Hi friends! Kalli here.
I’m one of those people who LOVES where I came from. Since I was a little kid, I’ve found it incredibly special to live in Oklahoma. The people are resilient, hard-working and kind-hearted. I’m fascinated by our history and culture, and absolutely love learning little-known facts about our great state. One of my favorite facts about Oklahoma is … it is home to the Chickasaw National Recreation Area in Sulphur, Oklahoma!
The Chickasaw National Recreation Area has an incredible history. It all began in 1902 as the Sulphur Springs Reservation to preserve the natural springs found in Sulphur. In 1906, it was renamed Platt National Park and became Oklahoma’s only National Park! I’ve been told in the early years of the park, the CNRA attracted more visitors than Yellowstone or Yosemite! As the years went by, the park began to change. In the 1930’s, new infrastructure was built throughout the park and many of these changes are still in the park today. In 1976, Congress abolished Platt National Park and it became the Chickasaw National Recreation Area. Even though the park changed from a National Park to a National Recreation Area, it is still operated by the National Park Service.
If you think the history is cool, just wait until you see the park in person. It’s simply breathtaking. So, I’m inviting you to join me in celebrating one of south-central Oklahoma’s greatest attractions during National Park Week, April 21- April 29! Below are five activities to participate in during National Park Week at the CNRA.
5 things to do at the Chickasaw National Recreation Area during National Park Week:
- Hike Bromide Hill
This is the perfect view point in the park. Rising 140 feet above the base of Rock Creek, it’s a wonderful vantage point of the town of Sulphur and the CNRA. While you’re in the park, take a hike at Veterans Lake, Rock Creek, the Lincoln Bridge and the Bison Pasture. Who knows? You might even see a baby bison calf!
- Camp at one of the 400 camping locations
Spring is the perfect time to camp at the CNRA. The campsites are never crowded and the weather is beautiful. If you’re looking for a place to stay, explore the Central, Cold Springs, Buckhorn, Guy Sandy or the Point campgrounds. Remember to always leave your campground better than you found it!
- Fish at the Lake of the Arbuckles
Grab your fishing pole and tackle box for a fishing day at the CNRA. The recreation area is home to many prestine lakes and creeks perfect for your fishing day. We suggest checking out the Lake of the Arbuckles, Veterans Lake, Rock Creek, or Travertine Creek.
- Explore the Little Niagara and the Sulphur Springs
You can’t visit the CNRA without exploring the Little Niagara. It is a beautiful waterfall in the heart of the recreation area. You should also visit Antelope Springs and Buffalo Springs. You can’t leave the park without trying water from the Sulphur Springs. I hear the water helps with your health!
- Take a bike ride around the CNRA
While you’re at the CNRA celebrating National Park Week, you can also attend one of the park’s events!
Chickasaw National Recreation Area National Park Week Activities:
April 14th : The Gobblers and Hens Turkey Program at the Travertine Nature Center at 2 p.m.
April 21st : Soil information at the Chickasaw Cultural Center from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
April 21st : Upcycled Birdfeeders Junior Ranger recycling make-and-take activity at 2 p.m.
April 24th : Monarch Butterfly information at Travertine Nature Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
April 25th : Bow Making at Travertine Nature Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
April 26th : Common Wildflowers of Chickasaw National Recreation Area presentation at the Anoli' Theater at Chickasaw Cultural Center from 1 p.m. to 1:45 p.m.
April 28th : Wildflower Walk at Veterans Lake and Chickasaw Cultural Center from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
May 5th : Wildflower Walk at Veterans Lake and Chickasaw Cultural Center from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
We hope you have a great time exploring the Chickasaw National Recreation Area this spring! And remember, use #routecc on all your photos. Who knows? We might use it on our social media.