Ozark National Forest Camping: Ozark Campgrounds Review for Campers

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In the northwestern part of Arkansas, you would find unique and mysterious state forests bounded by mountains and rivers and mainly made up of a plateau.

The Ozark National Park is the home of Arkansas tallest mountain, Mount Magazine. It offers 1.2 million acres of unique but breathtaking features that would provide great camping activities on wilderness grounds.

Up from miles of hiking, biking, and OHV trails, down to the scenic views of springs, streams, and dams. This place would give an extreme yet unforgettable adventure.

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The fun might get doubled with two distinct forests jammed in one place! Ozark National Forest encompasses most of the Ozark Mountains, including the greatest peak in Arkansas. Magic casts out once dogwood and redbud bloom during springtime, moreover when the leaves change their color during fall. 

You would never run out of activities and opportunities to explore when you are in this place. So, to help you easily map out your tour in the  Ozark-St. Francis National Forest, here we have prepared information that might be helpful to you and your trip.

ADDRESS

Russellville, AR 72801, United States

CONTACT NUMBER

(479) 667-2191

(479) 968-2354

WEBSITE

https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/osfnf/about-forest/about-site/?cid=fsm8_042910

CAMPING TYPES

Developed 

Primitive

GOOGLE MAP LINK

https://goo.gl/maps/DLKG7KotDrt9jZRf7

THINGS TO DO

  • Biking
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Ozark-St. Francis National Forest offers plenty of biking site choices; you could pursue biking in spots like Blanchard Springs, Brock site, Austin, Mountain Man, Zing, Buckhorn, Huckleberry Mountain, Lake Wedington, Mill, and Moccasin Gap.

  • Picnicking
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Most of the sites here offer nearby group or individual meal-shelter. Though few have swimming beaches, tables, and pavilions, there are still sites that offer a common but relaxing spot beside streams and rivers.

Please keep dogs on leashes at all times. Animals are not allowed on the beaches or in swim sites.

  • Hiking and OHV riding
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The site encompasses over 400 miles of hiking courses and over 1,000 miles of OHV courses that you could explore. 

  • Horseback riding
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When visiting Ozark-St Francis (NF) gives plenty of opportunities to enjoy courses by horseback riding because they offer sites designated for this activity type. 

  • Boating and Fishing
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Here, You dont need to choose between motorized or non-motorized boating activities; they offer them both! You could enjoy riding kayaks, rafts, and canoes. 

Get your rods ready; staying here would also expose you to different fishing spots to catch various fish species. 

  • SWIMMING
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You must visit (OZK); its ground offers dams, beaches, and rivers open for you. But note that we are swimming at your own risk; there are no lifeguards at these sites.

  • Wildlife watching
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Since its forest, you could expect that it is abundant in wildlife, though some are not usually spotted due to shyness, rest assured that this place is rich in wildlife. 

  • Camping
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(OZK) offers a lot of Campgrounds that you could enjoy. Here, you could either camp in developed sites or camp in primitive and dispersed sites (wilderness areas)  where amenities are not reachable. The good thing here is, most of these sites are available for Large Vehicles.

Campgrounds in Ozarks St. Francis National Parks

1. Bayou Bluff Recreation Area

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This site is situated near the Illinois Bayou and features picturesque bluffs and majestic scenery. It is one of the great sites based on others reviews and comments. 

HOW TO GET THERE

From Hector, you take AR 27 north for approximately 6 miles.

CONTACT DETAILS

(479)284-3150 or (870)446-5122

CAMPGROUND TYPE

Developed

MANAGED BY

Big Piney Ranger Dst.

PRICE RANGE

Site: $10

Pavillion: $35

CLOSEST TOWNS

Hector, Dover, Russellville

SITE AVAILABILITY AND SITE RENTALS

Available year-round. 

All sites follow a first-come, first-served basis (No booking). However, the pavilion is available. To rent the pavilion, please call 479-284-3150. 

RESTRICTIONS

This site could not accommodate Large Vehicles.

AMENITIES

  • Restroom (Vault)
  • Pavilion
  • Cabins

ACTIVITIES

  • amp trip and Cabins stay – There’s one Civilian Conservation Corps or CCC shelter at Bayou Bluff’s lower loop, where you could overlook the Illinois Bayou. At the same time, the upper loop ground has the traditional tent campsite setting. It would cost you $10 for a night camp. 
  • Fishing – Get your rods ready because you are allowed to fish in the River and Stream. 
  • Hiking – Hiking is allowed; this place offers a Bayou bluff course that you could enjoy. 
  • Nature Viewing – Here, You could enjoy Natural views, including wildlife, plants, and landscapes.
  • Group or Individual meals – There are picnic shelters with tables available.
  • Swimming – The Bayou Bluff is located right on the Illinois Bayou; you could Swim at your own risk.

2. Bear Creek Lake Recreation Area

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It is a 625-acre site that features over 30 mi of shoreline and offers camping, swimming, canoeing, fishing, and hiking. Situated on top of Crowley’s Ridge, this site offers three developed campgrounds, shelters, a natural course, a swim beach, and an accessible fishing pier with numerous opportunities to enjoy your get-away. It is one of the great sites based on other campers’ reviews and comments. 

