Outdoor Activities/Parks

Outdoor Activities

Majestic mountains, vast forests, famous streams and rushing waterfalls are some of the many memorable sights in Western Arkansas’ Mountain Frontier. Scenic highways and byways cut across the region’s mountainous terrain. Notable scenic spots include Artist Point north of Mountainburg on Scenic Byway 71 and Ozark Bridge on Scenic Highway 23.

State parks offer outstanding outdoor opportunities. Lake Fort Smith State Park near Mountainburg; Mount Magazine State Park near Paris; and Queen Wilhemina State Park near Mena are worth visiting time and time again. Mount Magazine State Park and Queen Wilhelmina State Park boast first-class lodging and dining. Lake Fort Smith State Park features group lodging, camping and fishing.

Recreation areas boast excellent hunting, fishing and wildlife watching. Camp Albert Pike Recreation Area near Mena is located on the Little Missouri River and is stocked annually with rainbow trout. Local and state parks are great for picnicking, nature walking, geocaching and sports, such as softball, tennis, swimming and miniature golf. Locate 18-hole golf courses throughout the region for picture-perfect play.

Lakes and rivers are a sportsman’s paradise with fishing and canoeing for all skill levels. The Buffalo, Mulberry and Petit Jean rivers are all popular places to canoe and kayak. The Cossatot River boasts Class III, IV and V rapids for advanced floaters only. Resorts and outfitters are located throughout the region to supply all of your outdoor needs.

Lakes & Rivers

Alma Lake

Located north of Alma Aquatic Park.  Floating pier, walking trails and disc golf.

Arkansas River

Fishing opportunities abound on the river. Recreation areas feature picnic facilities and boat launching ramps.

Blue Mountain Lake

A favorite spot for fishing and water sports. Five Corps of Engineers recreation and camping sites around the lake. Located 17 miles east of Booneville on Hwy. 10.

Charleston Lake

Located at the end of South School Street off Highway 22, this lake offers fishing by boat or pier, as well as RV camping and a pavillion.

Cove Lake

This pristine lake at the base of Mount Magazine offers visitors swimming, boating, camping and fishing. Located near Paris and Booneville.

Cossatot River

Beginning southeast of Mena, the Cossatot flows south for about 26 miles to Gilham Lake. The river features Class III, IV and V rapids. This river is not for beginners! For river level information, call 479-387-3141. For park information, call 870-385-2201.

Fourche La Fave River

Great for canoeing and smallmouth bass fishing. Located near "Y" City south of Waldron.

Lake Fort Smith & Shores Lake

Lakes feature good fishing for bass and panfish. Located in Mountainburg area near White Rock Mountain.

Lake Jack Nolen

This lake, built in 1990 by the Game and Fish Commission, is well stocked with several varieties of fish. Located off of Chisomville Road, Greenwood.

Lakes Hinkle, Waldron, and Sqaure Rock

Near Waldron, all three are great for catches of bass and panfish.

Mulberry River

Designated a National Wild and Scenic River in 1992. Delivers white-water rafting and canoeing during early spring. The river is approximately 55 miles long and is an excellent choice when angling for bass or sunfish in late spring and early summer. It's also great for swimming. (479) 667-2949.

Ozark Lake

Created by Ozark Lock and Dam on the Arkansas River, also features Aux Arc Park with campsites available. South of bridge on Hwy. 23. The Lake covers 10,600 acres of water area; the shoreline extends for a distance of 173 miles with a land area of 6,349 acres surrounding the lake. Major recreational activities include sightseeing, camping, boating, swimming, skiing, hiking, fishing, hunting, picnicking, scuba diving, and more.

Petit Jean River

Located south of Booneville, the beautiful Petit Jean River is home to great fishing and canoeing.

Shores Lake

Located near Mulberry, this 82 acre-lake is known for excellent fishing, swimming, hiking and picnicking.

Truman Baker Lake and Park

Four-acre lake with pavilions.  Great for picnics and fishing.  On Haw Creek near Waldron.


Parks & Recreation Areas/Trails

Bell Park

Located north of downtown on Main Street, Greenwood. The large park offers two ball fields, playground, picnic facilities, volleyball court and horseshoe pits. Ampitheater and events building designed for open-air or closed seating for 300. Famous for its natural beauty, the park offers bird's-eye view of the town and valley surrounding the city. For information call 479-996-4119.

Ben Green Regional Park

This county park has 1,300 acres with everything from the largest disc golf course in the region to more than 12 miles of walking and biking trails.  The park also offers sports facilities, a public golf course, picnic areas and a playground.  It is also home to the new Parrot Island Water Park.  7200 Zero St., Fort Smith;  479-646-2444.

Camp Albert Pike Recreation Area

The Little Missouri River is used for canoeing, tubing and swimming, and is annually stocked with rainbow trout. A wildlife check station has licenses and supplies for hunting and fishing. Located near Mena.

