You will find Natural Falls State Park at 19068 East 578 Road, Colcord, Oklahoma in the northeast of the state, close to the border with Arkansas, in the Ozark Highlands region.
The centerpiece of this beautiful park is undoubtedly the 77-foot high waterfall, known locally as Dripping Springs Falls, but renamed by the state to Natural Falls to avoid confusion with Dripping Springs State Park. When the movie, Where the Red Fern Grows, was made in 1974, the waterfall was known by its original name.
There are boardwalks set up to enable visitors to view the magnificent falls. It can also be seen from certain places along some trails and also on some overlooks. There is also an observation platform to be found both overlooking the falls, and at the foot of the falls.
Most visitors expect Oklahoma to be open, rolling plains and prairies. Parts of the state do indeed conform to that model, but in the region of the Ozarks, rugged beauty with a delightful diversity of plant and animal life should be expected.
Much of the park is dense forest, mostly consisting of white oaks, maples and chinquapin. The forest floor where it’s cooler is covered by plants such as spicebush, pawpaw, redbud, sassafras, flowering dogwood, and coral berry.
There are a number of campsite throughout the park with a total of 27 sites for tents, and 44 sites for recreational vehicles, with seven of them offering full hookup. A comfort station with shower and bathroom facilities can also be found at the campsites.
Nearby the falls there is a small swimming area by the side of a creek. Swimming is not allowed at the natural falls themselves, however. The visitor to the falls will quickly realise why, as this is a rare sanctuary of peace with only the sound of the waterfall to break the serenity.
This scenic region became the Cherokee Nation in the 1830s, following the Trail of Tears, a time when the Cherokee people were forced to march west; a time when so many of them died in atrocious conditions.
The waterfall creates a moist, humid atmosphere where mosses, liverworts and ferns grow in abundance. The area was privately owned previously, and was open to the public for viewing. Subsequently the park was taken over by the state who currently run it.
Getting to Natural Falls State Park is not difficult. It is within a few miles south of US-412, and about eight miles west of West Siloam Springs, which is a town just inside the Oklahoma / Arkansas border.
There is an entrance fee of $5 per vehicle to the park, which is open from 8.30 am to 5 pm. Seniors and honorably discharged veterans of Oklahoma origin are admitted free, but need to show valid documentation. There is a charge of $12 at tent sites, and a charge of $20 for RV sites where the hookup includes electricity and water. For RV sites with full hookup including sewer facilities, the charge is $23. On the Premium sites within the park there is an additional $5 charge. You can contact Natural Falls State Park at 918-422-5802.