Nestled in the Arbuckle Mountains in Davis, Oklahoma is Turner Falls Park – one of the most beautiful parks in the United States. With stunning scenery and plenty of adventurous outdoor activities, this is a perfect year-round trip for families, couples, and solo travelers.
The park is well known for its magnificent 77-foot waterfall, but there are so many fun things to do here. From exploring a castle and hidden caves to hiking trails, rock scrambling, zip-lining, and swimming in natural pools and creeks. You can also go camping, rent a cabin, or find the perfect RV spot.
This guide to Turner Falls Park has everything you need to know to have a wonderful time. I will go over general tips, where to hike, where to swim, where to stay, where to eat, packing tips, and more.
Full disclaimer – We were invited by Turner Falls Park to write this guide. As always, our opinions are non-biased and our own. Furthermore, this post may contain affiliate links. When you click on the link you will have the option to purchase a product at no extra cost to you, but I would receive a small commission. I want to thank everyone for following and supporting us on all of “Our Sweet Adventures.”
When to Visit Turner Falls Park
The great thing about Turner Falls Park is that it is open year-round. Whether you visit during the spring, summer, fall, or winter – you are guaranteed to have a great time at the park.
The summer is the park’s busiest time of the year, but when the weather is blistering hot, this is the perfect place to cool off. In my personal opinion, the end of summer is the best time to visit Turner Falls. The park is not as crowded and the weather is perfect with the late summer heat and slightly crisp water.
The spring and fall are also great times to visit because of fewer crowds and pleasant weather. During the fall season, the Arbuckle Mountains surrounding the park are stunning as the leaves turn into foliage colors.
In the wintertime, it is definitely cold. Those daring can suit up in a wetsuit if they desire, but visiting the park in the winter is more about admiring a natural winter wonderland. When the waterfall is frozen, it is just as magnificent when it is flowing.
Fun Things To Do at Turner Falls Park
There are so many fun things to do at Turner Falls Park. You can swim at the base of the waterfall, jump into a natural swimming pool, hike beautiful trails, zip-line across the park, explore hidden caves and a castle, and more.
Swimming at Turner Falls Park
There are three different areas you can swim at Turner Falls Park – the base of the waterfall, the Blue Hole Pool, and Honey Creek. Every swim area is kid-friendly but all children 12 and under must wear a coast guard approved life jacket.
Turner Falls Waterfall
Of course, the main attraction of the park is the 77-foot waterfall. The base of the waterfall is one of the most popular places to swim at Turner Falls Park. Rightfully so, it is an incredible experience to swim next to a gorgeous waterfall.
The waterfall is fed from a spring inside Bitter Ender’s Cave that is located on private property approximately 5 and a half miles from Turner Falls Park. The water can come out of the ground at 60 degrees, but during the summertime, the water can get up to 80 degrees warm.
The base of Turner Falls’ waterfall pool is at least 12 to 15 feet deep and water levels can fluctuate throughout the year based on rainfall. With this said, if the water levels are too high, the park will close the swimming area for safety precautions.
Blue Hole Pool
Another great natural pool to swim at Turner Falls Park is the Blue Hole Pool. This pool is located at the front of the park and is fed all the way from the waterfall.
Visitors can swim or float at Blue Hole Pool. Better yet, plunge into the pool by going down the kid-friendly slides or jump off the diving board! There are plenty of ways to have fun splashing water at Blue Hole Pool.
The last place to swim at Turner Falls Park is along Honey Creek. Moreover, this might be one of the prettiest creeks in the United States because the water can be so crystal clear.
Honey Creek has several wading pools which makes it the most kid-friendly swimming area in the park. There are also trees along Honey Creek which provide some much-needed shade during the hottest days of summer. So when the park is crowded, you can expect the wading pools and shaded areas to be full.
Hiking at Turner Falls Park
There are three hiking trails at Turner Falls Park – Fire Break Trail (0.5 mile), Honey Creek Trail (1 mile), and Two Mile Trail (2 mile). All of the trails are easy to moderate and offer peaceful nature walks.
Rock Scrambling for Views
For a more challenging hike, you can rock scramble to the right of the waterfall. There is no guided trail, so rock scramble at your own risk – it is very steep and some rock are slippery.
