Geography of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

Broken Arrow is a city located in northeastern Oklahoma, primarily situated in Tulsa County with a section extending north into Wagoner County. With a population of over 108,000 as of 2021, it is the fourth-largest city in the state. The city spans 85 square miles of rolling hills, plains, and forested areas.

Location and Regional Context

Placement Within Oklahoma

Broken Arrow lies in the northeastern section of Oklahoma, around 15 miles southeast of Tulsa, the state’s second-largest city. It sits almost exactly at the midpoint between Oklahoma’s northern and southern borders and between its eastern and western boundaries.

The city is part of the Tulsa Metropolitan Area, with suburbs and outlying communities spreading across Tulsa County and into portions of Wagoner, Rogers, and Creek Counties.

Bordering Cities and Geography

To the north of Broken Arrow is the city of Owasso. The western border abuts Tulsa. To the direct south are unincorporated sections of Tulsa County. The Verdigris River forms part of the city’s southern and eastern boundary as it flows from north to south. Smaller communities like Okay and Stonebluff border portions of the eastern city limits.

Topography and Geological Formations

Plains and Rolling Hills

The majority of Broken Arrow sits upon undulating plains and low, rolling hills typical of Oklahoma’s topography. Elevations range from around 600 feet in the southern and eastern sections near the Verdigris River, rising to around 900 feet in the central and northern areas of the city.

Rivers and Creeks

The Verdigris River winds through the eastern flank of the city, carving forested bluffs and sloping terrain. Several creeks such as Cat Creek, Elm Creek, and Crow Creek drain runoff from across the city, feeding into the Verdigris. These smaller waterways trace forested ravines and valleys across the landscape.

Soil Composition and Bedrock

Below the loamy topsoil, much of the bedrock underlying Broken Arrow consists of sandstone, limestone, dolomite, and shale – sedimentary rocks laid down in shallow seas covering Oklahoma over 300 million years ago during the Pennsylvanian Period.

Vegetation and Forested Areas

Broken Arrow contains a mix of prairie and Cross Timbers ecoregions. Prairie vegetation like tall grasses historically covered the central and western regions. Stands of Post Oak, Blackjack Oak, Elm and other hardwood species dominate wooded areas along the creeks and Verdigris River. The towering Burr Oak is also found scattered in more open areas or bordering prairie regions.

Climate and Weather Patterns

Temperatures and Precipitation

Broken Arrow has a humid subtropical climate, experiencing hot summers and cool winters. The warmest month is July, averaging highs of 94°F. January sees average lows of 28°F. Rainfall averages 40 inches per year and is generally heaviest in spring and early summer. Winters typically see some minor snowfall accumulations.

Tornadoes and Severe Storms

Northeastern Oklahoma lies within a major tornado corridor. As such, Broken Arrow faces threats from dangerous supercells, mesocyclones and tornadoes during the spring severe weather season from March through early summer when unstable atmospheric conditions are common.

Parks, Preserves and Recreational Areas

As a fast-growing suburb, Broken Arrow maintains an extensive parks system alongside preserved natural areas.

Parks and Multi-Use Trails

The Broken Arrow Parks Department oversees nearly 40 parks ranging from small neighborhood greenspaces to large complexes. Trails like the 60-mile Indian Woods Trail System connect across the city, following creeks and greenbelts.

Natural Areas and Nature Preserves

The Broken Arrow Chapter of the Audubon Society assists in managing over 150 acres of protected forest and prairie areas like the Ollie Starr Nature Preserve, a 97-acre site encompassing Cross Timbers habitat. These preserves provide opportunities to experience native ecological communities and encounter local wildlife.

Neighborhoods and Districts

Broken Arrow contains a diversity of neighborhoods, commercial and industrial districts.

Historic Downtown

Downtown Broken Arrow provides a window into the city’s origins, with early 20th century brick storefronts and government buildings centered around Main Street. The area features restaurants, shops and events spaces housed in preserved architecture.

Commercial Districts

The city hosts multiple modern shopping centers, restaurants and big box stores. Areas like the Rose District contain entertainment venues, boutique shops, lofts and dining situated along refurbished historic storefronts.

Residential Neighborhoods

Home styles range from 1950s ranches to new neighborhoods with massive McMansions. Areas near downtown incorporate Craftsman bungalows and other historic houses. Recent development expands south and east, filling previous prairie land with suburban homes.

Significant Locations and Local Landmarks

Broken Arrow contains many points of interest highlighting its unique culture and history.

Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World

This flagship outdoor retailer draws tourists who come to shop acres of hunting, fishing, boating and camping gear at the 200,000 square foot store and experience features like the indoor waterfall mountain.

Nienhuis Park

Broken Arrow takes pride in its 55-acre Nienhuis Park system. Alongside athletic fields and event pavilions, families enjoy miniature golf, go-karts, batting cages, playgrounds and picnic areas circled by walking trails.

Arrowhead Mall

As one of Oklahoma’s largest enclosed shopping centers, the Arrowhead Mall draws visitors to major department stores, smaller retailers, dining and entertainment options totaling over one million square feet.

Educational Institutions

Broken Arrow Public Schools serve the city’s families. Notable schools include:

Broken Arrow Senior High

The largest high school in Oklahoma sees over 3,600 students walk its halls. The campus opened in 2018, one of five public high schools across the district.

Northeastern State University – Broken Arrow

Part of this four year university hosts classes focused on business administration and adult education in a modern satellite campus located near downtown.

This local’s geographic guide gives an overview of Broken Arrow’s location, geology, climate, neighborhoods, landmarks and educational institutions. Whether a visitor, resident or considering relocation, it provides background on essential aspects that shape the city situated along Oklahoma’s Frontier Country.


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  • Take Highway 75 South from Tulsa towards Broken Arrow. After about 15 miles, take the OK-51 E exit towards Broken Arrow. Merge onto OK-51 E and drive for approximately 5 miles. Turn right onto S Elm Pl and continue for 0.2 miles. Turn left onto E 73rd St S. The destination will be on your right after about 0.3 miles.
  • From downtown Tulsa, head east on E 11th St towards S 129th E Ave for around 5 miles. Turn right to merge onto US-64 E/E 51st St S and continue for roughly 10 miles. Take the OK-51 E ramp on the left towards Broken Arrow. After about 5 miles, turn right onto S Elm Pl, then left onto E 73rd St S. 22902 E 73rd St S will be on the right after 0.3 miles.
  • Take the Creek Turnpike heading south from Tulsa. After around 15 miles, take exit 27A for OK-51 E towards Broken Arrow. Stay straight on OK-51 E for approximately 4.5 miles then turn right onto S Elm Pl. Make a left turn onto E 73rd St S and go 0.3 miles. The destination 22902 E 73rd St S will be on the right.