HOW TO GET THERE

From Marianna, you could take AR 44 southeast for approximately seven (mi).

CONTACT DETAILS

Marianna Office:

870-295-4040

CAMPGROUND TYPE

Developed

MANAGED BY

Mississippi River State Park

PRICE RANGE

FREE (For day use)

CLOSEST TOWNS

Marianna

SITE AVAILABILITY AND SITE RENTALS

Sites are available from April to May.  

Day-use sites Available year-round.

The Mississippi River State Park manages this site. For inquiries, please call the Mississippi River State Park – Marianna Office at 870-295-4040.

RESTRICTIONS

The Maximum boat motor size is ten hp.

AMENITIES

  • Restroom (Vault)

ACTIVITIES

  • Fishing – Within the streams, you would find Trophy Largemouth Bass, Red-eyed Bream, Channel Catfish, and other fish species. 

Fish Your National Park: This place is accessible by Passenger Car; There is plenty of fish available here, including Bass, Panfish, and they of different types of fishing opportunity such as Shore fishing, Motorized boat, Float tube, Fly, Spin, and Bait.  

  • Hiking: If you are fond of courses, the Bear Nature Trail provides a square loop winding through a forested site. It offers scenic views of the stream shoreline, including Beech Point, and interpretive posts highlighting ecology in action. 

Other activities:

  • Swimming
  • Picking

 

3. Blanchard Springs Recreation Area

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The Blanchard Springs features rich outdoor scenery.

Here, you could take a stroll on the paved trail, where Blanchard Springs gushes like a waterfall from the hillside, you could swim in the crystal clear North Sylamore, or you could hike into the (OZK) woods.

Blanchard Springs Caverns offers three tours; Dripstone Tour, Wild Cave Tour, and Discovery Tours, every summer.

HOW TO GET THERE

To get to the Blanchard Springs:

You could take AR Hwy 14 West for about12.1 mi; you could turn right to the north at the Blanchard Springs Caverns sign. You could Follow signs to the different facilities.

CONTACT DETAILS

Visitor Center:

(870) 757-2211

(877) 444-6777

MANAGED BY

Blanchard Springs Campgrounds

PRICE RANGE

 $3 to $60

SITE AVAILABILITY AND SITE RENTALS

The Visitor Information Center:

It’s available from 9:30 am to 6:00 pm.

They are available from mid-March to October. (Wed-Sun) November to mid-March. 

Camping site: It is an open year-round 

You must rent Deals such as Group campsites, picnic shelters (group shelter electric), and amphitheater (group walks).

For bookings, you could check their website recreation.gov or call (877) 444-6777.

PRICE

  • Day Use – $3 / vehicle
  • Campground – $10 site / night
  • Large Group Camp Site (GS1) – $60 / night
  • Small Group Site (GS2) – $35 / night
  • Large Pavillion – $60 
  • Small Pavilion – $30
  • Amphitheater – $40

AMENITIES

  • Interpretive 
  • RV Park
  • Potable Water 
  • Restrooms with flush and hot showers

ACTIVITIES

  • Bicycling – Mountain Biking is allowed. You could access the Syllamo Mountain Bike Trail from the Blanchard Campground, past campsite number 14. The course goes uphill towards Jack’s Branch Loop Winding. Note that this is a fairly strenuous spur. 
  • Campground Camp trip and Cabins offers 32 campsites with grills, tables, lantern poles, and tent pads, but no electrical hookups. 

There are two group camps available for rental, the minimum number of guests is eight, and the maximum is 50. 

Fire: Campfires are allowed. However: Bringing firewood is not allowed; there are available woods on the site. Just keep in mind that all firewoods should not be brought or taken from the other sites. 

  • Camp trip- They offer RV Parks that feature amenities, including a restroom with hot showers available for group trips; there are two group camps available for reservation for a minimum of 8 and a maximum of 50 guests.

The maximum vehicle length is 32ft; there’s an available dump station. Note that sewer and electric hookups are not available on this site.

  • Fishing – They offer pond fishing; it has two historic dams enclosing Blanchard Springs’ waters, forming Mirror Lake.

The site also features a boardwalk and fishing pier.

They also offer river and stream fishing; There’s a Clear North Sylamore that runs through the Blanchard; it offers good fishing holes that you could find either upstream or downstream from the swim sites.

  • Hiking – This place is great for hiking; you could hike the wooded hillsides, see rock bluffs, or pass through the short paved course of Blanchard Springs. You could hike to the (OZK) woods for an hour or visit the North Sylamore Hiking course. 
  • Nature Viewing

Viewing Wildlife: This place is abundant in wildlife. Here you could spot deers and turkey roaming freely; you could also spot numerous small creatures, including birds, lizards, chipmunks, bats, owls, and raccoons.

You could also bring your pet, but it must be on a leash.

Viewing Plants: Blanchard offers a fair share of plants, including the majestic wildflowers that you could see during springtime. Aside from that, you could also spot rare plants on the site year-round. 

