Recreation


kayaker floating on the Big Piney at Long Pool

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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!

Rules for dispersed camping

 

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

Recreation Conditions Report

Area Name Status Area Conditions
Barkshed Recreation Area Open Open No reservations. Sites available on a first-come/first-based only.
Bayou Bluff Point of Interest Open Open Open all year. No fees. Upper loop closed. Pavilions available on a first-come, first-served basis only. No trash services. Pack it in - pack it out. Link to news release.
Bear Creek Lake Recreation Area None None 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 Open Open Effective Thursday, July 28, 2022, the campground is closed due to the weather forecast and the strong potential for flash flooding. The campground will remain closed at least until Sunday, July 31, 2022. The weather will be monitored all weekend and the closure will be reevaluated Sunday evening. Gunner Pool Campground is open, as well as the day-use area at Blanchard Springs Recreation Area and the group sites. Call 870-757-2211 for updated information. No reservations. Sites available on a first-come/first-based only. Be aware that the campground closes when heavy rain is predicted since you do have to cross the creek to enter the campground. Alternative camping options in the area include Gunner Pool and Barkshed.
Blanchard Springs Caverns Open Open Blanchard Springs Caverns is open and available for Dripstone Trail tours from 9:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Thursdays-Mondays, closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Blanchard Springs Day-Use Area Open Open Mirror Lake will be closed from noon on June 9, 2022 until 12:30pm on June 11, 2022 to allow for setting up for a fishing derby on Saturday.
Blanchard Springs Recreation Area Open Open 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 Open
Brock Creek Lake Recreation Area Open Open No reservations. Sites available on a first-come/first-based only.
Buckhorn Open Open A landslide has caused a trail closure of the East Outer Loop Shortcut C. Map of closure available here. 
Cove Lake Recreation Area Open Open Camping is available (18 sites are reservable, remaining are first-come, first-served). 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 Open Open No reservations. Sites available on a first-come/first-based only. Water is turn off seasonally. 
Haw Creek Falls Point of Interest Open Open No fees. Open all year. Camping allowed in designated sites. No trash service. Pack it in, pack it out. This area is subject to flash flooding and visitors are responsible for monitoring conditions and taking precautionary measures. Removal of the entrance gate does not indicate the area is always safe during changing weather conditions. Link to news release.
Horsehead Lake Recreation Area Open Open Open for the season. No reservations. Sites available on a first-come/first-based only.  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. The recreation area closes seasonally.
Lake Wedington Recreation Area Temporarily Closed Temporarily Closed Closed until further notice
Long Pool Recreation Area Open Open No reservations. Sites available on a first-come/first-based only. 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 The small pavilion is closed for repairs. The large pavilion is still available for rent. 
Moccasin Gap Open Open Campground sites: No reservations. Sites available on a first-come/first-based only. For more information, contact the Big Piney Ranger District at 479-284-3150
Ozone Recreation Area Open Open No reservations. Sites available on a first-come/first-based only.
Pleasant Hill Shooting Range Open Open
Redding Recreation Area Open Open No reservations. Sites available on a first-come/first-based only. On the beautiful Mulberry River.
Richland Creek Recreation Area Open Open No reservations. Sites available on a first-come/first-based only. 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 also close these roads to complete repairs.
Richland Creek Wilderness Open Open 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 also close these roads to complete repairs.
Sams Throne Recreation Area Open Open No fee to camp at Sam's Throne. No reservations. Sites available on a first-come/first-based only.
Shelton Point Shooting Range Open Open
Shores Lake Recreation Area Open Open
Spring Lake Recreation Area Open Open The campground and lake is open for the season; the bathhouse is open and water is available. No reservations. Sites available on a first-come/first-based only. The Spring Lake Dam pedestrian walkway is closed to pedestrian traffic for safety reasons until repairs can be made. The dam itself is not affected. Recreation Are open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Contact the Mt. Magazine Ranger District at 479-963-3076 for more information
Sylamore Shooting Range Open Open 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 Open
White Rock Mountain Recreation Area Open Open Closed weekdays from Monday, July 25 through early September. The campground, cabins and overlook will be open and fully accessible on the weekends (Saturdays and Sundays).  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 Open Open for the season.  No reservations. Sites available on a first-come/first-based only. Six primitive sites on the beautiful Mulberry River.

Spotlights

Blanchard Springs Caverns

Blanchard Springs Caverns is open for business (Thursdays-Mondays (9:30 am- 6 pm)!

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.

Recreation Areas