Explore the Chickasaw National Recreation Area

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. 

5 things to do at the Chickasaw National Recreation Area:

  1. 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! 


  1. Camp at one of the campgrounds

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!


  1. 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 ArbucklesVeterans Lake, Rock Creek, or Travertine Creek. 


  1. 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! 

  1. Take a bike ride around the CNRA

Explore the recreation area on a bike. You can rent bikes from the Chickasaw Nation Visitor Center in downtown Sulphur or bring your own. Remember to be safe and follow all bike laws in the area. 

We hope you have a great time exploring the Chickasaw National Recreation Area this summer! And remember, use #VisitChickasaw on all your photos. Who knows? We might use it on our social media. 

Keep exploring,



(Originally published on April 9, 2018. Updated on April 12, 2019.)


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