Paddling Salt Creek into Okmulgee Lake.
Creek is basically a narrow curvy ditch that runs from the base of
the Dripping Springs Lake Dam and down a mile or two into Lake
Okmulgee. During all but the dryest of seasons Salt Creek
offers a depth of backwater that makes it ideal for a bit of
sheltered, wake-free lake paddling. Sadly, this is one of
those dry seasons and the level of Okmulgee Lake is so low that it
has nearly dried up the Salt Creek backwater. See the picture
to the right. If you have paddled here before, you know the
level is unusually low here at the canoe launch spot. However, it
still offers plenty of water for paddling. Due to its role
transferring water between the two lakes Salt Creek is sometimes up
even during dry seasons, so be sure to check it out if you ever find
yourself visiting Okmulgee State Park.
The Okmulgee State Park area offers camping and several boat
ramps on two lakes:
Lake Okmulgee and Dripping Springs Lake.
Okmulgee lake is also called the old lake, it is deeper and it has
few snags or drowned trees, this makes it popular for ski boats,
wakeboarding and jet boat races.
Dripping Springs Lake is wider & shallower and full of underwater
obstacles. Technically, only fishing boats are allowed on Dripping
Springs Lake, keep that in mind when talking to any lake rangers
about your kayaking adventures. It is why I own a fishing license.
I rarely fish, but I like to keep it open as an option for times when
the scenery is dull or the light is too poor for
Both lakes can be reached by entering the Okmulgee Lake /
Okmulgee State Park entrance off Highway 56 about 5 or 10 minutes
south of Okmulgee City limits. If you reach the spillway, coming
from Okmulgee...you passed the entrance. Stop and look at the
spillway while you are there, then turn around and drive back till
you see the sign for the entrance. Try to make it look like you
meant to do that.
For a one-way trip paddling Salt Creek, I like to leave a vehicle
at the take-out at the Hickory Area Boat ramp. This is also an
awesome spot to RV camp, when it isn't full at the height of summer
vacation. Just drive around the
park road until you reach the last area, that is the Hickory Area
and it is marked with a sign.
Groups can meet-up here and leave a vehicle here to shuttle
folks back to the put-in to retrieve their vehicles. Someone should
stay and watch the boats until everyone gets back with their
vehicles. No Boats Left Behind!
To drive to the put-in from Hickory Point get back on the park
road and keep going away from the park entrance off highway 56. You
should pass the Okmulgee State Park exit sign.
Keep going until you come to the sign marking Dripping Springs
State Park, but DON'T enter the Dripping Springs State Park.
Instead of entering the park, continue down toward the lake's dam
on S 150 RD to the put-in at the base of the lake dam.
The Put-in is not far down S 150 RD. look for a little circle
pull-in opposite of a high grassy hill on the other side of the
road. That grassy hill is the dam for Dripping Springs Lake.
A little bit of dirt beyond the pull-in you see above takes you
to the edge of the little ditch that is lower Salt Creek. Launch
your kayak at the edge of the water, there is no boat ramp, but it
is still an easy place to launch.
There is a bit of cement at the pull-in, it used to have a plaque
or something on it. Now it simply says: RS., if you see it...you
are in the right place.
Watch out for fishermen that may already be setup here if you
don't arrive early.
I hope these direction help you find this nice, safe bit of
current-free, flatwater. I find it most lovely in the mornings, but
it is nice at sunset as well.
Salt Creek on Lake Okmulgee
You can also access the
Deep Fork River in a number of places
near Okmulgee, Oklahoma including a new public boat ramp located on Hwy 266 between Dewar
Paddling the Deep Fork River from the New Highway 266 Bridge
Between Dewar and Grayson
There is a nice road leading
underneath the new Deep Fork River
bridge on Highway 266 between Dewar and
Grayson, Oklahoma. You can park a good distance off the highway, yet
close to the water. We were able to easily launch our recreational kayaks from under the new bridge and paddle either
way for quite a distance! The river channel is both deep and wide here and
not nearly as clogged up with logjams as most of the Deep Fork
River. From here the river
leads to Lake Eufaula.
If you want real maps, there is a list of links to
local kayaking put-ins for our part of Oklahoma in the left hand
column of this page.