Natural Falls (Dripping Springs Falls)

West Siloam Springs / Colcord, Oklahoma, USA

About Natural Falls (Dripping Springs Falls)


Hiking Distance: 1/2-mile round trip
Suggested Time: 30 minutes

Date first visited: 2016-03-17
Date last visited: 2016-03-17

Waterfall Latitude: 36.17401
Waterfall Longitude: -94.66769

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Natural Falls (I’ve also seen this referred to as Dripping Springs) was one of the more interesting waterfalls we’ve encountered.

It was said to feature a tall 77ft drop over a few percolating springs emerging from the middle of its rocky cliff.

Natural_Falls_SP_039_03172016 - Natural Falls (though the taller 77ft waterfall wasn't flowing)
Natural Falls (though the taller 77ft waterfall wasn’t flowing)

Unfortunately, as you can see in the photo above, the taller plunge wasn’t flowing, but there were many springs spread out further below in addition to what’s pictured.

Indeed, there were alcoves on either side of the main part of the falls, and each one had many springs emerging 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.

Thus, we can totally see why the Natural Falls State Park was so busy during our visit.

Experiencing the Natural Falls and Dripping Springs – Descending to the bottom

Natural_Falls_SP_011_03172016 - Julie and Tahia checking out some of the koi ponds along the way to the Natural Falls
Julie and Tahia checking out some of the koi ponds along the way to the Natural Falls

Speaking of our visit, it was pretty brief as the trail to get to the bottom of the falls from the parking lot (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.

Natural_Falls_SP_020_03172016 - Context of the overhanging observation platform above the Natural Falls with a bridge traversing the canyon in the background
Context of the overhanging observation platform above the Natural Falls with a bridge traversing the canyon in the background

This was the kind of lookout that could easily induce butterflies given that we were literally standing right above the open air of a dropoff.

After having our fill of this overlook, we then went behind us and descended a trail that curved to the left.

We then went past a trail junction for a lake before we 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.

Natural_Falls_SP_022_03172016 - The view from the overhanging lookout towards the Natural Falls and Dripping Springs
The view from the overhanging lookout towards the Natural Falls and Dripping Springs

This was where there was a viewing deck with a few benches for sitting for admiring the Natural Falls and the Dripping Springs.

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 the springs.

In addition, we looked up at the rugged rocks and cliffs surrounding us, and we looked up at the impressive overlook as well as a bridge spanning part of the chasm high above us.

Natural_Falls_SP_035_03172016 - Context of the overhanging lookout platform and the Natural Falls with Dripping Springs as seen from near the end of the short trail to the bottom
Context of the overhanging lookout platform and the Natural Falls with Dripping Springs as seen from near the end of the short trail to the bottom

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.

This included the time we spent taking pictures and chilling out at the viewing decks.

Experiencing the Natural Falls and Dripping Springs – Extending the Visit

On the way back, I took a brief detour to explore the trail going over the top of the dry taller drop of the Natural Falls.

This trail curled to the high bridge spanning the chasm.

Natural_Falls_SP_095_03172016 - Partial view of the Natural Falls and Dripping Springs from the bridge spanning the canyon
Partial view of the Natural Falls and Dripping Springs from the bridge spanning the canyon

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.

Why didn’t the taller drop of Natural Falls flow?

Finally, we wondered a bit about why the tall 77ft drop of Natural Falls was missing from our visit 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.

Natural_Falls_SP_056_03172016 - Closer look at the Dripping Springs as the taller Natural Falls did not flow during our visit
Closer look at the Dripping Springs as the taller Natural Falls did not flow during our visit

Either that or perhaps 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.

Authorities

Natural Falls and Dripping Springs reside in the Natural Falls State Park near West Siloam Springs in Delaware County, Oklahoma. It is administered by the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website or Facebook page.

