Recreation

So Much To Do & See

The 1.2-million acre Ozark-St. Francis National Forests offer endless opportunities for adventure. As one of America's most scenic and picturesque areas, the Ozark-St. Francis provides a lot of the "natural" in the Natural State of Arkansas.

A variety of developed and dispersed recreation opportunities await you on the forests. Hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, floating, kayaking, boating, camping, picnicking, swimming, hunting, fishing, four-wheeler riding and taking pictures are just some of the activities people enjoy while visiting the forests. Each of the recreation areas, trails, wilderness areas or wild and scenic rivers provides unique opportunities to observe nature and enjoy your favorite outdoor activities from cavern tours to hunting black bear and white-tail deer. The Ozark-St. Francis National Forests have something for everyone and are on the way to almost everywhere in Arkansas!

Current Recreation Schedule and Fees

Campground and Day-Use Area Rules

Outdoor Safety & Ethics

Dispersed Camping in the Forest:

Many people enjoy the solitude and primitive experience of camping away from developed campgrounds and other campers. Dispersed camping is the term used for camping anywhere in the National Forest OUTSIDE of a designated campground. Dispersed camping means no services; such as trash removal, and little or no facilities; such as tables and fire pits, are provided. There are extra responsibilities and skills that are necessary for dispersed camping. It is your responsibility to know these before you try this new experience. Be sure to read the guidelines before heading out.

Forest Orders: An order may close an area to entry or may restrict the use of an area by applying prohibitions authorized in the Code of Federal Regulations. View a list of current forest orders.

Visitors are primarily responsible for their own safety. Keep in mind, trails and roads may be open for use, but please recreate responsibly and follow public health guidelines regarding social distancing while you recreate in National Forests. Law enforcement and search and rescue operations may be limited due to COVID-19 issues. High risk activities such as rock climbing or motorized activities that increase your chance of injury or distress should be avoided. For the most current and accurate information about COVID-19, contact your local health officials or visit the CDC website at www.cdc.gov. Information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture is available at: www.usda.gov/coronavirus.

 

