Shady Lake

Area Status: Open

Scenic 25-acre lake in remote mountain setting.The Civilian Conservation Corps developed the Shady Lake Recreation Area in 1937. The Shady Lake Trail traverses Saline Creek, passes the historic Shady Lake Dam, and continues along the eastern edge of the campground. The trail is ideal for day hiking. Mountain bikers may also use the trail.


The campground is made up of four camping loops, with 66 campsites, ranging in amenities of no services to campsites with electric and water services provided. Bathhouses with warm showers and flush toilets. Day use hosts a swimming site, picnic pavilions, restrooms, picnic tables with BBQ grills and a 3-mile hiking trail that follows the shoreline of Shady Lake. Campsites can accommodate RV's up to 32-feet in length. Shady Lake is located approximately 40-miles west of Glenwood, Arkansas.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: Open. Campsites first-come/first-served only. 
Operational Hours: Open mid-March through end of November. The trail is open year round.
Reservations: No reservations. Campsites are first-come, first-served.
Rentals & Guides:
Area Amenities: Accessible, Tent camping, Camping trailer, Fee charged for some activities, Picnic tables, Toilets, Drinking water, Parking
  • Day use/swim area - $5/vehicle or $2/person for bus, walking or biking
  • Group picnic shelter - $5/vehicle 
  • Campground:
    • Single sites- $15/night
    • Single sites w/ electric- $20/night
    • Single sites w/ electic and sewer- $25/night
    • Double sites w electric- $40/night
Usage: Heavy
Best Season: Spring-Fall
Busiest Season: Spring
Closest Towns: Athens, Arkansas. Mena, Arkansas.
Water: Drinking Water
Restroom: Flush
Operated By: Mena-Oden Ranger District (479) 394-2382

General Information

Directions: Take Arkansas Hwy. 84 west of Glenwood, AR; turn northwest on Arkansas Hwy. 246 at Athens, AR; turn right (north) at sign, drive 3 miles on Forest Service Road 38.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Mountain Biking

The trail is unsurfaced with white rectangles marking the trail.  The trail's length is a total of 3.2 miles one way.

Fees: No fee.
Difficulty Level: Easy

Campground Camping

No. of Sites 65
Sleeping Shelter None
Fees: day use and camping fees

RV Camping

20 sites with water and electric hookups are available.

No. of Sites 20 with electric and water.
Reservation Info All sites are first-come, first-served.  No reservations
Size Restrictions Can accommodate RVs up to 32 feet.
Dump Stations Yes

Lake and Pond Fishing

Day Hiking


The trail is unsurfaced with white rectangles marking the trail.  It takes about 2 hours to travel the 3.2 miles of trial, one way.

Trail Map


Fees: No fee.
Difficulty Level: Easy

Interpretive Areas


Boating - Non-Motorized



Camping trailer: 20 non-reservable sites with electric and water
Picnic tables:
Tent camping: 44 sites
Toilets: Flush
Fee charged for some activities: Day use and camping fees.
Accessible: Two restrooms are accessible.
Drinking water: Located at campground.

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


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