[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.

2019 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 Open to Visitor Day use area and swimming area open for the season effective 4/12/19 - 9/23/19. 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
Billy Creek Trail Open to Visitor From 4/26 through 4/28, there will be an endurance mountain bike event on the Billy Creek and Horsethief trails on the Oklahoma District. Be prepared for extra activity on these forest trails during this event.
Camp Clearfork Open to Visitor Camp Clearkfork is open for the season, available by reservation only. The group use facility available 4/15/19 - 11/1/19. Call the Womble Office at (870) 867-2101 for fee and reservation information.
Cedar Lake Recreation Area Open to Visitor Day-use area and swimming area opened seasonally.
Charlton Recreation Area Closed to Visitor Closed for the season!
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!
Horsethief Springs Trail Open to Visitor From 4/26 through 4/28, there will be an endurance mountain bike event on the Billy Creek and Horsethief trails on the Oklahoma District. Be prepared for extra activity on these forest trails during this event.
Jack Creek Open to Visitor Open for the season 3/1/19 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 Free day use area. No overnight camping. Off-highway vehicles allowed in day use area.
Lake Sylvia Closed to Visitor The recreation area is closed for the season
Little Pines Open to Visitor Day use area and campground are open seasonally. The boat ramp and access for Lake Hinkle is open all year.  For more information, please contact the Poteau/Cold Springs District Ranger Office at (479) 637-3958.
Shady Lake Open to Visitor Shady Lake is open for the season
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 3/1/19 to 11/18/19
Winding Stair Campground Open to Visitor Campground is open seasonally. The backpackers camp is open year-round.
Wolf Pen Gap Closed to Visitor Effective 4/18/19, Wolf Pen Gap trails are CLOSED! The trails will reopen once conditions permit. 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