Arkansas – Lake Charles State Park

Arkansas - Lake Charles State ParkLake Charles State Park is located on the shores of Lake Charles in Arkansas. To contact the park by telephone, call 870-878-6595. Natural lovers and fishermen alike will enjoy this park. Located on the shore of Lake Charles, which spans 645 acres in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains. The lake contains species of fish including crappie, bass, catfish and bream. The park offers 60 campsites as well as a Rent-An-RV site. The campsites place visitors within walking distance to hiking trails, picnic sites, a screened in pavilion, swimming beach, launch ramp, and a playground for the children. The gift shop offers camping supplies, snacks and gift items. Park programs include guided kayak tours on the lake as well as party barge lake tours. To get to Lake Charles State Park from Hoxie, go eight miles northwest on U.S. 63, then six miles south on Ark. 25 to the park.

Several trails run through the park. One of those trails is the Butterflies and Blooms Trail. While very short, spanning only one-third of a mile, the trail leads hikers on a walk through wildflowers and wildlife habitat that changes with the seasons. Birds and butterflies are nearly always found along the trail. Another trail is the Cedar Trail. This trail spans one and one-quarter miles and is easy to navigate. It is a paved trail that runs along the Lake Charles shoreline, accessible from either the campground or the picnic area. For someone just wishing to take a leisurely stroll, view wildlife or get to their favorite fishing spot, this trail is a great choice. Plants and animals found in the park are protected, so it is important to remember this while hiking.

Another trail found in Lake Charles State Park is the White Oak Lake Trail. This trail is approximately one and one-half miles long, forming a loop leading hikers across streams and along the lake. It’s important to wear good hiking shoes on this trail and carry drinking water, especially in warm weather. One other trail found at Lake Charles State Park is the Mockernut Trail. This trail spans about three-quarters of a mile through the forest and along the lake. This trail is named after the Mockernut hickory trees which are found along the trail. The Mockernut hickory nut has a very thick shell, making it difficult to remove the nut inside. Some wildlife you may see along this trail include gray squirrels, songbirds, woodpeckers, white tailed deer, wild turkey and herons.

An often enjoyed activity at Lake Charles State Park is their guided kayaking tours as well as self-guided tours. Because kayaking is a relatively easy sport for anyone in moderately good health, the tours are fun as well as educational. Because kayaks are so quiet, much of the wildlife will allow the visitors to get much closer to them, giving a better view. Most tours last about an hour and a half following a short orientation. There are several caves that can be explored by kayak and many other sites to see. Because much of the park around the lake is undeveloped, views of tall, strong hickory trees can be seen all along the shoreline.

When choosing the Butterflies and Birds trail, one may want to consider grabbing an Arkansas Butterfly guide. This will help with the identification of many species found here including skippers, swallowtail, hairstreaks, coppers and blues, metalmarks, snouts, royalty, longwings, emperors and satyrs. The checklist provides certain things to watch out for related to the different species and offers the ability to keep a count on the different types and different varieties found of each species. This is likely one of the reasons that the short trail is estimated to take about an hour and a half to complete.

Lake Charles State Park in Arkansas offers a wide variety of things for visitors to do and see. While the campsite numbers are somewhat below what most state parks are, the scenery and wildlife to be found at the state park far exceeds anyone’s expectations.