  • Group or Individual meals – There are available tables Situated underneath the trees at the edge of the field that you and your family could use.

For group bonding, they offer Large and small pavilions available for rental. The large pavilion could hold up to 125 people, while the small pavilion could hold at least 50 occupants. 

Swimming – This campground sits right on North Sylamore, and there are available bathhouses and a small pavilion on the site. You could swim at your own risk.

4. Brock Creek Lake Recreation Area

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Within the 35-acre Brock, You could find Brock, a Primitive campground that you could visit if you want a peaceful camp trip. It is one of the great sites based on other campers’ reviews and comments.

HOW TO GET THERE

From Jerusalem: You could take Forest Road (NFR) 1305 gravel north for approximately 5 (mi). You could then turn right at the east of (NFSR) 1309 gravel, and you could go for about 0.1 mi, then you could turn left on National Forests Road 1331 gravel and go for about 1 mile.

CONTACT DETAILS

(479)284-3150 or (870)446-5122

CAMPGROUND TYPE

Primitive

MANAGED BY

Big Piney Ranger Dst.

CLOSEST TOWNS

Jerusalem

SITE AVAILABILITY AND SITE RENTALS

This ground is Available year-round.

AMENITIES

  • Restrooms (Vault Toilet)
  • RV Park

ACTIVITIES

  • Ground Camp trip: Brock, situated near the 35-acre Brock, offers a Primitive type of ground, where trashes should pack-in and out. This ground features six sites with tables, fire rings, and lantern posts. 

Fire: Campfires are allowed. However: Bringing firewood is not allowed; there are available woods on the site. Just keep in mind that all firewoods should not be brought or taken from the other sites. 

  • Fishing – For stream and pond fishing, this site offers a 10-acre with up and low stream, stocked with bass, channel catfish, and bluegill that you could catch by either boat or bank fishing. 
  • Nature Viewing – This site sits within the heart of the (OZK). So you could expect natural views, including picturesque rock bluffs, crystal clear streams, and wooded hillsides. 
  • OHV Riding – This place offers a Jeep course, a double-track course designed for Off Hwy Vehicle riders, dirt bikers, mountain bikers, horseback riders, and hikers.
  • Group or Individual meals – shelters are available with tables and chairs. 
  • Boating – You could ride a motorized boat and roam about in a 35-acre stream, and they also offer non-motorized boats, including kayak, canoe, and raft. 

Motorized Boating Guide: The maximum boat motor size is ten hp, and there is an available Launch Ramp.

5. Cove Lake Recreation Area

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The cove is a 160-acre mountain stream near Magazine Mountain, known as the greatest (AR) point with an elevation level of 2,753 feet. This site provides a great summer get-away.

It offers concessions, including boat rentals, cabins, miniature golf courses, and food from Memorial to Labor Day. This place could assist Large Vehicles. However, there are no special facilities available. 

HOW TO GET THERE

From Paris: You could take AR 109/309 south, then you could turn southwest on AR 309 and go for about 9 (mi).

CONTACT DETAILS

Rentals:

877-444-6777. 

Mount Magazine Ranger Dst.

(479)963-3076

MANAGED BY

Big Piney Ranger Dst.

PRICE RANGE

$5 – $35

CLOSEST TOWNS

Paris, Booneville, Danville, Fort Smith, Dardanelle, and Russellville

SITE AVAILABILITY AND SITE RENTALS

The site is available year-round.

There are 18 sites available for rent, while the rest follow a first-come-first-serve basis. To rent, you could visit their website or call 877-444-6777. 

PRICE

Campground- $15

Day-use site $5

Boat Ramp $5

Cabins $35

Pavilion $35 for 24-hour rent and $17.50 for 12-hour rent. 

RESTRICTIONS

“No Wake” restriction

AMENITIES

Restrooms: Flush and Hot Showers (closed in the winter)

Note: The water is turned off seasonally in the ground, and there are no electric hookups on this site.

ACTIVITIES

  • Campground Camp trip has over 36 sites with a bath-house and a pavilion with electricity that you and your family could enjoy. 
  • Fishing – For stream and pond fishing, this place offers a 160-acre stream; it is home to different species, including catfish, largemouth bass, bluegill, sunfish, and black crappie.
  • Hiking – Here, you would enjoy a hike with the breathtaking sceneries that this place could offer. 
  • Group or Individual meals – There are 24 family units available for group meals. 
  • Boating – The famous spot for water sports is Cove Lake; it is a 160-acres mountain stream that offers swimming, fishing, and boating activity. It features a boat launching ramp with “No wake” restrictions enforced during weekends. They offer rentals for motorized and non-motorized boats such as raft, canoe, and kayak. 
  • Swimming – Cove is not just for fishing and boating, but it also offers guests swimming activities. 

6. Gunner Pool Recreation Area

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The Gunner Pool features a ground that rates to scenic North Sylamore. If you are looking for a great and quiet site, well, this site is right for you! It offers shady, private, and quiet sites; however, it has no electricity hookups. 

It sits within Sylamore Wildlife Management, where hunting is allowed except within developed sites. The management site provides hunting activities for whitetail deer, wild turkey, black bear, squirrel, and other game in season. 

