Natural Falls (Dripping Springs)

West Siloam Springs / Colcord / Delaware County, Oklahoma, USA

Rating: 2     Difficulty: 1.5
Natural Falls (dry) and Dripping Springs

TABLE OF CONTENTS



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INTRODUCTION

Natural Falls (I've also seen this referred to as Dripping Springs) was one of the more interesting waterfalls we stumbled upon in our research of Oklahoma Waterfalls, which prompted us to include it on our road trip through the South Central states in March 2016. In the literature, we saw that there was a tall 77ft waterfall plunging right over a few springs percolating and emerging through the middle of rocky cliff. Unfortunately, as you can see in the photo at the top of this page, the 77ft plunge wasn't flowing, but there were many springs in addition to what's pictured. Indeed, there were alcoves on either side of the main part of the falls, and within these alcoves, there were more springs emerging as waterfalls within their shady confines. We never really associated the state of Oklahoma as having any waterfalls of note, but a place like this defied those preconceptions, and we can totally see why the Natural Falls State Park was so busy during our visit.

Speaking of the visit, it was pretty brief as the trail to get to the bottom of the falls from the car park (see directions below) was quite easy and short. We basically descended alongside a gravel and grassy walkway with a coy pond, garden, and some fancy structures in the middle, then we went through an archway that led us onto a network of well-defined and well-signed trails. We kept right at the first junction, and then we checked out an overhanging platform draped over the deep canyon with a top down view of the Natural Falls and the Dripping Springs. This was the kind of lookout that could easily induce butterflies given that we were literally standing right above a dropoff.

After having our fill of this overlook, we then went behind us and descended a trail that curved to the left, went past a trail junction for a lake, then kept going down to the left along a set of steps ultimately bringing us to the base of the canyon. After a few more paces of walking over a bridge, we then arrived at the end of the trail, where there was a viewing deck with a few benches for sitting. There were easily two dozen people or more on this lookout deck during our visit, which attested to this place's popularity. Anyways, from this lookout deck, we looked over the attractive plunge pool (no swimming was allowed though) while we admired in the springs, the rugged rocks and cliffs surrounding us, and the impressive overlook as well as a bridge spanning part of the chasm high above us. When we had our fill of this place, we just headed back the way we came, and the entire excursion took less than an hour (including the time spent taking pictures and chilling out at the viewing deck).

On the way back, I took a brief detour to explore the trail going over the top of the dry Natural Falls, then curling to the high bridge spanning the chasm. However, it turned out that there really wasn't much of a view from up there as the girders and railings were thick, and the views from across the bridge were mostly obstructed. While viewing the waterfall would be the natural thing to do while in this state park, we noticed quite a few people staying here for more time as they'd be camping, picnicking, or going on other hikes in the area.

Finally, we wondered a bit about why the tall 77ft drop of Natural Falls was missing from our trip despite the heavy rains from the previous week that really hit Texas and Louisiana as well as parts of Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Mississippi. Our conclusion was that either those heavy rains didn't really hit the West Siloam Springs area (northeast Oklahoma) very much or the uppermost drop had a very short life. Whatever the case may be, I'd imagine timing would be a big part of seeing all the waterfalls flowing in one go. We definitely would've given this waterfall's scenic rating a higher score had that been the case. I guess it just wasn't meant to be on our visit.




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PHOTO JOURNAL

Another look at the main part of the Natural Falls and Dripping SpringsAnother look at the main part of the Natural Falls and Dripping Springs
At one of the trail junctions on the way down to the base of Natural Falls, we noticed this attractive lake down below, which hinted at some of the other activities on offer hereAt one of the trail junctions on the way down to the base of Natural Falls, we noticed this attractive lake down below, which hinted at some of the other activities on offer here
This was the visitor center, where we paid our entrance fee before continuing on to the waterfall car parkThis was the visitor center, where we paid our entrance fee before continuing on to the waterfall car park

This was the spacious car park for the waterfallThis was the spacious car park for the waterfall

This was the pretty fancy walkway leading to the waterfall areaThis was the pretty fancy walkway leading to the waterfall area

In this part of the fancy walkway, there was a koi pondIn this part of the fancy walkway, there was a koi pond

Surrounding the walkway to the waterfall were serene picnic groundsSurrounding the walkway to the waterfall were serene picnic grounds

Julie and Tahia checking out the koi before continuing on towards the waterfallsJulie and Tahia checking out the koi before continuing on towards the waterfalls

