Trip Report: Spring Kayaking on Southern Lake Eufaula
(April 19, 2008) Dianne and I headed south this weekend for some
Eufaula Lake kayaking. If you read our blog much you may know that
all of our previous paddling on Lake Eufaula has been on the
northern portion of the lake. Eufaula is an enormous lake, so
traveling from the northern end to the southern end provides quite a
bit of terrain changes.
The water in the northern portion of the lake near Holiday Cove is much redder, due
to the Deep Fork River water that enters the lake there. As you
drive south along Highway 69, the water becomes less red and more of
the sandy brown color of the Canadian River. Also, the numbers of
evergreen trees along the shore increases as you drive farther to
the south and east.
Using our new Oklahoma Water Atlas, we located a boat ramp and
campground called Hickory Point and decided it would be our
destination for sunset paddling on Saturday. Since Highway 69 goes
by several boat ramps on Eufaula, we decided to visit them and have
a look around for good places to launch our two
recreational kayaks. You can launch a kayak just about anywhere
you could wade into the water, but the ideal kayak launch points
include bathrooms, trashcans and good parking. In Oklahoma,
this usually this means a boat ramp.
We first stopped at Oak Ridge campground which sits right off Hwy
69. Naturally, Eufaula is a bit flooded these days. Every campground
we stopped at had some picnic tables and BBQ grills under water.
This suited me fine because I like paddling around in flood
water. When the lake water rises this high it surrounds trees that
are colorful and vibrant. More importantly it creates shady
paddling, one of the many key features that make rivers better for
kayaking than lakes (others include: wind protection, boat traffic
and current). The flood water often creates excellent new
boat launch areas for kayakers.
I found Oak Ridge to be a nice, well-equipped Lake Eufaula
campground that was easy to find. BTW, Highway 69 is a great road to
explore if you want to see a lot of Lake Eufaula. It runs roughly
along the same route as the Indian Nations Turnpike, but Highway 69
is FREE and leads to a whole lot more boat ramps and campgrounds on
Lake Eufaula. Frankly, the Indian Nations Turnpike in this area is
no bargain! Countless miles of barriers and Men-at-Work signs with
no working men to be seen abound on this busy turnpike.
We paddled around at Oak Ridge for a few hours and then headed to
McAlester for lunch. The Meeting Place is the name of the downtown
McAlester restaurant we ate lunch at. It's a huge 'place' that we
had all to ourselves. I hear that they have dinner theater there at
After lunch we drove to Elm Point, off Hwy 31. Dianne and I and
paddled there for a few hours. The light was too harsh due to the
hour of the day, but I was also surprised to that the trees seemed
oddly leafless. This was no place to shoot the sunset...so we moved
on after a couple hours of kayaking.
Our final paddling spot on southern Lake Eufaula was Hickory
Point campground and boat ramp. This was the best Lake Eufaula
kayaking area we found on this trip. This part of Lake Eufaula is
skinny, curvy and loaded with sweet smelling cedar, pine and juniper
trees. The campground is more primitive than the others we visited
on this trip and it was also MUCH less crowded there. We really
enjoyed kayaking around Hickory Point and I hope to be able to
return and camp there sometime.
Dinner in Krebs, Oklahoma is a given for Dianne and I when we
travel to this part of the state. On this trip, we ate at Pete's
Place (established in the '20s). Dianne enjoyed their microbrew and
I enjoyed their insanely large portions. The meal was served family
style in a private dining room. Pete's Place has about 30 of these
private dining rooms. It makes for a cozy meal. Overall, it was not
quite up to the food standards of
our last Italian food meal at Carrabba's in Tulsa but it was a
great end to an excellent day of paddling on southern Lake Eufaula!
So much food and paddling made it a sleepy drive back to Pierce,
Oklahoma but we made it safely. We decided to spend the night in the
RV at our river lot, so that I could do some dawn kayaking on the
river Sunday morning.
Trip Report: Dogwood Acres to Frisbee Ramp by Thomas Jones
(July 21, 2007) Last week I got an email from a blog reader in
Checotah with an idea for a paddling trip. Greg, a kayak paddler who
lives near our lot at Dogwood Acres, suggested we paddle from our
the North Canadian River and across Eufaula Lake to the
Jack Frisbee boat ramp.
Normally, Dianne and I have to take 'up-and-back-again' trips on
the river because we only have one vehicle and no shuttle. Recent
rains raised the river level and swiftness, creating a window of
to say, we were thrilled to get a chance to do a 'one-way',
downriver trip and to meet one of our new neighbors.
The float trip is about 6 miles, most of it with a decent
downstream current. We started early in the morning to try and beat
the heat. This is pretty important for taking this particular trip
during the summer. Although the river portion of the trip offers
some current and quite a bit of shade, the last leg of the trip is
pure Lake Paddling in the blazing sun.
One of the downsides of paddling Oklahoma lakes is that the wide
open area offers little shade. Also, the lack of distance cues
around you makes it seem like you are paddling at an a very slow
speed. The feeling of slowness makes paddling across many Oklahoma
lakes feel very monotonous. There is also an element of danger when
paddling your kayak across a big expanse of water where ski boats
and personal watercraft race around at breakneck speeds.