If you are fond of hiking, you might want to visit Sylamore Hiking Trail through the head Situated within the Gunner Pool ground.

The white and Buffalo Rivers border sits on the east and west sides of the district, where guests can enjoy float fishing and canoeing. It has 27 sites with grills, tables, lantern poles, and tent pads, and It could not assist large vehicles.

HOW TO GET THERE

From Mountain View: You could take AR 14 west for about 14.2 mi, then you could take a right on National Forests Road 1102 (gravel) for about 3 (mi). It is not accessible by large vehicles.

CONTACT DETAILS

Sylamore Ranger Dst.: (870)269-3228 

Blanchard Springs Visitor Information Center: (870)757-2211

MANAGEDD BY

Sylamore Ranger Dst.

Blanchard Springs Center

PRICE RANGE

$3 – $10

CLOSEST TOWNS

Mountain View

SITE AVAILABILITY AND SITE RENTALS

From Mountain View: You could take AR 14 west for about 14.2 mi, then you could take a right on National Forests Road 1102 (gravel) for about 3 (mi). It is not accessible by large vehicles.

PRICE

Campground- $10 / site

Day-use- $3

AMENITIES

  • Tent trip place
  • Tables and chairs
  • Potable Water
  • Restrooms

ACTIVITIES

  • Ground Camp trip – It offers 27 sites with grills, tables, lantern poles, and tent pads that you could access by a steep road, and it is not accessible by large vehicles. Everyone is allowed to stay up to 14 consecutive nights.
  •  Fishing – You could fish in the river and streams within the site. 
  • Hiking – Through a trailhead within the Gunner Pool ground, you could access the (N) Sylamore Hiking Trail. 
  • Nature Viewing – Wildlife viewing in and around Gunner Pool requires you to have very sharp eyes to see some of them. There’s a lot of deer and squirrels, bears and turkeys, but too shy to appear. You would also hear birds more than you see, especially along the hiking course. You might also want to visit the ridge at nightfall, so you could see several bats flocking in the bridge. 

Besides wildlife, this place is also rich in plants, especially the beautiful wildflowers that bloom in early summer and spring.

Driving down to Gunner Pool would lead you to an overlooking verdant valley. And in fact, Gunner Pool itself is a historic dam built by (CCC). By just either walking or driving through Gunner Pool would expose you to breathtaking sceneries any season of the year.

  • Group or Individual meals – tables available at all sites in Gunner Pool, along with grills and fire rings.
  • Swimming – Gunner pool sits along North Sylamore, and it is a dammed-up section of a creek with steep sides. Here, You could swim at your own risk.

7. Haw Creek Falls Recreation Area

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A ground surrounded by a beautiful hardwood site, situated on a small mountain stream with picture-great falls, rocks, and bluffs. 

It is one of the great sites based on other travelers’ reviews that offers nearby and accessible rivers and courses. It also offers nine camp units where you could stay with your family!

It has an RV parking site that accommodates Large Vehicles, but there are no special facilities available. From here, you could access the (OZK) Highlands course. 

HOW TO GET THERE

From Hagarville, you could take AR 123 (N) for about 14 (mi).

From Pelsor, you could take AR 123 west for about 12 (mi).

CONTACT DETAILS

Big Piney Ranger Dst. :

(479)284-3150

General Concern:

(870)446-5122

CAMPGROUND TYPE

Primitive

MANAGEDD BY

Big Piney Ranger Dst.

PRICE RANGE

$10

CLOSEST TOWNS

Pelsor, Dover, Clarksville, Russellville

SITE AVAILABILITY AND SITE RENTALS

Available year-round (Expect closure when there’s heavy rain)

All sites are available on a first-come-first-served basis only.

RESTRICTIONS

Large Vehicles are allowed, but there are no special facilities available.

AMENITIES

There are available restrooms on this site.

ACTIVITIES

  • Ground Camping – There are nine units available for you and your family. 

Note: since you have to cross the creek to enter the ground;

They close this area when heavy rain is forecast. 

  • Fishing – There’s Big Piney just near this area where you could catch different fish species such as; Smallmouth Bass, Spotted Bass, Largemouth Bass, Shadow bass, Green Sunfish, Blue Hill, and Channel Catfish.
  • Hiking – Staying here would allow you to hike Big Piney Trailhead.
  • Nature Viewing – The area is surrounded by wonderful hardwoods; this ground sits on a small mountain stream with beautiful falls, rocks, and bluffs; Big Piney Wild and Scenic River also sits nearby.

8. Horsehead Lake Recreation Area

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This ground, managed by the USFS and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC), offers developed sites with restroom facilities, showers spots, a playground, and a group meal shelter, that are fully accessible. 

There is also a primitive site and a boat launch across the stream from the developed ground, where you could stay with your loved ones. 

HOW TO GET THERE

From Clarksville, you could take AR 103 (NW) for about 8 (mi); you could turn left (W) on AR 164 and go for approximately 4 (mi), then you could turn right (N) on FS 1408 for about 3 (mi).

