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Chickasaw National Recreation Area
NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
(580)622-3165 (Park Information)
(580)622-3161 (Park Headquarters)
PARK MISSION STATEMENT Chickasaw National Recreation Area, a unit of the National Park System, was established in 1906 to provide for the protection of it's unique recreational, cultural and natural resources, including springs, streams, lakes, hiking trails and historic structures. Our goal is to provide each visitor with an educational, enjoyable, safe and memorable experience. PARK HISTORY AND BACKGROUND "Peaceful Valley of Rippling Waters". This statement was used to describe this area's significance by early American Indian visitors, and these beautiful words can still be used today to describe Chickasaw National Recreation Area and its many resources. From prehistoric times to the present, access to the combination of cool water, mineral springs, cool breezes, shade, and wildlife has created at Chickasaw National Recreation Area an experience that sets it apart from the surrounding environment. The springs and streams of Chickasaw come from one of the most complex geological and hydrological features in the United States. These resources have been economically and environmentally significant throughout the history of the region, and are valuable for scientific research. Dating from the public works era of the 1930's, classic examples of Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) architectural craftsmanship and ingenuity--included in one of the largest and most intact designed cultural landscapes of that period--blend harmoniously with the natural environment. A trail system was designed and constructed during this period that meets the needs of the casual walker as well as the avid exerciser. 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. Chickasaw lies in a transition zone where the Eastern deciduous forest and the Western prairies meet. It has flora and fauna from both environments, and other flora and fauna specific to such transition areas. The view over Veterans Lake, especially beautiful at sunset, illustrates this transition. The park provides opportunities to experience a wide range of outdoor experiences--swimming, boating, fishing, hiking, observing nature, hunting, camping, and picnicking--reminding us of the rural character in the history of the American people. It adds measurably to the quality of life for visitors and area residents. Chickasaw has been the setting for generations of traditional family activity that represents part of our American heritage. The park offers three different levels of water-based recreation: In the protected zone upstream from the nature center, visitors can enjoy the beauty of the natural springs and streams as a visual resource. Veteran's Lake offers a park-like atmosphere, where use is restricted to a slower pace and relatively quiet activities. At the Lake of the Arbuckles, visitors can engage in a full range of activities, including boating and fishing.
Chickasaw National Recreation Area is one of the most heavily visited parks for its size in the National Park System, with one and a half million visitors a year. The peak season is from Memorial Day to Labor Day with activities focusing on water recreation and camping. Lowest visitation occurs during the months of January and February.
OPERATING HOURS AND SEASONS:
The park is open year round. The Travertine Information and Nature Center is open all year except for Christmas Day and New Year's Day.
Summers are hot and humid with daytime temperatures near 100 degrees common from July to September. Humidity frequently exceeds 50 percent. Thunderstorms are common April through July. Winters are mild with temperatures rarely dropping below 32 degrees for more than two or three consecutive days.
Chickasaw National Recreation Area is located on State Highway 177, just south of the town of Sulphur, Oklahoma. The park is approximately 90 miles south of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and 120 miles north of Dallas, Texas. Driving south on US I- 35 take exit 55 to State Highway 7. Driving north on US I-35 take exit 51 to State Highway 7. Drive through the towns of Davis (3 miles) and Sulphur (10 miles) to the intersection of Hwy. 7 and 177. Drive south on Hwy. 177. Park Headquarters is 1/4 mile south on the right side of the highway.
To Park: Both Dallas and Oklahoma City have international airports that are served by most major airlines.
There is no fee to enter the park, but fees are charged for camping, boat launching and reserving the picnic pavilions.
