Buckhorn Campground, Chickasaw Nat’l Rec Area, Sulphur, OK

Snoozing at Buckhorn
Catching a little snooze on a warm late afternoon at Buckhorn Campground, Chickasaw NRA, OK.

CAMPGROUND NAME: Buckhorn Campground
LOCATION: Chickasaw Nat’l Recreation Area (NRA), Sulphur, OK
KIND: NRA
SEASONAL: No
RATES: $16 to $24, the latter being for sites with electric hookups. Interagency pass holders get a 50% discount. When I reserved a site via recreation.gov there was no reservation fee (some campgrounds do not have reservation fees imposed).
RESERVATIONS ACCEPTED: Yes, at least for some sites. It seemed as if Loop D may be first come first served because there was a self pay credit card machine at the entry whereas Loop C had no self pay station which seemed to indicate the loop consisted or reservable sites. Check with recreation.gov.
RESERVATION PHONE: 877-444-6777
RESERVATION WEB SITE
NPS CAMPGROUND WEB SITE
CAMPGROUND MAP
HOSTED: Yes
PHONE: 580-622-7234
GPS: N 34.43398,  W 96.99506 marks the turnoff to Loops C and D

ACCESS: Roads to and in the campground are asphalt, but within the campground the roads are narrow.
SITES: 134
HANDICAP ACCESSIBILITY: Yes. Phone or check the web site for details.
SURFACING: Asphalt
PULL THRU: ?
BACK-IN: Yes
MAXIMUM RIG SIZE: 40′. The spaces here are tight. Sizes listed may include towed vehicle allotments
TENTS: Yes
LEVELNESS: I was in loop C which was kinda tilty. Same for loop D. I didn’t see the others
SHADE: Yes
SPACING: Sites were on the small side and fairly close to one another
TENT PADS: Yes, in some sites, if I’m not mistaken
FIRE GRILLS: Yes
PICNIC TABLES: Yes
PETS: On leash

Payment Machine
Campsite “vending” machine at Buckhorn Campground

HOOKUPS: Electricity in some sites, some with 50 amp, some with 30 amp–see the campground web page (above)
DUMP STATION: Yes
ELECTRICAL QUALITY: 125 volts, 60 Hz, no faults (As indicated by my Progressive Industries Power Management System, Model EMS-PT30C.)
WATER PRESSURE: Good, 40 PSI

CELLULAR:
AT&T iPhone 5s without Wilson Mobile 4G booster:
1 bars, erratic Edge, 4G
I had trouble completing calls without my booster (see next paragraph)
Signal strength: erratic 0 to 16%, -105 +/- dBm
Download speed: 1.18 Mbps when 4G available
Upload speed: .25 Mbps when 4G available

AT&T iPhone 5s with Wilson Mobile 4G booster:
3 bars, LTE
Signal strength: erratic 12%-59%, – dBm
Download speed: 6.75 Mbps
Upload speed: .66 Mbps

Verizon iPad Air without Wilson Mobile 4G booster:
1 bars, LTE
Download speed: 11.07 Mbps
Upload speed: .39 Mbps

Verizon iPad Air with Wilson Mobile 4G booster:
3 bars, LTE
Download speed: 9.21 Mbps
Upload speed: 1.21 Mbps
Note: As I have seen numerous times before, when there is a decent data signal without the booster download speeds are slower with it and upload speeds are faster with it.

TV
Over-the-air: I got 6 channels
Cable: No
WiFi: No

Picnic Area Chickasaw
Picnic Area near the ranger station, Chickasaw National Recreation Area

RESTROOMS:
RESTROOM RATING: Fail, but only because there was no hot water with which to wash your hands. Otherwise the mens’ room was quite nice, except that two of the three sinks didn’t work. (I assign a Pass or Fail rating based on many considerations including: cleanliness, usability, hot water availability, hand soap availability, ease or difficulty it is to use the toilet paper, condition of fixtures, if using the restroom is a pleasant or unpleasant experience, etc.)
SOAP: Yes
TOILETS: Flush
SHOWERS: Yes
SHOWER RATING: None. I didn’t use them. (I evaluate showers in a similar fashion to restrooms. See above.)
TRASH: Yes
WATER: Yes
LAUNDRY: No
RECYCLING: Plastic and aluminum

BUGS: Flies (last week of March)

Half RV, Half House
Along Blue Cedar Rd. near Buckhorn Campground I saw quite a few variants of the marriage of RV and more permeant structures such as porches and houses. Here, an RV has a shelter built over it which is attached to the house (mobile home?) and the slide on the right appears tone incorporated into the house although I couldn’t tell for certain.