CONTACT DETAILS

(479)754-2864

CAMPGROUND TYPE

Primitive and Developed

MANAGED BY

Big Piney Ranger Dst.

PRICE RANGE

$3- $15

CLOSEST TOWNS

Clarksville and Russellville

SITE AVAILABILITY AND SITE RENTALS

It is open year-round.

PRICE

Campground – $15

Day Use – $3 /vehicle

RESTRICTIONS

There is a ‘no wake’ limitation on its stream.

AMENITIES

  • Boat ramp
  • Tables
  • Restroom with flush toilet
  • Bathhouse with hot showers 

ACTIVITIES

  • Ground Camp trip – It offers a total of 10 sites, both primitive and developed sites, that features bathroom facilities, a playground, and group meal shelters, and most of these are easily accessible. 

It also accommodates Large Vehicles with a maximum length of 30ft. However: there are no special amenities available for Large Vehicles. 

  • Fishing – This site offers a 96-acre stream where you could catch fishes like Largemouth bass, Blue Gill, Redear Sunfish, and Channel Catfish. 
  • Group or Individual meals – The site offers eight units. 
  • Boating – Here, you could enjoy boating activities with motorized and non-motorized boats. However, you are encouraged to operate smaller motors or trolling motors.
  • Swimming – You could swim at Horsehead, but note that you are swimming at your own risk; there are lifeguards on duty.

9. Huckleberry Mountain

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The Huckleberry Mountain Horse Trail showcases its 37.3 mi, of course; before, it is for horseback riding. Now you could enjoy different activities within the site, including hiking, mountain biking, and off-Hwy vehicles (OHVs). 

HOW TO GET THERE

Sorghum Hollow Horse Camp:

From Paris, you could take AR State Hwy 22 east for about 10 (mi). And from Dardanelle, you could take AR Hwy 22 west for about 26 mi.

You could turn south on Sorghum Hollow Road (gravel) and go for approximately 4.7 mi; then, you could turn left into the camp.

The Old Walnut Tree Camp:

Situated on National Forests Road 1604, so from AR Hwy 22, you could follow Sorghum Hollow Road for about 2.3 mi; you could turn right on National Forests Road 1604 for approximately .2 mi past Shoal low-water bridge. You could go approximately .2 mi to an Available site on the left, where a large walnut tree stands in the middle.

The Huckleberry Camp:

It is situated at the end of National Forests Road 1613 (Eikleberry Road), so from AR Hwy 22, you could turn south out of Paris on AR Hwy 309, then continue 11 mi to Forest Road1601 (Spring Lake Road). You could turn left and continue for about 8 (mi) to (FSR) 1613 (Eikleberry Road), then you could turn left and continue for about 3.5 mi to an Available site with a large pond at the end of the road. 

Quarry Camp:

It sits on the eastern end of Mt. Magazine State Parks so that you could take State Hwy 309 south for about 17 mi from Paris. You could enter Mt. Magazine State Park, Situated before reaching the access road to the camp. There’s a sign on Hwy 309 that would direct you into camp.

CONTACT DETAILS

Mount Magazine Ranger Dst.: (479) 963-3076

MANAGED BY

Mount Magazine Ranger Dst.

CLOSEST TOWNS

Paris

SITE AVAILABILITY AND SITE RENTALS

Available year-round

ACTIVITIES

  • Bicycling – The Huckleberry Mountain Horse Trail provides 37.3 mi of course that you could use for mountain biking.
  • Ground Camp trip – This place offers beautiful sites that you could choose from, including Sorghum Hollow Horse Camp, The Old Walnut Tree Camp, The Huckleberry Camp, and Quarry Camp.
  • Fishing – It offers Big Shoal, where you could fish with your loved ones. 
  • Hiking – This place boasts a great spot for hiking; it offers six trail crossings located along Big Shoal. However, these crossings can be difficult during high tide times, so please exercise extreme caution when crossing Big Shoal. 

Each course crosses few gravel roads situated along old logging roads and open roads, and these roads would allow guests like you to access the course system from many locations. 

The backcountry courses are rugged and remote, and courses vary in difficulty, ranging from easy to strenuous. 

The good thing here is that there are bulletin boards located at track access points, with a registration box. It is for monitoring purposes and the safety of hikers and bikers. 

Note: Make sure to sign in at registration boxes.

  • Horse Riding – Since it is for horseback riding, you could expect a great horseback riding spot. But aside from that, there are also available camps for horse camp trips, including Sorghum Hollow Horse Camp, The Old Walnut Tree Camp, The Huckleberry Camp, and Quarry Camp.

The Sorghum Hollow Horse Camp is a developed camp that offers 15 family units that feature a pond for horses, a vault toilet, an outdoor shower, and a parking space. However; There are no electrical hookups on this site. There are numerous creeks around the site for water sources, especially for the thirsty horses. 

  • OHV Riding – Aside from biking and horseback riding, this track would also allow you to enjoy OHV riding.

