“Great out-and-back-partially-a-loop ride. Take Trails 1 and 4 on the north to south leg and then 1 and 3 for the return.”
— John Marno
"I ran over an armadillo. It was fine. It scared the jeepers out of me. It was small and I rolled over it with my rear wheel and it sort of chased after me before veering into the grass so I think it was fine..."
A ride to put on one's map when travelling cross country and looking for diversion. Located a few miles from I-35 in south central OK's rolling hills near the Arbuckle Mountains, this could also be worth a couple of nights stay in the area. The Chickasaw NRA has loads of really nice, old NPS grade campgrounds with the coolest stone buildings outside of Yellowstone. Or stay and eat at Echo Canyon Spa & Resort for a real treat. Much of the park has scenic trails that lead in and around features between town and the TH so plan on exploring the area.The RCMUT itself is mostly singletrack through forest and grassland, with some sections of old two track and a few places that are improved gravel road.
Even in August the heat was bearable, and there were many flowers and sumac berries along the trail. White Tail Deer, big fat red squirrels, and armadillos were seen and thankfully, no snakes. This area has a surprising number of features like the huge hard-woods and bodies of water that make it feel more lush than expected.
The Rock Creek Multi-Use Trail
in the Chickasaw National Recreation Area is accessed from a north and a south trailhead. The North trailhead is close to the town of Sulphur but a little tricky to find as there is little signage outside of the park's kiosk maps. The start of Trail #1 is located on the south side of the dirt road that connects the Veteran's Lake area to the Chickasaw Cultural Center via the Inkana Bridge
Once on the trail there is ample signage in the form of carsonite posts with the number of the trail you are on, and junctions are marked and easy to find. Trail maps at junctions would be nice as they are the norm in modern trail systems.
Mostly singletrack through a combination of dense forests and open grassland that is mowed on each side. There is some old two-track here and there and a short stint on a plain old gravel road. There are a few short loose cobble hills that one needs to be ready for in order to ride everything. But there is a good percentage of fast rolling and flowing smoothie to keep most riders happy.
History & Background
One of the early National Parks
, the Chickasaw National Recreation Area should be on everyone's list of places to visit. The classic old NPS-CCC era structures are like cool oases in the August heat. The Chickasaw Cultural Center is a short ride from the north TH across the Inkana Bridge.