Swimming

Several people swim in the water in a lake. Chairs and other objects sit on the lakeshore.
The Point and Buckhorn areas at Lake of the Arbuckles have several good areas to access the water and tend to be less crowded than the creeks.

NPS Photo

Areas open to swimming

Rock Creek, Veterans Lake, and Lake of the Arbuckles are open to swimming except in the immediate area of any boat launches or fishing docks.

Travertine Creek is open to swimming from Little Niagara downstream (west).

Areas closed to swimming


All areas upstream (east) of Little Niagara are closed to swimming and wading.

Swimming is also not allowed in the immediate areas around boat ramps, courtesy docks, and fishing docks.

 
 

Things to know before you come


During the busy summer season, bacteria levels are monitored in the most popular areas for swimming. Check the current levels on our Bathing Beach Monitoring Program page.

Travelling with pets? Read our pet-specific regulations.

Areas popular for swimming on Lake of the Arbuckles include the picnic area at the end of the road at The Point and several of the picnic areas near the Buckhorn Boat Launch.

Areas popular for swimming on Rock Creek include the Black Sulphur Springs area and an area along Cat's Eye Road known locally as 40 Foot Hole.

Areas popular for swimming at Veterans Lake are mostly located along the north shore.

Travertine Creek is spring-fed, and occasionally drys out when the springs stop flowing. Antelope and Buffalo Springs have dried up over twenty times since 1902. Learn more on our springs and seeps page.

The Travertine Creek area can be very crowded in summer, particularly on weekends and holidays. Once designated parking spaces are full, cars will not be allowed into the Travertine Creek area until people start to leave and parking spaces are available again. The area is still accessible by trail, but walking distances can easily exceed a mile and a half from the nearest available parking on popular days. Parking rarely fills on weekdays, unless they are holidays, or anytime during late fall, winter, and early spring.

 

Swim Safe!

  • Choose a safe place for water activities.

  • There are no lifeguards on duty; all swimming is at your own risk.

  • Small children and non-swimmers should wear Coast Guard approved life jackets; some areas have sudden drop offs.

  • Stay within reach of children.

  • Don't swim alone.

  • If you swim from a boat, make sure the boat is anchored. Never start the engine while swimmers are overboard.

  • Water activities and alcohol do not mix. Many drownings are alcohol-related and can be prevented by not drinking alcoholic beverages before or during water sports. Alcohol is prohibited in all areas east of Highway 177 from May 1 - September 30 each year.

  • Glass containers, no matter the contents, are prohibited on or near lakes, creeks, and streams.

  • Water shoes are highly recommended.

  • Know local weather conditions and how to find out what is forecasted. The park is located to the south and southwest of Sulphur in Murray County, Oklahoma. Murray County is a small county with a distinctive shape that makes it fairly easy to find on weather radars. Lake of the Arbuckles is a good landmark within Murray County that also shows up on most radar views.

  • Know how to prevent, recognize and care for hypothermia & heat emergencies.

  • Enter water feet first, especially if the depth is unknown.

  • Know your swimming limits.

  • Do not try to keep up with someone with stronger skills or ask others to keep up with you.

  • Protect your skin with sunscreen that protects against both UVB and UVA rays and reapply often.

Last updated: January 28, 2023

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

901 W. 1st Street
Sulphur , OK 73086

Phone:

580 622-7234

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