Nichols Lake

Just a short drive down I-40 from Lake Eufaula in Henryetta, OK which offers Nichols Lake (trip report) and Jim Hall Lake.






Dylan and Thomas Canoe the Kings River in Eureka Springs, AR
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Kayaking from Grave Creek to Lake Eufaula








The Mt. Fork River great kayaking near Broken Bow, Oklahoma.





Lake Eufaula is too large to ignore when it comes to Oklahoma paddling spots.




Click to enlarge picture
Kayak on Eufaula Lake in Oklahoma

Kayaking on Eufaula Lake at Gentry Creek campground.


Trip Report: Spring Kayaking on Southern Lake Eufaula

Hickory Point Area of 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 night.

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 we moved on after a couple hours of kayaking.

Kayaking at Hickory PointOur 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

Dianne and Greg Paddling the North Canadian River from Pierce to Lake Eufaula(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 lot, down 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 opportunity.  Needless 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 or the 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 Okmulgee Lake 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 is rising!

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 spot on Eufaula 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.Eufaula Lake - The Great Lake of Oklahoma  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 on Flickr.

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 Eufaula.


Boat Rental & Storage Docks on Eufaula Lake
Eufaula Dock Service Texanna Road, Eufaula
Evergreen Marina 2 Miles South of Dam
Checotah KOA Highway 40 - Rent canoes, kayaks and paddleboats onsite



...Complete Oklahoma Area Float Trip Outfitters List


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