NEAREST FACILITIES:
Gas: Sulphur. GasBuddy says there’s a place called The Bait Box just a few miles away, a few miles closer than the heart of Sulphur
Dump: In the campground
Propane: According to AllStays it’s Independent Oil in Hillsboro, about 32 miles away
Groceries: That might be Sooner Foods in Sulphur
RV Parks: There are other campgrounds within the NRA. Not all have hookups or accept RVs. There are a 4 private RV parks around Lake of the Arbuckles where the NRA is located
Other:

When I arrived at the Buckhorn Campground it was at the very beginning of spring but some of the trees were still dropping the previous fall’s brown leaves and there wasn’t yet much sense, if any, of spring having arrived. The campground is well wooded and I can see that when the trees fill up with the new leaves of spring and summer it will make for quite a lovely environment.

I chose to stop here because Oklahoma was on the list of states I needed to visit in order to visit all 50, it was on my way to the southeast, it’s more natural setting than private RV parks, and with a Senior Pass was but $12 a night including water, electricity and showers. The timing of my arrival, March, was still early enough in the year so as not to be overly concerned about tornados–being overly concerned is something at which I excel. The average number of twisters in OK in March is 5. In April it jumps to 11 and in May the average is 28 before tapering off in June to 7. This data is based on 1991 thru 2010.

If I’m not mistaken the campground was constructed by the CCC back in the 1930s. This would explain the size of the campsites which is small by today’s standards. All told, there are 6 campgrounds within the Chickasaw NRA.

Lake of the Arbuckles where the Buckhorn Campground is situated is a man made reservoir. People boat, fish and swim at the lake. The Wikipedia page with the lake’s history is here. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_of_the_Arbuckles Buckhorn is near the southern end of the NRA on the east shore of the lake. Several multi-use trails are near Buckhorn for hiking, bicycling and horseback riding.

Wildlife in the area includes: deer, bobcat, coyote, turkey, beaver, armadillo, hawks and owls, quail, roadrunner, rattlesnake, tarantula, scorpion and others.

Climate; Summers are hot and humid, winters mild which may explain last year’s leaves still on the trees; thunderstorms are common April thru July.

Headstone, Buckhorn Cemetery
Headstone, Buckhorn Cemetery

My first day at Buckhorn saw gray and gloomy weather and it rained all night. The next day the sun came out and I went for a bicycle ride from the campground up Blue Cedar Road to where it intersects 177, about an 11 mile round trip with a few long hills but nothing that forced me to dismount. There was little traffic. I passed a private RV/mobile home park. They had shelters under which some of the RVs were parked. Some had porches attached to them. At least one was attached to a mobile home. The Buckhorn Cemetary is situated where Cedar Blue and 177 meet. It’s no more than a field with small number of headstones, some unmarked. I stopped to wander about. At least one of the headstones dated back almost 200 years, to the 1830s. I felt sad for the people buried there, that they had to die. I cried a little for them and then rode my bicycle home.


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8 thoughts on “Buckhorn Campground, Chickasaw Nat’l Rec Area, Sulphur, OK”

  1. Nice to be able to follow your travels more closely- I found an old road map of the US and followed your itinerary yesterday since you mentioned the towns where you stopped. You have covered a lot of territory, but with reasonably spaced stops. Good planning! Charlene seems to fit in quite comfortably into the background with the roof extention pulled out-makes it feel immediately homey and comfy for a mid afternoon nap. I have never seen this state, nor Tennessee, but hear that there are nice things to see. Lots of history in these states. I do know the deep South, having spent 3 of my high school years there. I remember having fun, but was deeply affected by the cruelty of racism and unequality I witnessed at that time. I hear that things have changed and that my old HS is now finally integrated! You will have learned so many new things about the old US when you have finished your tour!
    Y’all have a great time and learn more about “talking country” with a Southern drawl : )

    1. I’ve covered even more territroy now. I’m near Heavener, OK, in the Ouchita National Forest. I’m not sure how it’s pronounced but I think it may be Oh-cheetah with the accent on the first syllable. I think I’m narroly escaping some intense thunderstorm cells–golfball size hail has been reported nearby, just to the northeast of my location. i heard the forecast yesterday and planned this camping location becasue it looked heavily forested in satellite pics. I thought I might get some protection from tree cover. None of the campsites really offer that, however, so my fingers have been crossed while I watch the radar images.

      The “roof extension” to which you refer is an awning.

      1. Are you back in Ok or does my I phone have jet lag? Thought you were headed to Florida? Going to Italy for a few days in two days to visit friends. I too have arrived as you put it in your last post from Montgomery Alabama. I have been enjoying one of the most beautiful spots on earth this last week and a half.will send photos of I can get my upgradeS to work. : )

  2. good, that is progress! Still up or already up? This is where I went to HS in SC. How does it feel, I wonder in 2015? modern, backward, traditional? Bon continuation de voyage!

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