10. Lake Wedington Recreation Area

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Lake Wedington encompasses a 102-acre stream situated just 13 mi west of Fayetteville, AR, on State Hwy 16. It is a historical site that consists of 6 cabins, a pavilion, a volleyball facility, and horseshoes that are mostly available only in summer. The place also features a Lodge, Group Pavilion, Group Campsite, Bathhouse, Flush Toilets, Boat Launch Ramp, 18 sites, 19 Meal Sites, Swimming site, Fishing Pier, Lakeshore Hiking track, and the (N) Twin 7 mi Hiking and Biking track. It is one of the great sites based on other campers’ reviews and comments. 

Here, camping trailers are allowed. However: There are no special facilities available.

HOW TO GET THERE

From Fayetteville, AR, you could take AR 16 west for about 13 mi.

It is accessible by large vehicles or rigs.

CONTACT DETAILS

Boston Mountain Ranger Dst.: (479) 667-2191

MANAGED BY

Boston Mountain Ranger Dst.

PRICE RANGE

 $5- $20

CLOSEST TOWNS

Fayetteville

SITE RENTALS

There are available sites, cabins, lodges, and pavilion that you could reserve. 

You could contact them through their website to rent any of these, or you could call 1-877-444-6777. 

PRICE

Sites – $20/ night (Maximum of 6)

Day visit – $5/vehicle (vans or buses over ten passengers must add $.50). 

Boat Launch – $5/vehicle

RESTRICTIONS

  • PETS are not allowed on the beach site. (Except for Qualified Service Animals)
  • ATV’s and Off-Hwy Vehicles (OHV) are not allowed in the Wedington unit.

AMENITIES

Restrooms with flush toilet and shower

ACTIVITIES

  • Biking and Hiking – The Wedington Trail System showoffs an 8-mi loop course with few cuts and a 7-mi out and back course that would lead you to the Twin Knobs. You could easily combine these two to enjoy an extreme 21-mi ride or hike. 

The Western Don Loop is an intermediate level course-rated by hikers as blue, and the Twin Knobs course is more technical and rated by hikers as Black. Visiting this course would give you plenty of chances to see wildlife, native flowers, and the scenic beauty of (NW) Arkansas. 

  • Ground Camp trip – This site offers 6 Historic Cabins, Lodge, Group Pavilion, Group Camp, Bath House, Boat House, Bathhouse, Flush Toilet, and Boat Launch Ramp with a maximum of ten hp motors allowed. 

It also offers 18 sites without utilities, 19 Sites for group or individual meals, a Swimming site, Fishing Pier, and a Hiking and Biking course.

Note: The maximum vehicle length is 32ft, with an available sanitary dump station. However, sewer and electric hookups are not available.

  • Fishing – This place boats its 102-acre stream where you could find fishes like Largemouth Bass, Spotted Bass, Bluegill, Redear Sunfish, Channel Catfish.
  • Group or Individual meals – It offers 19 sites available for group picking. 
  • Boating – Here, you could enjoy boating activities in Motorized or Non-motorized boats such as raft, canoe, and kayak. 

11. Long Pool Recreation Area

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Visiting Long Pool would lead you along Big Piney, and it would offer plenty of chances, including swimming, canoeing, fishing, and hiking! 

Let’s talk about Big Piney. Big Pey is a national site designated Scenic River that features a large natural pool, steep rock bluffs, and a site that would captivate your hearts! 

One camp loop that offers 20 sites with water and electrical hookups, which is Available year-round. The Long Pool site is Situated within the Piney Wildlife Management site, giving guests and hunting activities during Available seasons.

HOW TO GET THERE

You could take AR 7 (N) for 6 (mi); then, you could turn left (west) on AR 164 and go for about 3 (mi). You could turn right (NE) on County Road 14 and go for about 3 (mi); then you could turn left (NW)) on County Road 15 and go for about 2 (mi).

CONTACT DETAILS

Big Piney Ranger Dst.:

(479)284-3150

(870)446-5122

MANAGED BY

Big Piney Ranger Dst.

PRICE RANGE

$3 –  $35

CLOSEST TOWNS

Dover, Russellville

SITE AVAILABILITY

This site is available year-round.

All sites are available on a first-come-first-served basis. 

To rent the pavilion, you could contact Big Piney Ranger Dst. at 479-284-3150. 

PRICE

Sites with no electricity: $15 

Single sites with electricity: $20 

Double sites with electricity: $35

Day Use or visit: $3 

Pavilion: $35

AMENITIES

On-site:

Restroom with flush toilet

For RVs: 

  • Electric Hook-ups
  • On-site pump stations
  • 50amp

ACTIVITIES

  • Ground Camping – This site offers 20 sites with no amenities and another 20 sites with electricity. 

It also features restrooms with flush toilets and hot showers, a pavilion,13 family and available sanitary dump stations for Large Vehicles.

  • Fishing – Since the Long Pool is at Big Piney, you could expect a great fishing activity that offers fish species such as smallmouth bass, spotted bass, largemouth bass, shadow bass, and green sun, bluegill, and channel catfish.
  • Hiking – This place is available for hiking. 
  • Nature Viewing – You could indulge yourself with natural views of plants and wildlife. 
  • Boating – They offer Non-Motorized boat activities within site. 
  • Swimming – Here, you could swim at your own risk in the beautiful and majestic Big Piney Creek that offers a large natural pool within the ground. 

