A wonderfully easy and quite pretty trail. This one starts right outside the Travertine Nature Center. To make it out to the two springs is a 1.2 mile round trip, not including a few loop detours you can take if so inclined. The trail is marked as handicap accessible, and is generally very flat and wide, packed earth in most places. You can watch for wildlife, and about 2/3 of the way there you come upon where Antelope Springs, near a lush pond area. While we didn't get to do other hikes in the park, it's hard to imagine others would be better. The final stretch takes you to Buffalo Springs, a large spring, surrounded by a mini-concrete amphitheater. Due to the short length, ease of trail, and neat scenery, this one is highly recommended.
At the end of the loop road, you can stop off at the Nature Center. On hand, they have a number of nature displays, including a stuffed bison. They also have aquariums with several live specimens from the area, including snakes and turtles. Most importantly to some, they have restrooms! There's also a small bookstore and an opportunity to pick up the park map. To the left of the entrance is the trailhead for the trail to Antelope and Buffalo Springs.
This waterfall is just west of the Travertine Nature Center. There's a little picnic area right next to it. You can see the falls from the shoreline, but if you are more adventurous, there is a rock path that cuts across the creek so you can view the falls from dead on. While I doubt anyone would really mistake these falls for their larger namesake, the area is quite pretty, and it's worth a stop to get out and check these falls out.
Throughout this section of the park, you can see various springs that are on the map. The first is Vendome Well, which is in the little park before you get to the park entrance on 1st street. This is the only water producer that I noticed with a strong sulfur smell (my five year old asked why it smelled like eggs!) Right near the 1st street entrance, there are also three other springs that you can stop at and review the mineral content, which is posted nearby. The "biggest" of the three is Pavilion Springs. Hillside Spring is right across the street from that one. Finally, Black Sulphur Springs is a little west of the first two, but currently is closed up for sanitary reasons. It is still worth the stop, as the pavilion that houses it was built in 1929.
The Lake of the Arbuckles is not overwhelmingly scenic, and its artificial character is likely to put some off from its merits. The lake itself is nestled in thick forests and commands a large area, more than you can see from any cove or jetty. Water sports are permitted here (speak with the rangers for regulations) but fishing continues to be the most popular activity. Picnic areas abound around the lake, and access to the various parts of the recreation can be had from many of the surrounding towns.
As suspected in these parts, the main pasttime is fishing. Even though the pretentious "Lake of the Arbuckles" is artificial, it is stocked with "real" fish, but you are not likely to get much more variable catches than a small sand bass or a 4-lb catfish. I don't know my fishes particularly well, but I know that the fishing depicted in this picture either suits the traveler or it doesn't!
There are trails throughout the recreation area that follow under the shade of oak and maple trees, one of the most forested areas of the state after the eastern third. Stay on trails to avoid damaging fragile flowers and to avoid contact with poison ivy and poison oak, one of the unfortunate by-products of the woods.
This was a great lake. It's well-kept with plenty of room for water sports and camping. There were several hiking trails that connected Chickasaw with Lake of the Arbuckles. I didn't have time for that but next time I will.
Swimming in Travertine Creek and/or Rock Creek.
It gets pretty hot in Ok. and a swim in the spring-fed creeks is a good idea. There are even a few small waterfalls - one called Little Niagara - it's about a 3 foot drop. In the picture, it's hard to see, but I got a picture of a deer crossing the stream.
It can't be seen very well in the picture, but, inside the structure there's a bubbling spring. The town of Sulphur sprang up around these...springs in the late 1800's. I read that this area was a trendy tourist spot during the 1920s - with people coming from all over to drink the spring water - which they thought was a cure-all. I tasted the water myself, and it tasted like eggs or sulphur...just like the name of the town.
It's a stop that's easy to drive right by. It's on 177 on the way from Chickasaw to Lake of the Arbuckles. The brown blob in the center of the picture is a bison - the state animal of Oklahoma. There were a few bison just resting in the field and mingling freely with those horses.
Actually, Historic Downtown Sulphur isn't very big, and I don't know the history - maybe, I'll make one up. But, there were some old-looking buildings - and restaurants too.
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