If you are able to rock scramble to the top, the reward is worth it. At the mid-point, there is a hidden cave that has amazing side views of Turner Falls waterfall. Then as you rock scramble higher, you will find breathtaking views of the top of the waterfall, the spring that feeds into it, and the Arbuckle Mountains.
Exploring Caves and the Castle
There are three caves you can explore at Turner Falls Park. One is above the waterfall and some rock scrambling is required to reach it as stated above. Whereas the other two are close to each other towards the back of parking lot 2 and very accessible.
In addition to caves, Turner Falls Park also has a beautiful castle on the grounds that guests can explore on their own, known by the name of Collings Castle. This rare castle in Oklahoma was built by Dr. Collins in the 1930s as his private residence. It was built with native stone and materials inspired by English architecture.
Unfortunately, some of the castle ruins have been vandalized with graffiti, but it is still an experience you should not miss during your visit at Turner Falls Park. In fact, we have been to several castles in Ireland and truly felt like we had “escaped” Oklahoma when we explored Collings Castle.
Fishing for Trout
If you love to fish, Turner Falls Park is a great place to fish for trout. In fact, the park is well-known for its abundant trout in the waters. The fishing season for trout is typically from November – March.
To fish here, you will have to pay a small fee fishing fee of $15 which also includes the park admission. More importantly, you need an Oklahoma fishing license and there is a limit of five fish per person, per day.
For a thrilling adventure at Turner Falls Park, you can go zip-lining! The zip line is not associated with the park but both parties have a great relationship. It is located outside of the park but the zip-line goes over the park for great views of the Arbuckle Mountains and Turner Falls waterfall.
The zip line is called 777Zip for several reasons – the zipline is just off Highway 77, you get great views of the 77′ waterfall, the zip line takes 77 seconds, and you zip back 777 ft. to the landing zone. Unlike traditional zip lines, this one is unique and perfect for all ages because you are secured in a seat, so it is not as scary of a drop.
Where to Eat at Turner Falls Park
There are several places to eat within Turner Falls Park. Visitors can find a small restaurant on-site called Cactus Patch, as well as concession stands throughout the park. Each place serves a variety of different food such as pizza, nachos, hot dogs, burgers, BBQ sandwiches, funnel cake, ice cream, snowballs, and more.
Additionally, guests can bring outside food and drink inside the park, including alcohol. The beer and other alcoholic beverages must be consumed in a picnic area or at your campsite.
Where to Stay at Turner Falls Park
Turner Falls Park is a great day trip from Dallas or Oklahoma City, but because there are so many fun things to do, it is also a great place to stay overnight. Visitors can stay at the park and enjoy the grounds all day and night.
You can camp on-site, rent a cabin, rent a shelter, or find the perfect RV site. Keep in mind, every overnight site has a different cost and does not include admission into the park.
General Tips for Turner Falls Park
When planning your trip to Turner Falls Park, here are a few general tips to consider prior to your trip.
Book Tickets Ahead of Time
The park can easily sell out on a weekend, especially during the summer season. So it is highly recommended to book your tickets ahead of time.
Moreover, you can also check the park’s status on their Facebook page for the most current updates. This is also highly recommended because the park can either close due to heavy rainfall or alert you if tickets are (or almost) sold out.
Parking can be very difficult at Turner Falls Park, especially on the weekends and during the summer season. So it is advised to arrive as early as possible to find parking and beat the crowds.
There are three different “levels” of parking. The best parking is listed as level one because it has the two closest parking spots near Blue Hole Pool and the waterfall. If you are traveling with children, this would be the best option to make your visit stress-free.
If you park at level two or three, there is a complimentary shuttle bus that can transfer you from the parking lot and campsites to the waterfall. In addition, there is a second shuttle bus that transfers guests from the waterfall to the front of the park near Blue Hole Pool.
If you are traveling with a baby, you can bring your stroller because the park is stroller-friendly. There are paved sidewalks from parking level one to the waterfall. In addition, you can also take a stroller to Blue Hole Pool, but as you get closer, the path is made of gravel.
What to Pack for Turner Falls Park
Based on personal experience, here are a few things you should pack for Turner Falls Park:
- Water shoes – HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
- Change of clothes
- Inflatable floating devices
- Coast-guard approved life jackets for children 12 and under
- Waterproof blanket
- Cell phone dry bag/pouch
I hope you have found my guide to Turner Falls Park helpful. This park is truly wonderful and a great place to visit in Oklahoma.