Two for One at Chickasaw National Recreation Area

Experience two parks in one at Chickasaw National Recreation Area! Reconnect with your country, your environment, your family and yourself at the beautiful Lake of the Arbuckles or at the Platt Historic District – both located within Chickasaw National Recreation Area.

Platt Historic District
While the site is known for its gorgeous hiking trails, breathtaking sunsets, awesome camping opportunities and variety of educational and historic activities, Chickasaw National Recreation Area is best known for its water. The park's waters have always been one of its greatest attractions, and the protection of these springs was the primary reason for the establishment of the Sulphur Springs Reservation in 1902. Arbuckle-Simpson aquifer, which underlies more than 500 square miles in south-central Oklahoma, is the principal water source for approximately 39,000 people in the region. The Platt Historic District also houses a number of springs and freshwater sources, with the most famous being the Little Niagara waterfall at Travertine Creek.

The park’s cold-water mineral springs are enclosed in pavilions or pools and are shaded by groves of large, old trees. This is a pleasant and comfortable setting to bathe in or admire the springs. The central portion of the Platt Historic District contains the most significant sulphur springs at Hillside Spring, Pavilion Spring, and Black Sulphur Spring. In addition, Flower Park contains pools of sulphur water (flowing from the Vendome Well) and mud which historically had some therapeutic qualities attributed to it. The major bromide springs are Medicine Spring and Bromide Spring, both of which are located in the western portion of the park and, appropriately enough, rise from the base of Bromide Hill. The Platt Historic District never hosted a publicly owned bath house, but the National Park Service makes available and maintains the various springs for all visitors.

The Travertine Nature Center is a great place for the whole family to learn about the history and environment of Chickasaw National Recreation Area. The nature center contains exhibit dioramas, live reptiles, amphibians and birds of prey, and an interactive learning area for visitors of all ages. An auditorium at the Nature Center provides opportunities for ranger-led nature programs and video presentations. The Junior Ranger Station is also a great place for young ones to experience this beautiful place hands-on. 

Lake of the Arbuckles
The Lake of the Arbuckles is one of the best fishing lakes in Oklahoma for catfish, perch, bass and crappie. 36 miles of shoreline and protective coves are good for trotlines, the water is unusually clear and trolling is popular. Facilities include campgrounds, trailer spaces, picnic areas, shelters, tables, public restrooms, drinking water, boat docks and boat ramps. There are lots of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors in and around this beautiful lake.

The campgrounds at the Lake of the Arbuckles have sites that will fit most large RVs and provide easy access to the lake. The three campgrounds of the Platt Historic District are ideal for tent and family camping. Experience the environment and enjoy the health benefits of being in the great outdoors.

The park holds within its boundaries a vast diversity of natural resources. These unique flora, fauna, waters and geological formations have withstood the external pressures of man-made and natural changes. The combination of these resources has created an area unlike any in the surrounding territory. The park is known for its beautiful array of wildflowers, which can be seen from March through October. A variety of animals utilize the forests and prairies surrounding the beautiful waters in Chickasaw National Recreation Area. The park is located in the Central migratory flyway and offers incredible bird watching opportunities all year round. The hermit thrush and flying squirrel remain in the deep woods while the white-tailed deer will venture from the interior to the forest edge. Some prairie species such as the Eastern meadowlark, bull snake and the nine-banded armadillo can also be found here. 

For over 100 years the park has been a refuge for outdoor tradition; a protected niche of parkland where styles may change, but where recreation remains a relaxing way of life. 

Image Caption: The beautiful Niagara waterfall at Travertine Creek.
Image Source: NPS