Arbuckle Mountains - Outdoor Playground
The Arbuckle Mountains of south-central Oklahoma harbor an outdoor paradise featuring a rolling landscape dotted with waterfalls, lakes and hiking trails. Explore two Arbuckle treasures - Turner Falls Park and Chickasaw National Recreation Area.
|Photo: Lisha Newman|
Nature lovers and water sports enthusiasts will find plenty of outdoor adventure in the ancient Arbuckle Mountains of south-central Oklahoma.
Turner Falls Park - Davis
Just about a mile off I-35 lies one of the most beautiful sights in Chickasaw Country. Turner Falls is one of Oklahoma's tallest waterfalls, dropping 77 feet into a natural pool. Located on Honey Creek in the Arbuckle Mountains near Davis, Turner Falls draws thousands of visitors each year who enjoy swimming, hiking, horseback riding and camping.
Located in the Arbuckle Mountains, which are among the oldest mountains on earth, Turner Falls Park has been described as one of the three geological windows into our past, along with the Grand Canyon and the Black Hills of South Dakota. These ancient mountains have been exposed to the elements and eroding longer than younger ranges, so they aren't the tallest mountains, but they are a beautiful backdrop for an outdoor adventure.
The highlight of Turner Falls Park is the clear water that flows throughout the park creating rippling creeks and natural swimming pools perfect for keeping visitors cool on hot summer days. The crown jewel of the park's watery playground is the picturesque waterfall. Visitors to Turner Falls Park will also enjoy hiking along the nature trails and exploring the park's three caves. Campers will find RV and tent campground areas as well as an abundance of privately-owned cabins for rent near the park.
Chickasaw National Recreation Area - Sulphur
Just a few miles from Turner Falls Park is another outdoor gem - Chickasaw National Recreation Area in Sulphur. Formerly known as Platt National Park, the Chickasaw National Recreation Area offers natural beauty, a variety of watchable wildlife and rich history. The park was once known by the local American Indians as the "peaceful valley of rippling waters" and the spring-fed waters were believed to have healing properties. For over 100 years, people have visited this area to picnic, hike, swim, boat and camp.
The highlight of Turner Falls Park is the clear water that flows throughout the park creating rippling creeks and natural swimming pools
Travertine Creek, which runs through the park, features many small waterfalls and swimming holes. One of the favorite swimming areas is the Little Niagara area where two waterfalls create a unique water playground. The creeks are fed by fresh water mineral springs and residents of the area are often seen filling jugs of the mineral water for use at home.
Boasting a union of two different ecosystems, the Chickasaw National Recreation Area offers outdoor enthusiasts the diversity of the eastern deciduous forest and the mixed-grass prairie. Hike the park's 22 miles of trails leading through hardwood forests, across prairies and along flowing creeks with small waterfalls. From the trails, hikers can also watch the park's resident buffalo herd and find scenic views of the Lake of the Arbuckles and Veterans Lake. The Rock Creek Multi-Use Trails within Chickasaw National Recreation Area offer opportunities for both hiking and mountain biking.
Nestled within the Chickasaw National Recreation Area, the unusually clear Lake of the Arbuckles has been rated as the best in the state for bass fishing by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. With 36 miles of shoreline, the Lake of the Arbuckles offers plenty of room for fishing and water sports of all types.
The Chickasaw National Recreation Area offers six campgrounds with 410 campsites, so after a day of hiking you can unwind with your family at the campground. The shady forest, along with the streams and mineral waters, create a relaxing getaway for the whole family.