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Bok tu kolo Creek, Oklahoma
Report by Marc W. McCord

Weyerhauser Road to US Highway 259
~ 9 miles

General Description

Flowing northwest to southeast into the Upper Mountain Fork River near "The Narrows" and just below Smithville is southeastern Oklahoma's Bok tu kolo Creek, a short but very exciting whitewater stream with Class II to III ledge drops, a tight, twisting channel, boulder garden rapids and incredible scenery. The creek is in the very remote and undeveloped McCurtain County near the Arkansas and Texas state lines. It is also very near the Upper and Lower Mountain Fork, Glover, Little and Kiamichi Rivers, as well as Big Creek, Eagle Fork Creek and Buffalo Creek. Bok tu kolo is hardly a perpetual flow stream, depending entirely upon recent local rainfall in heavy doses to make it navigable, but its close proximity to so many other great streams makes it another asset in the treasure of Oklahoma rivers, creeks and streams that are excellent for paddling, camping, fishing, hunting, birding, nature photography and many other outdoors recreational activities.

With a gradient of about 40 fpm, this is not the place for novice paddlers or others without sufficient whitewater skills and the proper boats and gear. In fact, its remoteness and difficulty demand that boaters be prepared to encounter and overcome any number of obstacles that include moderate drops, techical maneuvers, tree and boulder dodging and possibly occasional portages. The creek flows out from a Weyerhauser forest road down to the Upper Mountain Fork River just above "The Narrows" east of US Highway 259, the last practical take-out on the creek, though paddlers may opt to continue another 1.5 miles to the "Fork", then downstream to Broken Bow Lake if they so desire.

Location

McCurtain County in far southeastern Oklahoma, flowing into the Upper Mountain Fork River just below Smithville along US Highway 259, above Broken Bow Lake near Beaver Bend State Park and the town of Broken Bow, Oklahoma.

Distance from major cities

Oklahoma City 285 miles; Tulsa 250 miles; Dallas 285 miles; Austin 475 miles; San Antonio 555 miles; Houston 435 miles; Little Rock 235 miles; Kansas City 425 miles; Albuquerque 827 miles; Phoenix 1,266 miles; Denver 910 miles; Salt Lake City 1,386 miles (all distance are approximate depending upon starting point, destination at the river and route taken.)

Water Quality and Flow Rates

Generally good to excellent, except during prolonged droughts or other low water conditions. Bok tu kolo Creek requires a recent heavy local rainfall for navigable flows.

Best Times to Go

Any time shortly after a significant rain event in McCurtain County raises Bok tu kolo Creek to navigable levels is a good time to go, but beware of dangers in flood stage conditions. Except for occasional off-season thunderstorms or rainstorms the most likely times to find a decent flow will be spring and late-fall months.

Hazards to Navigation

Bok tu kolo Creek is rife with deadfall strainers, ledge and waterfall drops, tight and blind turns, a narrow channel, occasional boulder garden rapids and other natural hazards that can cause injury or death for inexperienced or inattentive paddlers. The general remoteness of the creek increases risk factors. At least strong intermediate level whitewater skills are recommended for this stream.

River access points

West side of Highway 246 low-water bridge at 0.0 miles; Unnamed road low-water crossing at 8.3 miles; Highway 4 crossing at 19.6 miles; The Narrows (washed out) low water bridge at 28.6 miles

Campgrounds and Accommodations

There are no campgrounds located along Bok tu kolo Creek. Panther Creek Campground on Broken Bow Lake offers access, camping and other conveniences. Hochatown State Park, located on the southwest end of Broken Bow Lake, and Beaver bend State Park, located on the Lower Mountain Fork River just below Broken Bow Lake, offer excellent camping facilities, and can serve as base camps for running rivers in the area. Mountain Fork Park, adjacent to Reregulation Dam, has RV parking, tent camping, picnic tables, restrooms and other amenities. At least two commercial campgrounds are available near Broken Bow and Smithville. Camping is permitted in a small park located at an old road crossing just below the Highway 4 crossing outside of Smithville. There are abundant riverside camping spots, but most are on private property - ALWAYS obtain permission from landowners before camping on private property!

Liveries, outfitters and shuttle services

There are no outfitters located along Bok tu kolo Creek, however, at lest six commercial outfitters are located nearby along or near the Mountain Fork River. There are no other canoe liveries or shuttle services operating on the Mountain Fork River.

Reviewer's comments

Bok tu kolo Creek is an uncrowded, seldom paddled whitewater stream with fantastic Class II to III rapids, ledge drops, tree-dodging and tight turns around blind corners in the Kiamichi Mountains of McCurtain County in far southeastern Oklahoma. A lack of sufficient flow most of the time prevents it from being a popular whitewater run, but those who catch it right after a significant rain event are fortunate to find a remote wilderness run far removed from signs of civilization where excitement is almost non-stop simply because you never know what lies around the next corner unless you have a lot of experience on this stream at various water levels. It is conveniently located near several other excellent Oklahoma and Arkansas streams including the Upper and Lower Mountain Fork, Glover, Kiamichi and Little Rivers, Buffalo, Bok tu kolo and Eagle Fork Creeks, all in Oklahoma, and the Little, Cossatot and Saline Rivers of southwestern Arkansas. The creek is located near US Highway 259, the nearest towns being Smithville and Broken Bow, though Antlers is just a few miles to the west. It is also close to the Texas-Oklahoma and Arkansas-Oklahoma borders. Bok tu kolo Creek is best left to experienced whitewater boaters with at least strong intermediate level skills and (hopefully) swiftwater rescue training because of the potential for pinning and wrapping, as well as personal injury. It is a very scenic run in an area with little development. No river-related services are available along the creek, but several outfitters offer boat rentals, shuttles and other services in nearby Broken Bow, Smithville and Antlers. Take a camera, but don't run into a strainer or boulder while shooting photos.

Technical Data
Class Rating I to II+ (IV)
Length 9 miles
Minimum Flow cfs
Optimum Flow cfs
Maximum Flow cfs
First Put-in Weyerhauser Forest Road
Lat. / Long. 34° 3927002' / -94° 743103'
Last Take-out US Highway 259 bridge
Lat. / Long. 34° 3933983' / -94° 7012024'
Elevation msl
Gradient 40 fpm
USGS Gauge
Boats Canoes, Kayaks
Season local rainfall dependent
Permits No


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