Natural_Falls_SP_005_03172016 - This was the pretty fancy walkway leading to the Natural Falls and Dripping Springs waterfall area
Natural_Falls_SP_102_03172016 - In this part of the fancy walkway between the parking lot and the Natural Falls and Dripping Springs Waterfall area, there was a koi pond
Natural_Falls_SP_006_03172016 - Surrounding the walkway to the Natural Falls and Dripping Springs waterfall area were serene picnic grounds
Natural_Falls_SP_009_03172016 - Julie and Tahia continuing along the nice little walk by the koi ponds towards the Natural Falls waterfall area
Natural_Falls_SP_013_03172016 - Looking back up towards the parking lot where there were nice flower beds in addition to the koi ponds on the initial walk to the waterfall viewing area for Natural Falls
Natural_Falls_SP_015_03172016 - The archway marking the entrance to the waterfall viewing area for Natural Falls and Dripping Springs
Natural_Falls_SP_017_03172016 - Julie and Tahia on the well-established walkway leading to Natural Falls
Natural_Falls_SP_024_03172016 - Continuing on the trail leading down to the base of the Natural Falls and Dripping Springs
Natural_Falls_SP_026_03172016 - Initially, the descent to the base of the Natural Falls and Dripping Springs was pretty gentle along this trail
Natural_Falls_SP_031_03172016 - At one of the trail junctions on the way to the bottom of the Natural Falls and Dripping Springs, we noticed this attractive lake (for fishing) in the distance
Natural_Falls_SP_033_03172016 - The descending trail to the bottom of the Natural Falls and Dripping Springs as it approached some bridges
Natural_Falls_SP_034_03172016 - Context of the end of the trail as we were almost at the bottom of the descent into the chasm containing the Dripping Springs and Natural Falls
Natural_Falls_SP_037_03172016 - Approaching the lookout deck at the end of the trail, which was right in front of the Natural Falls and Dripping Springs
Natural_Falls_SP_046_03172016 - Looking closely at the main part of Natural Falls and Dripping Springs though most of the action was below as the taller drop did not run during our visit
Natural_Falls_SP_058_03172016 - Another look up at the Natural Falls and Dripping Springs from the lower lookout
Natural_Falls_SP_071_03172016 - Looking back at the bridge we had just crossed to get to the viewing deck of the Natural Falls and Dripping Springs at the end of the trail
Natural_Falls_SP_079_03172016 - Upon closer examination of some of the alcoves, we saw that indeed there were more springs percolating and dropping into the Dripping Springs Branch
Natural_Falls_SP_084_03172016 - Heading back up to the rim of the gorge after having our fill of the bottom lookout for the Natural Falls and Dripping Springs
Natural_Falls_SP_087_03172016 - 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 chasm
Natural_Falls_SP_088_03172016 - Another look back towards the context of the overhanging lookout and the long bridge both overlooking Natural Falls and Dripping Springs from a bridge over where the Natural Falls would have flowed
Natural_Falls_SP_098_03172016 - Looking back towards an elevated view of the overhanging lookout fronting the Natural Falls and Dripping Springs

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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.

Driving from Springdale / Fayetteville, AK to Natural Falls State Park

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).

Natural_Falls_SP_002_03172016 - The parking lot for the Natural Falls State Park
The parking lot for the Natural Falls State Park

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.

Natural_Falls_SP_003_03172016 - We noticed what appeared to be some kind of contraption that looked like a solar water heater near the parking lot for Natural Falls State Park
We noticed what appeared to be some kind of contraption that looked like a solar water heater near the parking lot for Natural Falls State Park

This drive took us around 45 minutes.

The day use fee for us was $5 per vehicle as of our March 2016 visit.

Driving from Tulsa, OK to Natural Falls State Park

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.

Natural_Falls_SP_104_03172016 - Looking towards the visitor center of the Natural Falls State Park where we paid our entrance fees before continuing on to the parking lot
Looking towards the visitor center of the Natural Falls State Park where we paid our entrance fees before continuing on to the parking lot

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.

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

Tagged with: west siloam springs, colcord, delaware county, oklahoma, waterfall, tulsa, oklahoma city, dripping springs



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Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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