Chickasaw National Recreation Area bison
Girl at Little Niagra
Lincoln Bridge in Chickasaw National Recreational Area
Chickasaw National Recreation Area RV site

Celebrate National Parks Week at the CNRA

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The National Parks Service annually commemorates National Parks Week each April. And Chickasaw Country has the perfect way to celebrate…at the Chickasaw National Recreation Area!

Front of Travertine Nature Center in Chickasaw National Recreation Area

The Chickasaw National Recreation Area (CRNA for short) has a one-of-a-kind history. In 1902, the Chickasaw Nation ceded 640 acres to the U.S. Government to preserve the land. After this, the U.S. Government created Sulphur Springs Reservation. Only a few years later, in 1906, Congress re-designated the reservation as Platt National Park. The park was the seventh and smallest national park as well as the only national park in Oklahoma. 

Soon, tourists from across the nation started visiting the new national park. In 1914, Platt National Park had more visitors than Yellowstone or Yosemite! As the years went by, the park began to change. In the 1930s, new infrastructure was built and many of these changes are still in the park today. In 1976, Congress abolished Platt National Park and it became the Chickasaw National Recreation Area. Even though the park changed from a national park to a national recreation area, it is still operated by the National Park Service. 

River flowing under Travertine Nature Center in Oklahoma


Three places to visit at the CNRA:


Travertine Nature Center

The Travertine Nature Center was built in 1969 near the Travertine Creek on the eastern edge of the Platt Historic District. This building serves as the park’s main educational center with many different exhibits including live reptiles and an interactive learning area. If you want to meet a park ranger, this is the place to go. Ranger-led programs are presented during the summer. These programs include exclusive hikes in the park! 

Couple exploring chickasaw nation recreation area exhibit in Oklahoma

Lincoln Bridge

The Lincoln Bridge was built in 1909 and it connects the Flower Park and the city of Sulphur to the mineral springs south of Travertine Creek. The bridge is the oldest structure in the park. It was dedicated on Abraham Lincoln’s birthday … hence the name. I mean just look at the photo below! It’s a beautiful place to explore. 

Couple hiking and crossing creek under bridge in Chickasaw Country

Natural Springs

The natural springs around the park are a big draw to the area, mostly found in enclosed pavilions or pools. The central area of the Platt Historic District has the most springs with springs at the Hillside Spring, Pavilion Spring and Black Sulphur Spring. Located adjacent to Flower Park is the best-known well in Oklahoma, Vendome Well, which has an outflow of 2,500 gallons of sulphur water per minute! Bring your canteen to try this one-of-a-kind water. It is said to have therapeutic qualities. 

Man hiking and washing hands at chickasaw nation recreation area

Want to know more about exploring the CRNA? Check out this list of other ways to explore. Have fun exploring the Chickasaw National Recreation Area and remember to use #VisitChickasaw when posting your photos for a chance to be featured!