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A Babe Paddling a Sit-On-Top Kayak down Presbyterian Falls on the Mt Fork River in Broken Bow, OK
Kayaking Over Presbyterian Falls on the Mt. Fork River in SE Oklahoma 

 

 

 


 

 

The Magnificent Turner Falls

The Arbuckle Mountains of Southern Oklahoma - Taken at Turner Falls Park.Almost anyone will agree that the star of the show in the Arbuckles is Turner Falls.

Honey Creek cascades down a seventy-seven foot fall to a natural swimming pool, making the majestic Turner Falls the largest waterfall in Oklahoma. A full featured park surrounds the falls. The park is accented with beautiful picnic areas, nature trails, teepee camping, caves, geological wonders, and two natural swimming pools quite unique in nature. You can contact the staff at Turner Falls Park in Davis, Oklahoma Monday-Friday 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. The City of Davis operates the park and its 1500 acres of fun in the "Heart of the Arbuckle's". Call Noland's Teepee Rentals at (580) 247-0212 for information on renting a teepee! 

Turner Falls Park
I-35 and Highway 77
Davis, Oklahoma
580-369-2988
 

Turner Falls - Gem of the Arbuckles

Turner Falls in the Arbuckle Mountains near Davis, OklahomaIf you have never visited Turner Falls Park near Davis, Oklahoma you should make plans to visit soon. The crystal clear waters of Honey Creek cascade down a 70 foot waterfall and form two sparkling blue swimming holes. The waterfall has a beautiful, zen-garden look to it that draws in visual artists from all over the area to capture it in photographs and paintings.

In addition to the two great swimming holes, Turner Falls Park offers a number of scenic hikes, tent camping, teepee rentals and ice cream shop and some light toobing on Honey Creek. To my knowledge, no boating is allowed.

Turner Falls Park is also popular with fun-loving kids and beer-loving adults, so my advice is to try and make a trip during the week. On the weekend, Turner Falls becomes extremely crowded. Also, don't come to this park if you are broke. It cost Dianne, Dylan and myself over $30 just to enter the park.

Turner Falls Park is also popular with fun-loving kids and beer-loving adults, so my advice is to try and make a trip during the week. On Summer weekends, Turner Falls becomes extremely crowded. Also, don't come to this park if you are broke. It cost Dianne, Dylan and myself over $30 just to enter the park.

The Arbuckles of Oklahoma - Trip Report

Since I had a few days of vacation coming, Dianne and I decided to take Dylan to see the Arbuckle mountains region of Oklahoma. These mountains are generally acknowledged as being among the oldest on the Earth. The Arbuckles are thought to have been as massive as the Rockies are today, but millions of years have essentially worn them down to their roots.  Under the quietly crumbling Arbuckle Mountains is the Arbuckle-Simpson aquifer, home of some of the purest spring water in the world.

We had hoped to get out and paddle both the Washita River and Arbuckle Lake in addition to visiting Turner Falls. Due to a number of unforeseen circumstances, we never made it onto Arbuckle Lake or the Washita River. Thankfully, I did get to paddle my kayak around a bit.

Moonlight Bay Chalet

We rented a cabin on a small private lake for our two days in Davis, Oklahoma. The Moonlight Bay Chalet sits right by the waters of a tiny lake surrounded by cabins. The cabin offered 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and a hot tub on the back deck. Also, a canoe and kayak come with the cabin. You can launch and land at a small wooden dock. It sounded perfect for our family.

The cabin was clean and the beds were comfortable. Sadly, the hot tub never really got hot and the cabin never really got cool. Although I enjoyed paddling my kayak around their tiny lake briefly, there really is not much to see.

Checking out of the cabin took longer than expected. When we arrived we were greeted with several signs stating that we were expected to clean the cabin and launder the towels and linens before departing. Although we often wash the towels and stuff before we leave a cabin, this was the first time we arrived to find a task list. The same postings warned that large sums of money would by charged to our credit card for any rule violations.

Despite the rather non-luxury policies at Moonlight Bay Chalet, there is much to enjoy. The cabin is just about two miles from Guy Sandy Creek Boat Ramp on Lake Arbuckle. It is also a short drive to Turner Falls or the historically stinky springs and travertine stairs of Sulphur, Oklahoma.


The Washita River

We drove over the Washita River in a number of places not too far from our cabin. I was expecting the Washita to be clear like Honey Creek or one of the other spring-fed streams in the area. I was surprised to learn that the Washita is as red and muddy as the Deep Fork River that flows through my part of Oklahoma.