12. Moccasin Gap

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Moccasin Gap is one of Arkansas’s best horse courses; it’s a famous site for competitive rides! In the woods, this course boasts its four-loop courses that converge into the other. It is one of the great sites based on other travelers’ reviews. 

It is a place with a mix of hardwoods and pine with plenty of streams and small waterfalls. The site is a horse course, but it is a multiple-use course that hikers and bikers could explore and take note of; it also opens a portion for Off Hwy Vehicles (OHVs) and high clearance vehicles.

HOW TO GET THERE

From Russellville, you could take AR 7 (N) for about 25 miles. 

The course sits on the west side of the road.

CONTACT DETAILS

Big Piney Ranger District:

(479)284-3150

(870)446-5122

MANAGED BY

Big Piney Ranger District

PRICE RANGE

 $3- $15

CLOSEST TOWNS

Dover, Russellville

SITE AVAILABILITY AND SITE RENTALS

This site is available year-round.

To book the pavilion, you could contact Big Piney Ranger District at 479-284-3150.

PRICE

Moccasin Gap – $3 

Campground – $15/site

Pavilion – $35.00

AMENITIES

  • Hydrant
  • Restroom (Vault)

ACTIVITIES

  • Ground Camp trip – You could explore 17 graveled parking spurs at the camp, which are available on a first-come-first-serve basis. Each spur offers a tether post and a fire ring for cooking. It also features facilities, including trash cans and toilets.

Note: Groceries, gas, and showers are available at Mack’s Pines, Situated on Hwy 7, about 2 miles south of the main entrance.

  • Hiking, Horseback riding, and Biking – For a fully enjoyable trip, this site offers numerous biking courses that would make you want to explore more. They offer Steve Mill Falls Loop, Black Oak Ridge Loop, Great Mountain Loop, and Gap Hollow Loop. 

Note: You could begin from Steve Mill Falls Loop at the horse camp and meander along Moccasin past several falls; it is a great ride not just for professionals but also for beginners.

  • OHV Riding – This place would give a great OHV course Riding experience!

FAQs and Information about Ozark St. Francis National Forest

OZARK NATIONAL FOREST CAMPING GENERAL RULES AND REGULATIONS

There are no fees required; most of the sites are free unless you’re on the ground. Most of the sites follow a first-come-first-serve basis; these remote sites are not reservable. However, there are few facilities that you could rent, like parking sites, cabins, and pavilions. Seasonal Rules and announcements are usually shared online, you could check, but you could also find rules and updates upon entering the site you are going to visit. Here, we have listed some rules that you might want to consider. 

  • You must stay on existing roads, whether paved or unpaved.
  • You must check fire conditions and burn bans on the site before making a fire. On that same note, you must drown your fire before going to bed and before leaving the campsite.
  • Before traversing, you must check for announcements and notices regarding (OZK). 
  • Keep in mind that you must camp at least 200 feet away from any type of source, including rivers, tributaries, lakes, and wetlands, for safety purposes; flash flooding can and does occur.
  • Leave no trace! You must pack in whatever you bring. Please don’t harm any vegetation or feed any wildlife.
  • Update: To prevent and slow the spread of White Nose Syndrome in our bat population, the management of (OZK) decided to close down all caves and mines on the site.

DISPERSED CAMPING AREA GUIDELINES

There are types of people who enjoy solitude and primitive camp trips away from organized sites and away from the crowd.  And we used the term dispersed or primitive if you are staying in wilderness areas. Those are the sites outside a designated ground with no facilities and amenities, including trash removal, tables, fire pits, and Large Vehicle amenities. The good thing is, Some popular primitive sites offer a restroom. 

Staying in this kind of site takes extra responsibilities and skills. It is your responsibility to know the rules and essential details before trying this new and extreme camp trip. 

For your safety, to keep the natural resources scenic and unspoiled. We prepared a list of camp rules and regulations that you might want to consider.

Rules

  • A group of over 75 people who want to use the place must obtain a special use permit, which you could obtain at the nearest District Office. 

Update: Due to COVID-19, groups larger than ten people are not allowed.

  • You would encounter privately owned land within the place boundaries, but be sure not to encroach on this private land.
  • You must be self-contained. There are no amenities provided, such as restrooms or trash cans.
  • You could camp in for up to 30 (D). After that, you have to move at least 5 miles to camp on another site.

Note: You could not return to the same campsite within the calendar year.

  • You must camp at least 200 feet away from any source, including rivers, tributaries, streams, and wetlands, for safety purposes; flash flooding can and does occur.
  • Leave No Trace! 
  • You could contact the local office to check any restrictions regarding fires.
  • Be aware! Bears are roaming in this place, so you have to camp accordingly.

Where Can I Camp?

Usually, primitive camping trips are not allowed with developed sites. Most people drive out on roads into the woods to find a great spot near a stream or with a majestic view of the mountains, peaks, and landscapes. 

Note: Do not drive on meadows to access your campsite, instead of drive on existing roads to prevent damage. Keep your campsite at least 150 feet from a roadway to prevent resource damage.

