Located in the Ouachita Mountains National Forrest, Lake Ouachita State Park is an Arkansas gem. Along with awesome views of Arkansas’s natural beauty, the 40,000 acre lake and surrounding park area offer a visitors center, restaurant, cabins, campsites, a full service marina, swimming, hiking trails, boat ramps, and interpretive exhibits.
Cabins at Lake Ouachita State Park offer upstairs lofts with 2 double beds, bedrooms downstairs with double beds, a living room, dining room, and kitchen area with cooking tools and utensils for up to six guests. Towels and linens are provided, as well as telephones with free local calls, and a TV with DVD player. For reservations call 1-800-264-2441.
Campsites are offered in Preferred, Premium, Class A, and Class B (with no hook-ups), as well as walk-in tent sites. Many of them offer dual-voltage electricity and freeze proof water hook-ups. There are modern bath houses with hot showers in convenient proximity to each site, and two sanitary dump sites. Each site includes a paved table and grill. Some sites remain open all year. For campsite reservations call 501-767-9366.
The full-service marina at Lake Ouachita State Park offers boat rental, motors, party barges, both covered and uncovered rental slips, mooring buoys and transient slips, as well as live bait, fishing supplies, and fuel. For more information call 501-767-1100 or visit them online at: http://www.lakeouachita.org/lake-ouachita-state-park.htm#Marina.
The park offers two hiking trails. The largest, Caddo Bend, is a 4-mile trek through the forest and along the shoreline of the Point 50 Peninsula. The shorter one is Dogwood Trail. This ½ mile loop is perfect for those who just want a peaceful, relaxing stroll.
There is also a unique boating trail, Ouachita Geo-float Trail, offered by the Corps of Engineers. Information on this is available at the park.
The 3 Sisters Springs Historical Site was homestead in 1875 by John McFadden, who claimed the three springs on his property had the ability to heal certain ailments. It is said he named the area as he did due to the fact he had three daughters. At one point, bottled water from the springs sold all over the country. After changing hands several times, the Corps of Engineers obtained the property in 1951. Today, the springs have been redirected by the Corps to one stream that flows into the lake, but it is still free flowing through a separate area of stone. Commemorative plaques at the site reveal what each spring was thought to heal.
Along with eagle tours, the park offers Purple Martin tours from July to August. Bird Island, designated by the Audubon IBA, is the largest known Purple Martin roost in Arkansas, with estimated 8,000-50,000 birds from late July to early August.
Recognized as one of Arkansas’s superior fishing lakes, Lake Ouachita offers bass, crappie, bream, and catfish, as well as being stocked with small mouth bass, walleye, and striped bass. There is also ample opportunity for water sports such as skiing and jet skiing.
Weather a history buff, a nature enthusiast, or an avid bird watcher or fisherman, Lake Ouachita State Park offers something for the whole family. For more information on the park, visit the official web page at http://www.arkansasstateparks.com/lakeouachita/.