When you think of Oklahoma the last thing that comes to mind is probably waterfalls. Being a landlocked state known for its sweeping plains, farm land and tornadoes, Oklahoma does have a lot of natural beauty and scenic spots throughout the state. One of those places is Turner Falls, south centrally located right off I-35 in the Arbuckle Mountains of Davis, Oklahoma. It boasts the tallest waterfall in Oklahoma at 77 feet that flows down from Honeycreek.
My little family loves to take spontaneous road trip adventures and one of our recent trips was a quick day trip down the road to Turner Falls. I love love love being near the water, waterfalls especially because they make me happy, refreshed, and I just feel good hearing the murmur of the rushing water. And there’s science behind that too because waterfalls produce huge amounts of negative ions which put us in a happy mood. So here’s a little low down on one of my favorite ones in Oklahoma.
Not only a beautiful sight to behold but waterfalls signify so much more. Waterfalls are symbolic of the past being washed away making room for a fresh new start. They are also symbolic of change and impermanence. This is one of the reasons why I find myself so drawn to them as do many others. Looking at a waterfall is so calming and peaceful, you can almost taste the state of bliss it invokes within.
Turner Falls is a very popular destination in the summer months as there are plenty of options for fun and swimming in the hot Oklahoma sun. There are over 1500 acres to explore the lush landscape. The main waterfall cascades down into a natural swimming pool that is shallow enough for both kids and adults to enjoy along with a sandy beach shore.
With camping sites located throughout you can be sure to find a perfect spot for spending the night. There’s also some accommodations on site, zip lining, rental cabins, RV hookups, restaurant, and little stores. There are diving boards and water slides located at one of the lower falls, seriously fun stuff for every one of all ages.
Some areas are full of visitors, especially through the weekends, but if you venture off a bit you can find some more secluded spots and really take in the beauty that surrounds you and feel more connected to nature. I find that early spring is my favorite time to go when it’s not crowded and you can enjoy the scenery uninterrupted.
Hiking trails are located throughout the park offering some seriously spectacular views from the peaks. There are many spots that overlook the vast beauty that you could spend a whole day just looking out and admiring the awesomeness of it as you climb up high into the mountains. It truly is a grand sight to behold.
There are parking lots and signs leading to some of the trails or you can venture off the beaten path, just be aware that it can be challenging terrain in some areas. There are large boulders in many places and interesting rock formations. Our two year old daughter walked through a lot of the trails holding our hands but we would take turns carrying her through the steeper more rough terrain (when I say take turns I mean I carried her for all of about 2 minutes and Zach carried her for the majority of the time) . Foxx loves to be in nature like most kids so this place is perfect for exploring and adventures.
There are some awesome natural rock caves throughout the mountains that are perfect little hideaways. There are a couple that are pretty easy to navigate through, just having to duck down but there are others that you have to really crouch down and maneuver your way through on your belly but the views are worth it. Our daughter Foxx loved running around the caves and saying “wow!”
The abandoned Collings Castle is located within the park and is easily accessible for all due to a nearby parking lot or you can come across it hiking through the mountain. It was built in the 1930’s and you are able to walk through the castle and explore the small low ceiling rooms and narrow staircases. It is actually comprised of two separate castles and there is a gorgeous long concrete stairway behind the main castle that leads up through the trees just like a fairytale story.
Standing on the tower of the castle made me want to throw my hair over the edge and have my husband climb up it to whisk me away to Storybook Ville.
If you opt to explore the flowing water streams it is advisable to wear water shoes as the rocks can be very mossy and slippery. There is also an entrance fee per person to get into the park, depends on the time of year you go so check ahead. And most importantly alcohol is allowed in some areas as long as it’s not glass.
So if you’re ever in Oklahoma pack up your hiking gear and swimsuits and head south of Oklahoma City about 1 1/2 hours to beautiful Turner Falls.
As Cross Canadian Ragweed sings, I’ve Never Been To Heaven But I’ve Been To Oklahoma.