Posted by Jessie K / Saturday, June 6, 2015 / 2 Comments / Creek , Easy Access , Illiniois River , JT Nickel Wildlife Preserve , Kid Friendly , My Favorites , Oklahoma , Proctor , Secret Spots , Swimming Holes
The Bathtub Rocks in Tahlequah, OK
Oh the power of Instagram! I stumbled upon a picture of "The Bathtub Rocks" while searching through pictures under the "#Ozarks" hashtag. When I found out that it was within a do-able day trip drive, we packed up left almost immediately. Seriously, this place is THAT COOL! The Bathtub Rocks are one of those "secret local spots" that when I find out about, gives me a rush of excitement! I LOVE discovering the secrets of the Ozarks, and today i'm going to share this one with you.The Bathtub Rocks are located in Proctor, OK within the 17,000 acre J.T Nickel Wildlife Preserve. There is no fee to enter the preserve. The reserve overlooks the Illinois river. It's a lot of gravel roads, spring fed creeks, narrow valleys, and rugged terrain--a truly beautiful area!
This particular place in the preserve is conveniently located at a creek crossing along a gravel road. The rocks here have been cut deep and smoothed over by the creek so much so that they form smooth pools and slides. One of the pools in particular is deep enough to jump into and become completely submerged! Some of the water pour-offs are so smooth, that you are able to slide down when the water is flowing well enough to do so. It's a geological waterpark!
We visited on a Saturday and got here early enough in the day to enjoy it for a bit without a crowd. However, the locals filled this place up quick after a while and it got pretty busy. It would be awesome to visit again during a weekday perhaps. Even with the crowd though, we had a great time!
|If you explore downstream you'll find huge boulders, more swimming holes, and lots more to explore!|
To get to the preserve
I looked up and found "Bathtub Rocks" on Google Maps and let my phone navigation take me right to the spot. If you don't have access to navigation, follow the directions below.
The preserve is accessed by one main county road (E0685 on Google Maps) that runs east to west right through the middle.
-To get here, turn east off of Highway 10 at the road immediately north of Eagle Bluff Canoe Rental (E0690).
-Follow that road for .8 Miles and TURN RIGHT on N 569 RD.
-Follow that road for .4 miles and continue onto D4569 RD.
-At about 4.6 miles, you'll come to a large and obvious creek crossing. The Bathtub Rocks will be on your right. There is parking on the right or you can cross the creek, go up a small hill and there is more parking on the side of the road there.
Please help keep special places like this open for us and future generations of outdoor lovers to enjoy. When people don't behave respectfully, places like these inevitably get shut down and closed to access. Act safely and adopt and adhere to a "leave no trace" policy and always pick up your trash. Even better, try to bring an extra trashbag wherever you go so that you can pick up trash previously left behind if you find it. We can all do our part to make sure these places stay beautiful and open to all!