Bear Falls, Oklahoma

I struggle whether to decide to include a few waterfalls as part of the collection, but when they’re designated as falls, I usually record them. Bear Falls and the other waterfalls in the Chickasaw National Recreation Area are a bit questionable. Limestone Creek flows through the park, which is beautiful even not considering the waterfalls.

But Bear Falls and the other named waterfalls seem to have been affected greatly by humans, so it’s hard to tell whether some of the falls are natural or artificial. Bear Falls looks like it could have been natural at one time, but then they added some rocks that create a pool above the falls. It’s a bit odd, but it’s still interesting to hike and see these drops on the creek. I just don’t know that I’d go out of my way to see the falls. Turner Falls is in the area, and is a much taller waterfall, though it tends to be busier. There are a few other waterfalls that I surmise are on private land that would be very interesting to visit.

Directions:

  1. From US-177 in Sulphur (at the intersection of OK-7), head south along US-177.
  2. There are two entrances that will both lead you to the same general location. The first option is to turn left onto Perimeter Road soon after that intersection. The second option is to head just under a mile south and turn left (on what might also be Perimeter Road). Why would you choose the second? Part of the drive is one-way, and the only way to get to the falls from the first entrance is to drive over the river at some point. When I was there in early March, the river over the road, and there was no way I was going to cross in my rental car. The second option avoided this river crossing.
  3. If you choose the second, southern option, you can drive directly to the sign for the falls for Little Niagara. The other falls can be accessed along the trail nearby. Bear Falls can also be accessed by pulling over along the road as you’re headed west toward the park exit.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 2′
Length of Hike: roadside

Chickisaw National Recreation Area (156)

Bear Falls in March 2018

Where in the World is Bear Falls?

Little Niagara Falls, Oklahoma

I’m just now getting to my break from work for the next few months, so I’ll be posting about waterfalls more frequently. I had the chance to visit Texas and Oklahoma at the beginning of March, so I’m a bit behind.

I started off in Dallas. It was a beautiful but windy day, and headed to the Chickasaw National Recreation Area in Oklahoma, as I had researched a number of waterfalls in the recreation area. This recreation area is not far from a more widely known waterfall, Turner Falls. There seem to be a number of other waterfalls in the area, but Turner Falls and these waterfalls in the recreation area seem to be the few that are open to the public or easily accessible.

In my time hiking along the river, I encountered at least four named waterfalls. There are others in the park, though it’s not always obvious how to get to them. This is the waterfall that is the most “advertised”, as the main road leads you this waterfall to start. I have to admit…I’m a bit torn. You can tell with these waterfalls that there is clearly a “man-made” element to the falls. I’m not sure if they were natural waterfalls that we as humans altered, or whether they’re completely man-made. It’s still a beautiful hike along the river, but I can understand why Turner Falls is visited more frequently.

Directions:

  1. From US-177 in Sulphur (at the intersection of OK-7), head south along US-177.
  2. There are two entrances that will both lead you to the same general location. The first option is to turn left onto Perimeter Road soon after that intersection. The second option is to head just under a mile south and turn left (on what might also be Perimeter Road). Why would you choose the second? Part of the drive is one-way, and the only way to get to the falls from the first entrance is to drive over the river at some point. When I was there in early March, the river over the road, and there was no way I was going to cross in my rental car. The second option avoided this river crossing.
  3. If you choose the second, southern option, you can drive directly to the sign for the falls for Little Niagara. The other falls can be accessed along the trail nearby.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 6′
Length of Hike: 200′ round-trip

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Where in the World is Little Niagara Falls?

Turner Falls, Oklahoma

It’s been a while since I’ve posted much about waterfalls. I haven’t really seen too many in the past few months, and haven’t had much time to sit down and post about older ones. This weekend, though, I had a chance to take a trip to Oklahoma, partly because I knew there was a waterfall I wanted to see.

My father said to me, “I always thought Oklahoma was just flat.” And I’m guessing a lot of it could be… And yet, there are hillier areas.  In the eastern portion of the state, you can find Natural Falls. In the center of the state, you can find Turner Falls, hidden among the Arbuckle Mountains. The area is surprisingly beautiful, and this is after it rained much of the time. (I think I enjoyed the fact it was about 40+ degrees warmer than home.)

Both of them are about 70′ tall. Turner Falls is often called the tallest, but Natural Falls seems equally as tall. Turner Falls is wider, though. What I liked about Turner Falls was the geology surrounding the falls. It almost seemed as if there were the remnants of lava flows from long ago, as the rock seemed very similar to ones I had seen in lava fields in California and Hawaii. The colors of the rocks and the tree leaves made the falls even more interesting. The rainy weather meant the falls were also flowing well. Overall, it was definitely cool to see Turner Falls. And if you have the time, go searching for what I believe are a few other falls in the area.

Directions:

  1. Follow I-35 south from Oklahoma City (or north from Dallas). If you are heading south, you would pass the town of Davis, and then you would see a sign for Turner Falls. In the daytime, it was pretty hard to miss.
  2. Exit I-35 at those signs. (If you’re headed north, there’s a sign also.)
  3. Follow US-77 to the Turner Falls Park entrance. If you miss the entrance, you would loop right back around to I-35.
  4. The entrance fee in winter is a very nice $4 per person (compared to the summer rate of $12 per person).  There is a short hike to the falls.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Distance of Hike: 0.1 miles (along a paved path)
Height: 77′

Turner Falls in late November 2014

Where in the World is Turner Falls?

Natural Falls, Oklahoma

Natural Falls in March 2011

I was excited to find out that there was a waterfall in Oklahoma that could be easily visited from the Fayetteville, Arkansas area (where I flew into). When getting the rental car, the woman was very enthusiastic about Natural Falls. My only concern about visiting it was time, as I had arrived later than expected, and the park closes at 5 pm, at least in the winter (or early March).

I did actually luck out and arrived at 4:30 pm. I had 30 minutes to visit the falls, and the hike the falls is extremely short. There is an upper viewpoint, and a surprisingly easy hike down to the base. Now, as with other falls, there wasn’t a whole of water, but I can’t complain about this because it was so simple to visit! I can handle that!

There is another portion of the falls not shown in the picture. There is (I think) a spring that emerges from the rock near the falls, but it was bright at that point, and it was hard to photograph both falls at the same time.

Directions:

  1. From Siloam Springs in Arkansas (or West Siloam Springs in Oklahoma), head west on US-412 until you reach the entrance to the park.
  2. Pay the entrance fee and then turn left just past the entrance to head to the falls trail.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 77′
Length of Hike: 0.2 miles round-trip

Where in the World is Natural Falls?