[Picture]: Recreational Activities

So Much To Do & See
The Ouachita National Forest is located primarily in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas and Oklahoma.  Outstanding mountain views coupled with picturesque streams, rivers, and lakes provide a unique and highly valued setting for outdoor recreation.  The forest offers high quality nature related-sightseeing, scenic driving, hunting, fishing, and dispersed camping.  Learn about the areas rich history at wayside exhibits along a scenic drive or experience unique botanical, mineral, and prehistoric resources featured in information and educational programs.  An extensive trail system provides for all types of uses including hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and off-highway vehicles (OHV) riding.  A variety of services can be found at developed campgrounds ranging from rustic tent pads to full-service RV hookups.  Enjoy exceptional water-based recreation opportunities including fishing, non-motorized boating, and passive enjoyment of streams, rivers and lakes.

Current recreation fees and schedule

To view a recreation area on the Recreation Map below:

  • Click on the district office Forest Service emblem in your area of interest, or
  • Click on "Find An Area" at right.

When viewing an area, use "+" and "-" to size map, and "Map" drop-down menu to choose style of map.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

Recreation Conditions Report

 Area Name Status Area Conditions
Albert Pike Closed to Visitor Effective 9/28/18, Albert Pike is closed for the season.  Please call the Womble Office for additional information 870-867-2101
Bard Springs Open to Visitor Open year-round
Big Brushy Open to Visitor Day Use Only
Billy Creek Recreation Area Open to Visitor Open year-round
Camp Clearfork Open to Visitor Camp Clearkfork is open for the season, available by reservation only. Call the Womble Office at (870) 867-2101 for fee and reservation information.
Cedar Lake Recreation Area Open to Visitor
Charlton Recreation Area Open to Visitor Open for the season! Camping Loop A will open on 5/25/18
Crystal Open to Visitor Crystal is open year round. 
Fourche Mountain Recreation Area Open to Visitor Open all year! No water or electricity available
Fourche Mountain Trail Open to Visitor Open!
Jack Creek Open to Visitor Jack Creek opened for the season on 4/1/18 and will close on 11/1/18
No fees for camping or day use. Off-highway vehicles are allowed in camp area only, not in the day-use area. 
Knoppers Ford Open to Visitor Open year-round. Free day use area. No overnight camping. Off-highway vehicles allowed in day use area.
Lake Sylvia Open to Visitor The recreation area will close for the season on 10/29/18. The day use and swimming area are closed for the season effective 9/30/18.
Little Pines Open to Visitor Open for the season! Scheduled to close for the winter on 11/30/18
Shady Lake Open to Visitor Shady Lake has reopened.
South Fourche Open to Visitor Open year-round. No water or electricity
Talimena National Scenic Byway Open to Visitor The scenic byway is open year-round; however, the East End Visitor Information Center is open 3/1/18 to 11/16/18
Winding Stair Campground Open to Visitor The campground is open for the season effective 4/1/18; please note that the backpackers camp is open year-round.
Wolf Pen Gap Closed to Visitor Effecrive 10/15/18, Wolf Pen Gap trails are closed due to the rain. It will reopen when conditions allow. For more information, contact the Mena-Oden Ranger District at 479-394-2382


Charlton Recreation Area

Charlton Recreation Area is located 20 miles west of Hot Springs along Highway 270.

Picnic, swim, hike, and fish along picturesque Walnut Creek, a cold, spring-fed mountain stream in the heart of the Ouachita National Forest. This historic recreation area features a captivating native stone dam that forms the swimming area and rustic bathhouse built by the Civilian Conservation Corps federal work program in 1935.

Information about Charlton Recreation Area.

Information about Charlton Recreation Area - Spanish

Other recreation sites within the Caddo/Womble Ranger District

Shady Lake

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 and passes the historic Shady Lake Dam. It continues along the eastern edge of the campground. The trail is ideal for day hiking. Mountain bikers may also use the trail.

Individual campsite temporary closings:

For your safety, the following campsites are closed while being evaluated for risk of flooding:

B12, B14, B18, B20,

B21, C1, C2, C3,

C4, D4, D6, D8, D10