The brochure at our cabin stated that the canoe trips down the Washita would cost $30 per person. Since our cash flow was running low and the weather was looking unpredictable, we didn't make the Washita River trip. Hopefully, we will be able to make another trip to this area to float the Washita River and the local lakes. - 06-15-2008

UPDATE 06-30-2011

Washita River Run
580-247-0663
washitariverrun@hotmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

Photo by Thomas Jones - Water from Honey Creek splashing down on the rocks of Turner Falls Park
The Arbuckles date back to 540-440 million years ago in the latest Precambrian and earliest Paleozoic eras. 

These mountains have gradually eroded to their present heights of 300-500 feet above the surrounding terrain.

So, you won't need oxygen for the hiking!

Just a few miles away from Turner Falls is The Arbuckle Wilderness, a drive-though exotic animal park that also features a walk though zoo and a fun park that includes paddle boat rides, go carts, camel rides, arcade, playground and more.

This is Also Lake & River Paddling Country

Veteran's Lake is great for camping with it's quiet park-like atmosphere or for a full range of water activities, the Lake of the Arbuckles is ideal.  If you launch near Guy Sandy Creek on Arbuckle Lake be sure to make time for some Fried Onion Burgers at The Minner Hut just before you reach the boat ramp.

At the foothills of the Arbuckles you'll find the state's first national park: the Chickasaw National Recreation Area in Sulphur. The town of Sulphur, Oklahoma contains a number of natural sulphur springs and travertine creeks. Here you can enjoy the natural wonder of crystal clear water that smells like egg-salad gone horribly bad. 

Although the old timers thought that bathing in the sulphur water had a healing effect, I doubt that it provided much beyond a crude side-effect of ...birth control. If you visit, try not to hurl into the fountains.

Lake Murray

Oklahoma's oldest and largest state park, Lake Murray lies just seven miles south of the town of Ardmore, Oklahoma. Built as a WPA project in the 1930's, the park's 12,400 acres feature a beautiful crystal clear 5,700 acre lake. The associated amenities make Lake Murray a regional destination. The park includes a 50 room lodge, 81 cabins and numerous campsites and even Canoe Rental I have been told!
 

Arbuckle Lake or Lake of the Arbuckles

You can reserve a canoe, kayak, or paddle boat for use on Lake of the Arbuckles in the beautiful Arbuckle Mountains of Southern Oklahoma. Call 580-622-5790 or 580-618-1123

Canoe 50.00 for 4 hours or 80.00 for 8 hours
Kayak 50.00 for 4 hours or 80.00 for 8 hours
Tandem Kayak 65.00 for 4 hours or 95.00 for 8 hours

Arbuckle Boat Rentals
PO Box 461
Sulphur, OK 73086

Phone: 580-622-5790

The Washita River

Spring and early Summer are the best times to catch the Washita river with it dark red water flowing deep enough for paddling. This is Oklahoma's own version of the Grand Canyon. Southeast of Davis, Oklahoma the Washita River cuts through the granite in the Arbuckle Mountains, carving out a river valley with 350 foot walls running for about 15 miles.

In the past, an outfitter offered trips of 7.5, 13.4 or 21.9 miles can be taken between US Highway 77 off SH 7 south of Davis down to SH 53 east of Gene Autry.  Here is an outfitter I saw listed on Facebook:

Washita River Run
580-247-0663
washitariverrun@hotmail.com



Other Area Fun Spots


Ardmore Community Waterpark
506 3rd St. NE
580-223-2147
www.ardmorecity.com

Once a fifty year old swimming pool, the Ardmore Water Park is now the city's newest recreational attraction with all the elements of a major water theme park. The new Water Park features twisting slides, water basketball, and a zero-depth entry pool for young children.

Photo taken while kayaking by Elephant Rock on the Illinois River near Tahlequah, Oklahoma
Taken while floating The Illinois River near
Tahlequah, Oklahoma.

 

Can You Find Gold in Oklahoma?

  • Gold Prospecting is not just for Alaskans & Californians. Prospectors say the hills near Turner Falls have gold deposits left when glaciers moved across the landscape.
  • The Wichita mountains in SW Oklahoma are filled with tales of lost treasure and small fortunes being made. Placer gold can still be found in the creeks Southern Oklahoma.
  • Around 1890, Oklahoma prospectors found old Spanish mines and evidence of considerable gold, silver, and copper mining.
  • By 1895, there was a gold rush in the Wichita Mountains area of Oklahoma.
     

 

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