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The Spring River - Paddle from Kansas to Oklahoma! A river offering camping spots and numerous 'honey-holes' for fishing.

 

Deep Fork River Bridge at Nuyaka
Deep Fork River

 Nichols Lake (trip report) and Jim Hall Lake.

 

 

Flatwater Paddling Near Hitchita, OK & Dewar, OK. Grave Creek to Lake Eufaula.

Morning Mists Over Grave Creek in Hitchita, Oklahoma.We encountered strange mists during our morning of kayaking on Grave Creek in McIntosh County, Oklahoma. As the sun began to peek through the leafy green canopy of treetops, it created tiny, swirling, white tornados. The thin columns of white mists spiraled upward like smoky spirits, rising into the heavens on golden beams of morning sunlight. This particular access to Lake Eufaula is less commonly used than most.  If you paddle upstream you will find it to be more remote than if you go downstream.  Motor boats like to launch here but 90% head straight down toward Lake Eufaula.

Grave Creek in MorningAs you can see from the pictures, Grave Creek might have been just a little creepy, if I had been paddling alone. Since Dianne wanted to sleep late, I paddled Grave Creek with Greg, a fellow kayaker that lives nearby. Kayaking alone is not unknown, but it is unhealthy & anti-social. Kayaking buddies are vital for paddlers.  The shuttle you save may be your own!

Greg is one of the nicest folks you are likely to ever meet. He paddles one of the largest kayaks of my kayaking buddies and he roof racks it on one of the smallest cars.  He is excellent company, but DO NOT park directly in front of OR directly behind his top-heavy Honda. Greg chases fish like I chase sunsets... often and by kayak. You will see his smiling mug on our new Kayak Fishing page.

Greg Kayak Fishing on Grave Creek from his Dagger Edisto. He's not wearing a PFD because he think Summer heat makes him immortal, I guess.Grave Creek bridge over Hwy 266 is a nice boat ramp access to Lake Eufaula near Hitchita, Oklahoma. It offers a few miles of shady, curvy, tree-lined flatwater teaming with beaver, heron, catfish, crappie and alligator gar. My kayaker friend Greg and I met up there for some sunrise kayaking on a fine Friday morning at the end of July.  Best of all, the Highway 266 Bridge access to the Deep Fork River is just a short drive away.  If you camp and Gentry Creek Campground on Lake Eufaula, you can easily paddle Grave Creek in the morning, break for lunch and then paddle the Deep Fork River for the sunset.

I don't know why the area is called Grave Creek.  Like several members of my own family, Native American actor and artist Will Sampson is buried in the local Grave Creek Cemetery in Hitchita. If that is not why they call Grave Creek, then maybe some folks in the past chose to paddle without wearing a Paddling PFD like Greg here. Don't be like Greg, wear your PFD every time you kayak. Can't stand the bulk or the heat, try an inflating PFD. They feature a self-contained CO2 cartridge that fills your Life Vest in a snap!  I am Pro-Lifejacket and I boat.

Although the water level is often too low to interest the big bass boats, they often use it to access Lake Eufaula.  Grave Creek is a great spot for recreational kayakers to enjoy some sunrise or sunset paddling in shady conditions. Expect paved road all the way to the gravel road leading to the parking area. As a side trip or backup paddling location, you will find another boat ramp right on Highway 266 near Hoffman, Oklahoma. This Deep Fork River boat ramp is just a short distance west of the Grave Creek boat ramp.


 

Lodging Around Grave Creek

There are a couple spots near the boat ramp that you could pitch a tent, but I would recommend setting up camp at Gentry Creek Cove Campground, a Eufaula Lake camp a few miles East of Graves Creek.  Other options fairly nearby include the Lake Eufaula Motel and the Checotah KOA off I-40, both offer swimming pools. My advice would be to go with the KOA.  They rent canoes, kayaks and paddleboats onsite and have their own private access to Lake Eufaula. We have visited the KOA twice and found their shower facilities nicer than those we have at home!

