Walmart there, and tons of other stuff. Also, if you go, be sure and buy your firewood from the nice ol fella who sells it from his house just west of the Braums. Hell sell it to ya 24 hours a day. Cool guy!
We originally traveled over an hour to go to Turner Falls, but the park was closed before 10 AM except for pre-paid tickets. Instead, we came here. There are nice picnic areas with grills on a little inlet and the beach is fantastic. Its small rocks. Im used to clay. The other people that spent their day here were pleasant and no one was disrespectful. The water was warm, but felt cool in late July. It was absolutely perfect. For us it is a long drive, but we made the trip worth our time. It is a great place to bring kids because there is a decent shallow area and the area has plenty of room for families or groups. My only complaint is that there is no water in the outhouse so the toilets are just open pits. Sometimes you will get a wiff of human excrement if the wind is blowing right.
Wonderful park that borders the south of charming Sulphur, just down the street from the Artesian Hotel. Its got swimming holes and small waterfalls, hiking trails, a nature center, tent camping and pavilions for picnics. You can actually hike to the top of Bromide Hill and see all of Sulphur, great hike! And if youre lucky, you might even see deer crossing your path. Also, at the top of Bromide Hill is a parking lot thats next to Arbuckle Lake which also has a great hiking trail around it. If you can get over the "sulphur" water smell, youre in for a treat with lots of trees, creeks to wade in, etc. Great for the entire family!
Claudia Aita Costa
This beautiful little oasis is heavenly. Immaculate, clear spring waters flow down meticulously arranged CCC-made cascades which divide a vast oak forest. Camp sites are maintained and clean, and the camp hosts are friendly and knowledgeable. I gave it only 3 stars because there is one park ranger who has been rude in more than one occasion. He has been by far the rudest, most angry ranger I have ever met. Actually, he is the ONLY rude ranger I have met, all others have been kind and full of great information. Because of him we now avoid this beautiful place.