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

Recreation Conditions Report

 Area Name Status Area Conditions
Barkshed Recreation Area Closed to Visitor Temporarily shutting down. Local managers are committed to the health and safety of recreational visitors and our staff. We are following the guidelines from our agency and the CDC regarding COVID-19, closely monitoring the situation and responding to current conditions.
Bayou Bluff Recreation Area Open to Visitor
Bear Creek Lake Recreation Area    Bear Creek Recreation area is located in Eastern Arkansas on the St. Francis National Forest. The Bear Creek Lake Recreation Area is managed by the Mississippi River State Park. Please call the Mississippi River State Park - Marianna Office for any questions at 870-295-4040. Effective 1/7/20, the boat dock is temporarily closed at Bear Creek lake due to spillway damage. See news release.
Blanchard Springs Campgrounds Closed to Visitor Temporarily shutting down. Local managers are committed to the health and safety of recreational visitors and our staff. We are following the guidelines from our agency and the CDC regarding COVID-19, closely monitoring the situation and responding to current conditions.
Blanchard Springs Caverns Closed to Visitor All tours at Blanchard Springs Caverns are suspended until further notice. Local managers are committed to the health and safety of recreational visitors and our staff. We are following the guidelines from our agency and the CDC regarding COVID-19, closely monitoring the situation and responding to current conditions.  Current schedule and fees
Blanchard Springs Day-Use Area Open to Visitor Day-use are closed 6am to noon for two days - Thursday, July 9, and Friday, July 10, including Mirror Lake and the trail to Blanchard Springs.  Day-use area only is open for visitors. Hours are 7am - 7pm. Gate closes at 7pm. Access to Mirror Lake and the area hiking areas, such as Blanchard Springs, Mirror Lake, and N. Sylamore Creek Trail are open.
Blanchard Springs Recreation Area    The Visitor Information Center personnel have a wealth of knowledge of the surrounding area. They are also available for appointments to issue passes, including the annual forests' day-use pass.  Contact the center at 870-757-2211
Brock Creek Open to Visitor
Brock Creek Lake Recreation Area Open to Visitor
Buckhorn Open to Visitor A landslide has caused a trail closure of the East Outer Loop Shortcut C. Map of closure available here. 
Cove Lake Recreation Area Open to Visitor Camping is available (18 sites are reservable, remaining are first-come, first-served). Cabins are only open on weekends. Swim area and bath house are open; however, only 50 vehicles are allowed in parking lot. Concessions are open, but visitors limited. Water is turned off seasonally in the campground. No water or electric hook-ups. For more information, please call the Magazine Ranger District at (479) 963-3076. For reservations, go to Recreation.gov or call 877-444-6777
Gunner Pool Recreation Area Closed to Visitor Temporarily shutting down. Local managers are committed to the health and safety of recreational visitors and our staff. We are following the guidelines from our agency and the CDC regarding COVID-19, closely monitoring the situation and responding to current conditions.
Haw Creek Falls Recreation Area Open to Visitor
Horsehead Lake Recreation Area Open to Visitor Swimming is allowed at Horsehead Lake, but be aware that you are swimming at your own risk. No lifeguard on duty nor are water samples tested.  .
Lake Wedington Recreation Area Closed to Visitor Temporarily shutting down. Local managers are committed to the health and safety of recreational visitors and our staff. We are following the guidelines from our agency and the CDC regarding COVID-19, closely monitoring the situation and responding to current conditions.
Long Pool Recreation Area Open to Visitor Campground sits on the Big Piney Creek, a wild and scenic river. Please contact the Big Piney Ranger District for additional information: 479-284-3150 
Moccasin Gap Open to Visitor For more information, contact the Big Piney Ranger District at 479-284-3150
Ozone Recreation Area Open to Visitor
Pleasant Hill Shooting Range Open to Visitor
Redding Recreation Area Open to Visitor On the beautiful Mulberry River.
Richland Creek Recreation Area Open to Visitor The road between Falling Water Falls and the Richland Creek Wilderness is prone to landslides. There are a couple of places where the road is down to one lane due to these landslides. Please be aware that the county may close these roads to complete repairs.
Richland Creek Wilderness Open to Visitor The road between Falling Water Falls and the Richland Creek Wilderness is prone to landslides. There are a couple of places where the road is down to one lane due to these landslides. Please be aware that the county may close these roads to complete repairs.
Sams Throne Recreation Area Open to Visitor
Shelton Point Shooting Range Open to Visitor
Shores Lake Recreation Area Closed to Visitor Temporarily shutting down. Local managers are committed to the health and safety of recreational visitors and our staff. We are following the guidelines from our agency and the CDC regarding COVID-19, closely monitoring the situation and responding to current conditions.
Spring Lake Recreation Area Open to Visitor Open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Contact the Mt. Magazine Ranger District at 479-963-3076 for more information
Sylamore Shooting Range Open to Visitor The shooting range is closed on Wednesday mornings for maintenance. Currently, every other bench is blocked to provide spacing between visitors
Whitaker Point (Hawksbill Crag) Trailhead Open to Visitor
White Rock Mountain Recreation Area Open to Visitor website: http://www.whiterockmountain.com/ or call 479-369-4128. For reservations, go to Recreation.gov or call 877-444-6777  
Wolf Pen Recreation Area Open to Visitor Six primitive sites on the beautiful Mulberry River.

Spotlights

Blanchard Springs Caverns

Blanchard Springs Caverns is one of the most spectacular and carefully developed caves found anywhere.  Visitors enter a "living" cave where glistening formations like stalactites, stalagmites, columns, and flowstones are still changing.  These crystalline formations are the result of minerals deposited by dripping water.  Forest Service interpreters guide all tours. For more information about this natural wonder, check out the Blanchard Springs Caverns website.



https://www.fs.usda.gov/recmain/osfnf/recreation