Constitution Park

Picnic and play area, pavillion, tennis court, street hockey court. Located behind city hall in Mansfield.

Cossatot River State Park - Natural Area

Facilities include picnic sites, a nature trail, solar-powered restrooms, a pedestrian walkway, an outdoor ampitheater, a playground, exhibit gallery, 22 campsites and 20 miles of hiking trails. Located at 1980 Hwy. 278, Wickes; call 870-385-2201.

Cove Lake Bath House

Located on the 160-acre lake near Mount Magazine.  Bathhouse, picnic areas, and campsites.  Swimming, canoeing, boating, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, horseshoes, mini golf and volleyball.  Open year-round.  Paris.  479-963-6421.

Dry Creek Wilderness Area

6,300 acres featuring secluded forest, flowing streams and sandstone bluffs. Offers a wide variety of scenic resources. ATV trails at Sugar Creek Multi-use Trail. Located near Waldron.

Fort Smith River Park

Fort Smith's riverfront features additional venues for work or play at the River Park complex including an ampitheater, events building and pavillion.

Jack Creek Recreation Area

Jack Creek offers beautiful hiking trails, bluffs, and picnic and swimming areas. Located about 10 miles south of Booneville and 20 miles east of Waldron.

Janssen Park

Beautifully landscaped 10-acre historic park in the heart of downtown Mena. Ideal location for family picnics and strolling or relaxing beside two natural bodies of water with flowing fountains. Located in Mena.

Knoppers Ford Recreation Area

Beautiful bluffs, picnic and camping sites, and Sugar Creek Equestrian Trail. Located about 12 miles south of Booneville in the Ouachita National Forest.

Lake Fort Smith State Park

Features 10 fully equipped cabins, group lodging, campsites, picnic sites, a pavillion, marina, swimming pool, walking trails and visitor's center. Located eight miles north of Mountainburg; call 479-369-2469.

Lee Creek Reservoir Recreation Area

Boating ramps, fishing pier, hiking trails, wildlife areas and public restrooms.  Van Buren.  479-784-2248

Little Pines Recreation Area

Camping facilities for RV's and tents, picnic area, swimming, fishing, boat ramp areas, restrooms and dump station. Located west of Waldron on Hwy. 248 near Lake Hinkle.

Mansfield City Lake Park

A nine-acre park with covered picnic tables, a pavillion, camping area and 40-acre fishing lake with boat launching ramp. Located east of Mansfield.

McMillan Park

Park consists of an Olympic-size pool, baseball fields, picnic areas and tennis courts. 

Located in Mena.

Mount Magazine State Park

Campsites are available all year. A very impressive lodge at Mount Magazine and fully equipped cabins. Located atop Mount Magazine.

Ouachita National Forest

1.6 million-acre forest has picnic areas, campgrounds and trails. Located in west central Arkansas; call 501-321-5200.

Ozark Highlands Hiking Trail

One of the longest hiking trails in the country. Extends 180 miles from Lake Fort Smith State Park to the Buffalo National River, passing through eight public campgrounds. Local access is 17 miles north of Ozark on Scenic Highway 23. 479-667-2949.

Ozark National Forest

1.2-million-acre forest has campgrounds, picnic areas, lakes, trails and cabins. Take the picturesque drive from Ozark via Scenic Highway 23 (The Pig Trail). 479-667-2949.

Poteau Mountain Hiking

Miles of trails on Poteau Mountain (USFS) just south of Mansfield. Hiking, ATV and equestrian trails.

Queen Wilhelmina State Park

Perched atop rugged Rich Mountain nearly 3,000 feet above sea level, the lodge and restaurant are open following a $9.7 million renovation.  The park has camping, a miniature railroad. Miniature golf and hiking trails.  3877 Hwy 88 West, Mena;  1-800-264-2477;  www.queenwilhelmina.com.

Shady Lake Recreation Area

A 25-acre lake is the centerpiece of this playground in the Ouachita Mountains. Beach, fishing, swimming, picnic and camping sites, a boat and fishing dock, hiking trails and an ampitheater. Located near Mena.

Sodie Davidson Park

Includes swimming pool, ball fields, soccer fields, tennis court and pond for fishing. Located in Waldron.

Springhill Park

U.S. Corps of Engineers park adjacent to the Arkansas River. Camping, fishing, boating, boat ramps, playgrounds, pavilions, restrooms and showers. Located 1.5 miles north of Barling on Ark. Hwy. 59.

Wildcat Marina

Located on the Arkansas River at Mike Meyer Riverfront Park in Van Buren. Offers slip rentals and sales, convenience store and overnight accomodations including laundry, shower and clean restrooms. Call 479-242-1187.

Wolf Pen Gap ATV Trail

The 50-mile trail is the first formal trail system specifically for four-wheelers and dirt bikes in the Ouachita National Forest. Located near Mena; call 479-394-2382.



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