FACILITIES AND OPPORTUNITIES:
Visitor Center, Exhibits:
The Travertine Information and Nature Center offers the chance to experience nature up-close. Exhibits include live birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians. Ranger-led activities are offered. Arrangements for organized groups may be made from September through May. Contact the park's Division of Interpretation at (580) 622-3165
More than 18 miles of trails provide visitors' opportunities that range from ten-minute saunters on quiet walkways to day-long excursions along the shoreline at Lake of the Arbuckles or Rock Creek. There are about 28 miles of paved roads and over 12 miles of gravel roads. The "backroads" offer a chance to enjoy the remote areas of the park and provide access to hunting and fishing.
The Travertine Information and Nature Center has daily activities scheduled throughout the summer. School groups can book programs from September through May. Weekend activities are scheduled year round. Activities include -- nature walks, creek walks, campfire programs and special emphasis programs.
There are six developed campgrounds in the two park districts. Rock Creek, Cold Springs and Central campgrounds are located in the historic Platt District. Buckhorn, The Point and Guy Sandy campgrounds are situated in the Lake District around Lake of the Arbuckles. All sites have tables, grills, restrooms and water. The Buckhorn campground has utility hookups available at Loops C and D and showers at Loops A, B, C and D. All camping is first come-first serve except for group camp sites located in Rock Creek (1 site), Central (10 sites), and Cold Springs (2 sites) which may be reserved. Please contact the park's Division of Interpretation for more information at (580) 622-3165.
There are no food facilities located in the park. Food and camping supplies are available in local convenience stores or in the towns of Sulphur and Davis. Restaurants/fast foods, from national chains to small family operated diners, are located in both towns as are grocery and department stores.
Other Concessions/NPS-Managed Visitor Facilities and Opportunities:
A Bookstore located at the Travertine Information and Nature Center is managed by the Southwest Parks and Monuments Association.
The Travertine Information and Nature Center, fishing docks and most restrooms are wheelchair accessible. Chickasaw National Recreation Area has completed work on wheelchair accessible campsites and restrooms with showers in the Buckhorn Campgrounds. The park has completed construction of a two mile long concrete trail around Veterans Lake that is fully accessible.
Visitor parking is available at each site. Handicapped parking sites are clearly labeled and available at all major facilities. Parking for buses is available at most sites.
RECOMMENDED ACTIVITIES/PARK USE:
Camping, hiking, picnicking, sightseeing, fishing, hunting, swimming, water skiing, auto touring, nature viewing and photographic opportunities abound.
Reservations for group campsites and picnic pavilions can be made at the Travertine Information and Nature Center year round. Reservations for the calendar year can be made beginning January 1st.
Reservation phone number: (580)622-6677
BASIC VISIT RECOMMENDATIONS:
Plan your visit to the park by stopping at park headquarters or the Travertine Information and Nature Center or write ahead to obtain information. Also be sure to acquire safety information/tips pertaining to your planned activity, especially if you are not familiar with the area.
SPECIAL EVENTS, PROGRAMS:
Numerous activities are available year round at the Travertine Information and Nature Center. The park also participates in a variety of annual events including Sulphur Days, Art in the Park, the Hills of Oklahoma Bicycle Tour, Bald Eagle Watch and the living history program "1906 Historic Candlelight Tour".
During periods of high rainfall, the three low water bridges on Perimeter Drive could be closed without notice. Do not leave valuables in your car. Adhere to park rules and regulations.
ADJACENT VISITOR ATTRACTIONS:
Washita Battlefield National Historic Site became the second National Park Service unit in the state of Oklahoma when it was enacted by Congress on November 12, 1996.
The Oklahoma City Memorial became the third National Park Service unit in the State of Oklahoma when it was enacted by Congress on October 9, 1997
Oklahoma State Parks:
Fort Washita Military Park
Tishomingo National Wildlife Refuge
Chickasaw Nation Council House Museum
To obtain information on the Sulphur and Davis areas please contact the appropriate Chamber of Commerce at the following addresses.Sulphur Chamber of Commerce
717 West Broadway
Sulphur, Oklahoma 73086
Davis Chamber of Commerce
300 East Main
Davis, Oklahoma 73030
or Sell an Oklahoma Cabin or Lakefront Property