The archway marking the entrance to the waterfall viewing areaThe archway marking the entrance to the waterfall viewing area

Julie and Tahia on the well-established walkway leading to Natural FallsJulie and Tahia on the well-established walkway leading to Natural Falls

Looking towards the chasm where the overhanging lookout was on the right and a bridge spanning a part of the chasm was in the distanceLooking towards the chasm where the overhanging lookout was on the right and a bridge spanning a part of the chasm was in the distance

Looking down at the Dripping Springs and where the Natural Falls was supposed to plungeLooking down at the Dripping Springs and where the Natural Falls was supposed to plunge

Almost at the bottom of the descent into the chasm containing the Dripping Springs and Natural FallsAlmost at the bottom of the descent into the chasm containing the springs and waterfalls

Looking towards the main waterfall part while gaining a perspective of just how far out the lookout protruded from the end of the cliffLooking towards the main waterfall part while gaining a perspective of just how far out the lookout protruded from the cliff

Approaching the lookout deck at the end of the trailApproaching the lookout deck at the end of the trail

Another look at the main part of Natural Falls and Dripping SpringsAnother look at the main part of Natural Falls and Dripping Springs

Looking back at the bridge we had just crossed to get to the viewing deckLooking back at the bridge we had just crossed to get to the viewing deck

Upon closer examination of some of the alcoves, we saw that indeed there were more springs percolating and dropping into the Dripping Springs BranchUpon closer examination of some of the alcoves, we saw that indeed there were more springs percolating and dropping into the Dripping Springs Branch

On the way out, I made a brief detour on the other trail going above the Natural Falls' top and towards the high bridge spanning part of the chasmOn the way out, I made a brief detour on the other trail going above the Natural Falls' top and towards the high bridge spanning part of the chasm

This was perhaps the best view I could get through the thick girders and railings of the high bridge down to the waterfall area belowThis was perhaps the best view I could get through the thick girders and railings of the high bridge down to the waterfall area below

Going back up the walkway towards the car parkGoing back up the walkway towards the car park


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VIDEOS OF THE FALLS


At the base of Dripping Springs and Natural Falls checking out the alcoves as well as the falls itself (though the main one wasn't flowing)


At the overhanging platform checking out the Dripping Springs way down below


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DRIVING DIRECTIONS

We visited Natural Falls and Dripping Springs as part of a very long drive that started in Clarksville, Arkansas and ended in Ardmore, Oklahoma. Earlier that morning, we hiked to the Glory Hole before continuing the drive towards the joined towns of Springdale and Fayetteville then this waterfall. We then continued our route by driving west to Tulsa, then southwest to Oklahoma City, and finally south to Ardmore.

So in terms of driving directions, we'll just describe it from Springdale / Fayetteville to the east and from Tulsa to the west as these were probably the largest cities nearby.

From Springdale / Fayetteville, we kept going west along the Hwy 412 (we actually followed this highway from as far east as its junction with Hwy 21 just east of Marble, Arkansas). We'd eventually enter the town of West Siloam Springs right on the Arkansas-Oklahoma border (about 24 miles west of Springdale / Fayetteville). Then, we continued another 6 miles west of the state border to the N4680 Road (a Natural Falls State Park sign pointed the way left onto this road). We had to be careful about making this left turn because traffic moved very fast on the Hwy 412 at this point.

Once on the N4680 Road, we then drove for about a 1/4-mile before making another left onto another local road where the visitor center for the Natural Falls State Park could be seen on the right. This drive took us around 45 minutes. The day use fee for us was $5 per vehicle.

The drive east from Tulsa involved quite a bit of driving through Cherokee lands along the Cherokee Turnpike (still Hwy 412, but required a toll). In total, we drove roughly 66 miles between Tulsa and the N4680 Road for Natural Falls State Park. Once on the N4680 Road, follow the directions as above to get to the entrance for the state park.

Finally, to give you a sense of context, West Siloam Springs was 82 miles (about 90 minutes drive) east of Tulsa, 187 miles (about 3 hours drive) east of Oklahoma City, and 308 miles (about 5 hours drive) north of Dallas, Texas.




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ITINERARIES

For more information about our itineraries involving this waterfall, check out the following links.




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MAP OF THE FALLS



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TRIP REPORTS

For more information about our experiences with this waterfall, check out the following travel stories.




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TRIP PLANNING RESOURCES




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NEARBY WATERFALLS




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