Hiking and Walking Trails

 

Chickasaw National Recreation Area is an ecotone, or meeting place, where two different ecosystems overlap - the eastern deciduous forest and the mixed-grass prairie. Hikers, birdwatchers, and wildflower enthusiasts enjoy the variety this diverse ecosystem has to offer.

Water has always been the reason people are drawn to this area. Many of the park trails in the Platt National Park Historic District travel through the forest, hugging the banks of the streams, passing by rushing waterfalls, and crossing near freshwater or mineral water springs. Lakeside trails offer panoramic views of Lake of the Arbuckles, and the Multi-Use Trail crosses through prairie uplands.

Trail descriptions will help you choose your route. The trails vary in length, difficulty, and scenery. Sturdy tennis shoes are satisfactory on most trails.

 
A rock wall with a small stream emerging from the base
Antelope (pictured) and Buffalo Springs are the main sources sources for the water in Travertine Creek.

NPS Photo

Springs Trails

From the Travertine Nature Center, the Antelope Spring Trail forms the basis of the trails to the east. Additional loops stem from this trail. The main trail is a wide gravel trail with little elevation change. Side trails are more rustic and uneven, with small amounts of elevation gain and loss. Pets are not allowed on these trails.

Antelope Springs Trail
Distance: 1.0 miles (round trip)

  • Prairie Loop: add 0.5 miles
  • Tall Oaks Loop: add 0.6 miles
  • Buffalo Springs Loop: add 0.4 miles
    • Dry Creek Loop (leaves from the Buffalo Springs Loop): add 0.5 miles
 

Travertine Creek Trail

The Travertine Creek Trail is 1.5 miles one way, and connects the Travertine Nature Center and Pavilion Springs. Parking is available on both ends. This trail is a mostly level gravel trail with some bridges, long gentle slopes, and a set of stone stairs near Pavilion Springs. Pets are allowed on this trail, provided they are on a leash no more than 6 feet long or are fastened into a carrier or stroller.

 

Veterans Trail

The Veterans Trail connects Pavilion Springs to the Oklahoma Veterans Center, 0.5 miles one way, just outside of the park boundaries. Parking is available at Pavilion Springs. This trail is a wide, mostly level gravel trail. Pets are allowed on this trail, provided they are on a leash no more than 6 feet long or are fastened into a carrier or stroller.

 
A bison with mucus running out of one nostril stands in a grass clearing with its tail raised.
The Bison Pasture is home to a small herd of bison, who may be back out in the open and easy to spot, or may be back in the woods where they are impossible to see.

NPS Photo

Bison Pasture Loop

The Bison Pasture Loop Trail can be accessed from the Lincoln Bridge, Pavilion Springs, Hillside Springs, Bison Overlook, and Bromide Pavilion parking lots, or via the trail system from Pavilion Springs, Flower Park, Bromide Hill, or Rock Creek Campground. The gravel trail varies in width, with some elevation gain (or loss depending on direction travelled) near the junction to the Bromide Hill spur trail. Pets are allowed on this trail, provided they are on a leash no more than 6 feet long or are fastened into a carrier or stroller.

Distance: 1.9 miles (round trip)

Spur to Bromide Hill: add 0.5 miles (one way, fairly steep switchbacks)
Spur to Rock Creek Campground: add 0.8 miles (one way)

 

Flower Park Trails

A small network of gravel paths connect Vendome Well and Lincoln Bridge. Parking is available on both ends. Pets are allowed on these trails, provided they are on a leash no more than 6 feet long or are fastened into a carrier or stroller.
Distance: about 0.5 miles round trip, depending on exact paths taken

 

Veterans Lake Trail

The Veterans Lake Trail is a wide concrete path that loops around Veterans Lake. There are two parking areas available, one near the dam and at the eastern end of the lake. While some visitors who use wheelchairs are able to complete this trail, it does not fully meet accessibilty standards. Some moderate to steep inclines are scattered along trail. Pets are allowed on this trail, provided they are on a leash no more than 6 feet long or are fastened into a carrier or stroller.
Distance: 2.8 miles loop

 

Rock Creek Multi-Use Trails

The Rock Creek Multi-Use Trails are the only trails the visitors may ride horses on. Pets are allowed on these trails, provided they are on a leash no more than 6 feet long or are fastened into a carrier. These rustic trails travel mostly through prairie areas, and the trails can be a bit difficult to see in the spring as new grass grows. These trails also pass through one of the park's hunting areas. If hiking in hunting season, be sure to wear brightly colored clothing. Trails can be accessed via the northern trailhead off of Cat's Eye Road, near Veterans Lake, or via the southern trailhead off of Cedar Blue Road, near Buckhorn Campground.

End-to-end trails:

Trail 1: 4.3 miles (one way)
Trail 4: 5.2 miles (one way)

Loop trails:

North Trailhead Short Loop (Trail 1 to 2 to 3): 2.2 miles loop
North Trailhead Long Loop (Trail 1 to 3): 5.2 miles loop
South Trailhead Loop (Trail 4 to 1 to Dirt Road): 3.3 miles loop

 

Lakeside Trails

Both the Lakeview Trail and the Fishing Rock Trail leave from Cooper Memorial Road, just north of the picnic area at the end of the road. Parking is available along the road and at the picnic area. Both trails are dirt paths with some up and down. The Fishing Rock Trail is closest to the lakeshore and is often partially underwater in spring, but may still able to be followed by those willing to wade. Pets are allowed on these trails, provided they are on a leash no more than 6 feet long or are fastened into a carrier.
Lakeview Trail: 1 mile (round trip)
Fishing Rock Trail: 1.6 miles (round trip)

Last updated: January 10, 2021

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Mailing Address:

901 W. 1st Street
Sulphur, OK 73086

Phone:

(580) 622-7234

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