Despite a couple miles of paddling across the lake at the end,
the trip is a good one. Although not as scenic as
the Illinois River
Lower Mountain Fork River, paddling the North Canadian offers
solitude, peacefulness and some cool bird watching opportunities.
Meeting Greg was the best part of the trip. He is a really
conscientious paddler and all-around nice guy who has developed some
very good safety habits. Dianne and I set the bar rather low when it
comes to safety procedures. We
wear our PFD's when paddling, but
that is about the extent of our safety preparations. Greg plotted
the whole trip out on a map and brought along some rescue gear in
case someone ran into trouble.
His boat is a
cool Advanced Elements
kayak about ten feet long,
some folks call them Folding Kayaks. Advanced Elements makes hybrid
kayaks that have the buoyancy of an inflatable kayak with a rigid
frame that makes it easier to paddle than most pure inflatable
boats. The best feature of the boat is that is can be carried on a
roof rack like a regular kayak OR you can take it down and fold it
into a bag for traveling!
The float trip running from Dogwood Acres to Jack Frisbee Boat Ramp
near No Name Creek will be one I am sure we will repeat. The Frisbee
Boat Ramp is right of Highway 150 and offers a great parking area
that is close to food, lodging, bait...whatever you need.
Greg offered two suggestions on the trip that I ignored and
looking back on it...I should have taken his advice. The first was
when he offered us all sunscreen at about 9:30am and the second was
when he suggested a group picture at the end. Buddy, you were right!
This felt like our first real float trip of the summer because it
isn't a real float trip until someone (me) gets a sunburn on their
knees, right? Greg, if you are reading this…thanks for a great trip!
Dianne and I really enjoyed it meeting a fellow paddler that knows
the Eufaula area so well. Taken from Our
Oklahoma Kayaking Blog.
Flat Water Paddling in Oklahoma
Nothing cools you down faster than a spring
fed river or a crisp clear lake on a hot Oklahoma day. Check out our
Oklahoma Canoe and Kayak Paddling
Page to learn more!
These days the rivers of Oklahoma
are running a little lower just like the number of vacation days I
have left. These factors make running rivers increasingly
difficult as the summer drags on. Other than praying for rain,
we manage to pass this time by paddling the flatwaters in our area.
Spring fed rivers for floating are rare this season but there are a
few like the Illinois River, the Mountain Fork and the Current River
that offer some paddling fun in July and August.
More frequently we find ourselves
launching our new Galant Toppable Kayak in local lakes, large
ponds, strip pits, mud holes and anything else that looks moist.
Lately, we have paddled Nichols Lake in Henryetta and
in Okmulgee State Park.
Nichols Lake in Henryetta,
Oklahoma is for paddle powered boats or small trolling engines ONLY,
so there is no boat wake riding. However, it is peaceful, near
our home and rarely in use by anyone else. There are plentiful
perch for our son to have fun catching and Dianne and I manage to
get a little exercise paddling around the lily pads. One great
thing about paddling small lakes like this one is the shade. I
love paddling in the shady water near the shoreline just as the sun
Henryetta also has a slightly
larger reservoir lake called Jim Hall Lake. Since it has a mud
bottom, rather than the rocky bottom of Nichols Lake, it is pretty
muddy. However, it is spring fed, so despite being muddy and
shallow the water is cooler than most local lakes. Sadly, litterbugs
seemed to have infested Jim Hall Lake, so we will be bringing loads
of extra trash bags next time we visit.
Many times, we visit a
Lake called Gentry Creek Cove. Although not as popular as
the other landings on Eufaula Lake, I enjoy staying there because my
parents took my there as a child so long ago.
To get there from Checotah, OK, travel 9 miles west on Highway 266.
Follow the signs to the campground entrance. I have
some pictures Dianne and I took from our last visit to Gentry Creek
Gentry Creek Cove is located at
the North side of Lake Eufaula, where the Deep Fork River feeds into
Eufaula Lake. This tends to make the water muddier than other
parts of Eufaula, If you haven't visited Eufaula Lake, you are
really missing out. It is massive lake with 600 miles of
shoreline and 102,000 surface acres of water. (Sort
of germ shaped isn't it?)
The paddling was excellent at
Gentry Creek Cove. Everyone was very friendly and we scored a
great RV site (for our tent and fans...sigh) for just $14 close to a
very spic-and-span bath house. We were even more surprised by
an appearance by the Gentry Creek Raccoon Guy.
The Raccoon Guy takes in the
rascally critters when they are wounded and nurses them back to
health. Kids, don't try this home, you need State License and
they bite! Since The Raccoon Guy lives in the area, and
raccoons love water, he brings them out to Gentry Creek Cove to meet
the kids and curious adults like Dianne and myself regularly.
Naturally, the main attraction for
us is paddling on big ol' Eufaula Lake. Over time we hope to
explore it all, but not this weekend.
The Army Core of Engineers
operates Gentry Creek Cove, so the camping offers both
First-Come-First-Served camping sites and other campsites
that you can reserve online. (Although the feature was busted last
time I visited their site, maybe you will get lucky!) Below is
a picture recently taken from Gentry Creek Campground on Lake
& Storage Docks on Eufaula Lake
|Eufaula Dock Service
||Texanna Road, Eufaula
||2 Miles South of Dam
||Highway 40 - Rent canoes, kayaks and paddleboats
Oklahoma Area Float Trip Outfitters List