How to Pick a Campsite

If you are going to camp, you must pick a used site. Using an existing one rather than using a new site would lessen the impact on the plant, soil, and wildlife, and you make your camping less hassle and more relaxing. 

Here are things that you need to consider picking a campsite:

  • To avoid damage or killing plants and grass, please camp barely as much as possible.
  • Camp at least 200 feet from any source, plants near streams are fragile.
  • Choose a less visible campsite, Do not camp in the middle of a clearing or meadow.
  • You could pick a tent site that is already level with good drainage.

Can I Have a Campfire?

You could use existing sites and fire rings for your campfire. You don’t need a wood permit to use woods in the place. 

Note: This National site has wildfires each year. Most of these are because of human activities; campfires usually cause it, so please be careful in making and guarding your campfires; never leave them unattended.

Tips for Safe, Low Impact Campfires:

  • You could minimize the scarring of new rocks, soil, and plants using existing fire rings within the site.
  • You must pick a site that is not in a meadow or clearing, a site that is not next to a tree with low overhanging branches, and at least 200 feet from any source to protect fragile vegetation.
  • You must clean a site and make a ring of rocks about 2ft in diameter.
  • Never cut branches from trees! To make a fire, please collect only dead wood that you could find on the ground.
  • You have to make sure that your fire is completely out before leaving the site. 

Using a Toilet in the Woods

Most of the time, water gets contaminated by guests who do not take care of their human waste and just leave their garbage and food waste. 

Going to the Bathroom in the Woods

Most remote sites have no bathrooms and no outhouses. So, it would help if you learned how to take extra care in disposing of your waste. 

To dispose of feces, you could dig a 6 inches deep hole at least 100 feet away from any resource. Then you could fill the hole with the soil that you dug up and take your toilet paper with you to dispose of in the right waste container or trash bins. 

Note: Never defecate or leave tissue on top of the ground because it might easily get into the local source, and it might contaminate it.

OZARK ST. FRANCIS NATIONAL FOREST CAMPING RULES FOR DEVELOPED SITES

Aside from dispersed and primitive sites, it also offers Developed and organized sites. Here’s a list of things that you must consider and learn in staying in a developed site:

  • Never leave your equipment unattended for more than 24 hours.
  • The quiet time hours are 10 pm – 6 am (including generators)
  • Pets are allowed here but must be on a leash. However, they are not allowed at Long Pool, but they are allowed (N) on the canoe launch. 
  • You are required to pay within 30 minutes of campsite occupancy.
  • It would help if you parked on official sites only.
  • Most sites are limited to 2 vehicles/site and a maximum of 6 occupants. And for double sites, the vehicle limit is 4 with a maximum of 12 occupants.
  • Fires are only allowed only in fire rings.
  • Alcohol is not allowed.
  • Fireworks are not allowed.
  • The camp stay limit is only 14 (D).  

Day-use area rules

For guests who like to visit this place but don’t want to stay overnight, they offer a site where you could not stay overnight. However, there are also rules that you must consider. 

  • The site is closed from 10 pm – 6 am, except for campers.
  • You must park in designated sites only.
  • You could look around the site for about five to10 minutes, but you must pay if you use the facilities.
  • Pets are allowed. However, it must be on a leash.
  • Alcohol is not allowed.
  • Fireworks are not allowed.

THINGS TO KNOW

Before heading out to begin an exciting trip to Arkansas, there are a few things that you might want to consider, here we have listed a few but essential information that might help you with your get-away.  

  • Take note that some roads can be quite rocky and rough, so we advise you to use caution and good judgment when deciding which roads to take.
  • The weather can change anytime, so always be prepared for all weather situations that may arise during your trip.
  • Most sites have restrooms, but some do not have one. So, you would need to carry your toilet or shovel; you might also even want to bring along a shower.
  • You have to bring your instant drinking water, snacks, or instant food, with utensils and cooking gear.

RV ESSENTIALS

Since most of the sites in this place are primitive, with no amenities available, you would need to adapt to its environment by upgrading some of the equipment and appliances in your vehicle to have a relaxing get-away.  

Here are the things that you might consider upgrading: 

  • RV GPS – I’m sure no one wants to waste time. So to save yourselves from the hassle of getting lost in the middle of your tour, we recommend getting the  Best GPS  for your vehicle.
  • RV Air conditioner – Summer escapes might cause a little discomfort, so we recommend getting the best air conditioner for your vehicle to avoid this.
  • RV Toilet Paper – Since most of the sites here do not have amenities, including a toilet, a toilet in your vehicle becomes essential. And to avoid clogged waste systems, we recommend getting the  Best Toilet Paper that suits both you and your vehicle.
  • Rv Sofa Bed -For a comfortable sleep in between your trips. We recommend buying the Best sofa bed and Mattress that suits your liking. 

CONCLUSION

Ozark National Forest would give you a unique, mysterious, and extreme vacation. From the comfort of developed sites to the slightly discomforting but fun nights at primitive camps. This place would take your bore away!

We hope that through this article, we have given light to what it could offer. We also hope that we helped you in preparing your un-awaited trip to Arkansas. 

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