Checotah / Lake Eufaula West KOA
HC 68, Box 750
Checotah, OK 74426

Lake Eufaula West Campground
Phone: (918) 473-6511

Reserve Online Now!
Or By Phone: (800) 562-7510 

 

Eating Out Near Grave Creek

Highway 266 Boat Ramp onto Grave Creek access into Lake Eufaula near Hitchita, Oklahoma.After Greg and I paddled Grave Creek down to Eufaula and back, we had worked up quite an appetite.  For eating out near Grave Creek your best bets are to head East on Highway 266 back to Checotah, Oklahoma OR you can head West on Highway 266 to Dewar or Henryetta. Greg and I chose to hit El Charro in Henryetta, OK. I think that their Pescado Mexicana is best piece of fish for sale in Okmulgee county, El Charro has locations in Okmulgee, Glenpool and Henryetta.

If you go back to Checotah, check out Barnstormers BBQ and order the ribs.  Dianne and I just ate there recently and they had the best barbequed ribs I have ever tasted.  Their baked beans, potato salad and sweet potato fries were also exceptionally good.  Sadly, the sliced beef brisket was tougher than any other I have tried. The Lake Eufaula KOA also has a restaurant but I have never eaten there.  We also enjoy Lin Cuisine, Our place and the Katy Grill Cafe in Checotah, Oklahoma as well.

 

Two Great Highway 266 Boat Ramps in Oklahoma


Kayak Fishing on Grave CreekDeep Fork Boat Ramp - From the junction of Highway 266 and Highway 72 west of Checotah, take Highway 266 west approximately 7.5 miles (1 mile west of the Hitchita turn off). On the south side of the highway, there is access to the north side of the Deep Fork Arm of the Eufaula WMA. The Deep Fork River offers many miles of paddling in either direction from this put-in. As far as I know, it is the only boat ramp on this river.



Grave Creek Boat Ramp - From Highway 75 and I-40 at Henryetta (Exit 240B), take 75 north to the third stop light which will be Highway 266 junction. Turn east on Highway 266 through Dewar and go approximately 4 miles. Turn south and continue to access WMA. This accesses the portions of the Deep Fork Arm and the Deep Fork WDU of Eufaula WMA. Continuing west another .7 miles, and immediately upon crossing the Grave Creek bridge, there is an access on the north side of the highway including a boat ramp which gives boat access to the upper end of the Deep Fork Arm of Lake Eufaula (with sufficient lake levels). You with find plenty of peace & quiet, if you paddle upstream from the Grave Creek boat ramp. You cannot usually paddle very far, but the route is shady, shallow, curvy and scenic.

UPDATE: April 10, 2010 - There is another public access to Grave Creek that is upstream from the Boat ramp off Highway 266.  Read all about this Grave Creek Put-in on our kayaking blog at its shiny new web address: Kayak.OklahomaRoadTrips.com and leave us a comment while you are there!  Paddling the upper portion of Grave Creek was very different from the section near the boat ramp.  Dad showed me the creek access and I am happy to share it with my Oklahoma paddling buddies.  Take Cedar off Highway 52 between Morris, Oklahoma and Wildcat Junction (Highway 266), follow it until it crosses Grave Creek at a small cement bridge.

Big Ol' Lake Eufaula

Lake Eufaula is a massive man-made lake with nearly limitless shoreline. As you head south on this massive lake you will the scenery begin to change from plans, to cross-timber woods, to greener forests rich with pine, cedar and juniper. To find the best kayaking on Eufaula, look for the crooked, shady creeks that feed local rainwater into the lake.  The main parts of the lake are so wide open that wind is almost constant.  Waves can get very large here so paddle with care.  Quarter the waves and keep a weather eye on the skies on Lake Eufaula.

Learn about more great kayaking spots around Lake Eufaula.

 

Oklahoma Float Trip Outfitters List for canoe & kayak trips.

  Find a Spray Skirt for Your Kayak.

Canoe and Kayak Stuff for Paddlers

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