Photo Gallery | What's new at Arkansas State Parks
Lake Catherine State Park near Hot Springs [southwest Arkansas]—This state park (in the Ouachita Mountains between Hot Springs and Malvern) on the shores of 1,940-acre Lake Catherine now includes a new barrier-free trail. The Hidden Creek Trail stretches for one-half mile alongside Slunger Creek, waters that flow into Slunger Bay on the lake’s western side. Along this concrete trail are benches where hikers can relax and enjoy the sounds of the water flowing over rocks along this Ouachita Mountain creek.
Lake Fort Smith State Park near Mountainburg [northwest Arkansas]—Last March, 10 new park cabins opened at Lake Fort Smith State Park. These rental cabins were designed to be reminiscent of 1930s Works Progress Administration (WPA)-style work featured in the *original park. One-story structures, they include both one-bedroom and two-bedroom designs. Five of the cabins feature one bedroom and one bathroom each, and the other five each offer two bedrooms and two bathrooms. Each cabin includes a great room with wood-burning fireplace, high definition satellite TV, kitchen, and dining area. At the back of each one is a large, elevated covered deck with a woods view. On the ground level below are a picnic table and a grill. To meet the needs of visitors with disabilities, two cabins—a one-bedroom cabin and a two-bedroom cabin—are barrier-free designs.
[*NOTE: A partnership between the City of Fort Smith (City) and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism (ADPT), Lake Fort Smith State Park reopened in May 2008 at its new site on the western side of Lake Fort Smith. The park closed in January 2002 to be relocated from its original site due to the enlarging of Lake Fort Smith and Lake Shepherd Springs into a single reservoir to meet the future municipal water needs of the Fort Smith area. The City owns the 258-acre park and leases it to the ADPT. The City directed $12 million towards the new park, and the ADPT funded another $10 million from Amendment 75, Arkansas’s Conservation Amendment.]
Additional trails have been constructed recently (and are currently under construction) at Lake Fort Smith State Park so hiking enthusiasts can enjoy more adventures in this scenic valley of the Boston Mountain Range in the Ozarks.
Petit Jean State Park atop Petit Jean Mountain near Morrilton [west central Arkansas]—Four new RENT-A-YURT tents are now available on the lakeshore of Lake Bailey at Petit Jean State Park. These (already set up) high walled tents include electricity, wood floors, screened windows, and door with locks. Each one sleeps up to six persons. Each yurt is equipped with cots, a lantern, stove, and ice chest. A canoe for enjoying the waters of 100-acre Lake Bailey is included with each yurt rental. (Rent-A-Yurt cost=$55/day).
Delta Heritage Trail State Park near Barton [southeast Arkansas]—Arkansas’s rail-to-trail conversion in southeast Arkansas now includes an additional seven miles of trail (bringing the total to 21 miles of trail that have been constructed to date on this trail that’s under development). This compacted, crushed rock hiking and biking trail is being developed in phases along the former Union Pacific Railroad right-of-way stretching from one mile south of Lexa (six miles west of Helena) to Rohwer, and extending via the Mississippi River levee to Arkansas City. These 21 miles of trail are in the northern portion of the trail and stretch from Helena junction to Elaine. The park visitor center and a tent sites are on Ark. 49 at Barton.
Lake Charles State Park at Powhatan [northeast Arkansas]—This park on the shores of 645-acre Lake Charles includes a new Rent-An-RV. This trailer with heat and air-conditioning, refrigerator, microwave, stove, TV, private bath with shower, and deck with gas grill is permanently set up a park campsite offering full hookups. Cooking utensils are included. Linens are not furnished. This RV sleeps up to eight persons. (Rent-An-RV cost=$70/day)
Woolly Hollow State Park near Greenbrier [central Arkansas]—This park northwest of Conway in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains will soon include a new nine-and-one-half-mile hiking and mountain bike trail. It will open this May. This trail will be in addition to the trails already offered in this park. This new trail will be a good representation of the terrain found in the foothills of the Ozarks. In winter, it will offer views from ridges at the park’s 40-acre Lake Bennett below.
DeGray Lake Resort State Park at Bismarck [southwest Arkansas near Arkadelphia]—Arkansas’s resort state park will soon include a new, nine-hole disk golf course. Construction of this course is nearing completion, so it will be open by summer. Plans are to expand it later to 18 holes. Fun for all ages, disc golf is becoming an increasingly popular sport in many parts of the U.S. This will be the Arkansas state park system’s first disk golf course. [NOTE: DeGray Lake Resort State Park also includes an 18-hole championship golf course.]
Ozark Folk Center State Park at Mountain View [north central Arkansas]—The only park dedicated to the perpetuation and interpretation of the heritage of the Ozark region will soon feature, for the first time, a performance by folk singer, storyteller, and musician Arlo Guthrie. He will perform on stage at the Ozark Folk Center’s 1,000-seat Music Auditorium on March 29. The concert begins at 7:00 (doors open at 6:00 p.m.) General admission tickets are $30 and are available by calling 870-269-3851. [NOTE: This upcoming performance by Arlo Guthrie is part of the Ozark Folk Center’s 2014 Celebrity Concert Series. Grammy Award-winning country singer Marty Stuart will perform here on stage July 5 at 7 p.m.]
Village Creek State Park near Wynne [northeast Arkansas]—Arkansas’s second largest state park in land area, 6,910-acre Village Creek State Park includes The Ridges at Village Creek, one of Arkansas State Park’s two golf courses [NOTE: The other state park golf course is at DeGray Lake Resort State Park near Arkadelphia.] This 27-hole golf course at Village Creek was designed by renowned designer Andy Dye and features PGA-caliber championship layout. The rolling terrain of Crowley’s Ridge, including dramatic elevation changes, makes for challenging play at this outstanding public course. The new Pro Shop for The Ridges at Village Creek, the 27-hole public golf course within Village Creek State Park, will open in the next several weeks. Call 870-238-5226 for tee times, or book online at: TheRidgesAtVillageCreek.com.
Mississippi River State Park near Marianna [eastern Arkansas]—Last May marked the opening of Mississippi River State Park’s new 12,208-square-foot information and education facility. This visitor center is uniquely staffed by both Arkansas State Parks and U.S. Forest Service employees to serve as an information and interpretive center for the state park and the St. Francis National Forest. This visitor center is on Ark. 44 three miles southeast of Marianna.