|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
We were out hiking this morning in the Chickasaw National Recreation Area near Sulphur, Oklahoma. This area was given to the Department of the Interior by the Chickasaw nation in 1902 for protection. In 1906, it became Platt National Park. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) built many features in the park, including pavilions, trails, waterfalls, and roads. In 1976 some additional land and other areas were all combined into the Chickasaw National Recreation Area we know today.
Travertine Creek, a major park feature, is fed by many springs, some of which are mineral and sulphur water springs. Our hike followed Travertine Creek toward the east from the Travertine Nature Center. We hiked a total of nearly 4 miles on trails including the Antelope and Buffalo Springs Trail, the Prairie Loop Trail, the Tall Oaks Trail, and the Dry Creek Trail.
The trail to Antelope and Buffalo Springs is a wonderful, wide, and easy walk. These two springs produce a flow of about 5 millions gallons a day that flows into Travertine Creek. Branching off of the Antelope and Buffalo Springs Trail are 3 other trails to allow a wide range of hiking distances to be taken.
Buffalo Springs has a circular rock walkway and seating built around it (by the CCC), while Antelope Springs is unaltered, coming directly out from the rocks in the hillside.
The Prairie Loop Trail crosses the Travertine Creek and up the hillside into an area that once was a large mixed grass prairie. Most of the dominant vegetation now is hardwoods and cedar.
The Tall Oaks Loop Trail also crosses the creek and meanders through an area with stands of cedars and hardwoods, including oaks, elm, sycamore, and others.
The Dry Creek Trail crosses a large rock bridge built by the CCC and up through limestone covered slopes and into an area with patches of mixed-grass prairie and invasive cedars.
Nearly all of these trails are in the shade under wonderful hardwoods, and the proximity to the creeks provides a cool walk in the morning hours, even in the summer time.
I have hiked this area many times, and there is always something new to see. Our trip today did not provide any views of big wildlife, but we did encounter several turtles, frogs, and small snakes. If you are ever near the Chickasaw National Recreation Area, it is definitely worth a visit. The spring-fed creeks are even good for wading and a few deeper swimming holes are waiting to be enjoyed.
See the complete trip report at: