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Arkansas State Parks

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USA Parks
River Valley Region
Ozark National Forest
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Ozark National Forest Hawksbill Crag © Chris Walters
A late summer shot of Hawksbill Crag
Ozark National Forest Ozark Forest © Chris Walters
An early fall shot of the Ozarks from the pig trail
Ozark National Forest Natural Stone Bridge © Chris Walters
A natural stone bridge in the Ozarks taken in early fall
Ozark National Forest Hawksbill Crag © Chris Walters
A late fall shot of hawksbill crag
Ozark National Forest Hawksbill Crag © Chris Walters
Late summer shot of Hawksbill Crag Whittaker Point in the Ozarks
Ozark National Forest Ozark Forest © Chris Walters
An early fall shot of the Ozark Forest taken from the pig trail
Ozark National Forest Artists Point © Chris Walters
A mid summer view from the rear of Artists Point in the Ozarks
Ozark National Forest Artists Point © Chris Walters
Artists Point Gift Shop in the Ozarks. Warm welcome and always worth a visit
Ozark National Forest Artists Point © Chris Walters
A Humming Bird at the feeder behind artists point in the Ozarks
Ozark National Forest © Lisa G. Putman
Ozark National Forest © nichole west
Ozark National Forest greers ferry © nichole west
natural beauty
Ozark National Forest © nichole west
Ozark National Forest View from Hawksbill Crag Trail © Chris Walters
Late summer shot taken from the trail to Hawksbill Crag
Ozark National Forest Hawksbill Crag © Chris Walters
A late summer shot of Hawksbill Crag
Availability Search
605 West Main
Russellville, Arkansas   72801

Phone: 479-964-7200
Email: park email button icon
Welcome to the official website of the Ozark-St. Francis National Forests.

The Ozark-St. Francis National Forests are really two separate Forests with many differences. They are distinct in their own topographical, geological, biological, cultural and social differences, yet each makes up a part of the overall National Forest system.

The Ozark National Forest covers 1.2 million acres, mostly in the Ozark mountains of northern Arkansas. You'll find the tallest mountain in the State, Mount Magazine, and an incredible, living underground cave--Blanchard Springs Caverns.

The St. Francis National Forest covers 22,600 acres in eastern Arkansas, one of the smallest and most diverse forests in the country.

These forests are generously endowed with recreational opportunities for camping, hiking, swimming, fishing, hunting, boating, scenic drives, picnics sites, and opportunities for wildlife viewing also abound.
Step into the past by visiting the 1930's vintage cabins on the Ozark National Forest. Rent a cabin for an evening atop White Rock or beside Lake Wedington.

Lake Wedington

History: During the 1930's local men, employed by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), began building the lake and a recreation area and planting trees under the guidance of the Soil Conservation Service. With native oak from the lake bed and native stone and native skills, the buildings took shape and the lake filled with clear spring water. By 1954, the trees were tall, and the administration of the land was passed to the U. S. Forest Service.

In 1988, after 50 years of use, the park needed major repairs and the WPA cabins had been abandoned. A group of volunteers formed Friends of Lake Wedington to restore the cabins. With the Forest Service they continue to refurbish the buildings, update the facilities, and make the park accessible to all. Lake Wedington Recreation Area is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

Overnight guests can stay in any of the six recently refurbished historic cabins with swimming, playgrounds, paddle boats and canoe rental, volleyball courts, horseshoes, and a snack bar available during the summer. Lake Wedington has a lodge available for larger groups for day use only.

Lake Wedington Recreation Area is now being managed by the University of Arkansas in a unique partnership with the Forest Service. The University can be contacted for information regarding the recreation area and cabin rentals by calling (479) 442-3527 or through their web site at

Take Arkansas 16 (paved) west from Fayetteville for 13 miles. Negotiable by camping trailer rigs.

White Rock

History: The three natural stone cabins and lodge on White Rock Mountain were built in the 1930's by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The CCC was formed during the Great Depression by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Wind, rain, and natural elements caused the deterioration of the buildings over the years. In 1987, a volunteer group, Friends of White Rock, formed and began a project to renovate the structures. With a lot of hard work, the cabins and lodge were restored in 1991. Once again, visitors to White Rock Mountain are enjoying the scenic views from the cabins. On a clear day you can see for 40 miles over the Ozarks and surrounding area. Caution, there are high bluffs around the mountain top. For your safety, please be careful and keep young children away from the bluff edge!

The cabins can be rented year-round. All three feature stone fireplaces and original furniture. The lodge can accommodate up to 30 people a night. Reservations for the cabins and lodge can be made by calling the concessionaire at (479) 369-4128.

From Mulberry, take Arkansas 215 (paved) north for 15 miles, continue on Forest Service Road 1505 (gravel) for 8 miles, continue on Forest Service Road 1003 (gravel) for 2 1/2 miles.
There are many choice locations available in the national forest campgrounds. Camp along the river or lake, or at one of the mountain camping areas. There are plenty of developed campsites from which to choose your own personal spot in the forest. Several locations have hot showers. Some are year round such as Blanchard Springs Recreation Area, Redding, and Cove Lake, while others are available May-Oct. at Lake Wedington, Shores Lake , Storm Creek, and Long Pool. Day-use areas with cold showers, May-Oct., are Lake Wedington, Horsehead Lake, and Spring Lake. Shores Lake day-use area has hot showers May-Oct. Camping and day-use fees vary. If you are camping at the developed campground, day use is no additional charge.


The Ozark National Forest has five wilderness areas totaling 65,826 acres of undisturbed beauty. These wilderness areas were created by the Arkansas Wilderness Act of 1984. The wilderness areas are open for primitive camping, hunting and fishing (in season), hiking, swimming (if available), nature study, and to those seeking solitude.

Please place camps well away from creeks and tributaries. Showers can be locally heavy and occasionally have been known to produce 5 to 10 inches of rain in a few hours. Such storms will cause flooding in the rivers and tributaries of any or all of these wilderness areas.


Upper Buffalo -- This wilderness area contains 11,094 acres located in Newton County, Arkansas. The area features the headwaters of the Buffalo National River and rugged, steep terrain, deep valleys and forested hills.

Hurricane Creek -- This wilderness area covers 15,177 acres in Newton and Johnson Counties, Arkansas. The wilderness is characterized by upland oak-hickory hardwood forest, sandstone bluffs, and Hurricane Creek, that runs through the middle of the area. The Ozark Highlands Trail, a 165 mile hiking trail, crosses the wilderness area.

Richland Creek -- This wilderness area contains 11,822 acres in Newton and Searcy Counties, Arkansas. In addition to beautiful Richland Creek, which flows through the area, the wilderness also features an oak-hickory forest, abundant wildlife, secluded back-country areas and towering vistas.

East Fork -- This wilderness area contains 10,777 acres located in Pope County, Arkansas. The area is characterized by typical Ozark "hills and hollows" and clear mountain streams. The area is bounded on the west by Arkansas Highway 27, on the north by Forest Service Road 1301, on the east by Forest Service Road 1302.

Leatherwood -- This wilderness area contains 16,956 acres located in Marion, Baxter and Searcy Counties, Arkansas. Steep, rugged terrain characterizes this area with an upland oak-hickory forest. The famous Buffalo National River forms part of its boundary.

Camping fees vary from $4.00 - $10.00 per night per site.

The Ozarks are known for the clear mountain streams, but please filter water before drinking! Beware of stream crossings after heavy rains.

Wilderness Area Camping in any of the five designated Wilderness Areas is welcome. No facilities or campgrounds are available. Water will not be available, so you must pack it in or use a water filtration system. Please sign in at the trailhead to leave information about the direction you are taking and how long you expect to be gone, so Forest personnel can locate you in case of emergency. Use "Leave No Trace" ethics, pack it in pack it out.

Private property borders the roads and trails in various places. Please respect the owners by not trespassing.

Ozark National Forest is located near Springdale

Several of the campgrounds have Day-Use Areas in or near them. Some day-useareas have swimming beaches, picnic tables, and pavilions. Boat Ramp facilities are also considered day-use and are subject to the same fees as the picnic/swimming areas. These fees are usually $3.00 per day per car, truck, or passenger van. Fees are per person when entering by foot, bus, or other mode of transportation. Some concessionaires set the fees for camping and day-use areas.

Seasonal Day-Use Passes are available for $30.00 per vehicle per year at District Offices. This pass should be displayed by hanging it from the rearview mirror of the vehicle and may be used throughout the day-use season for the year in which it is purchased.. If visitors are going to frequent a day-use area more than 10 times in one year, the pass is well worth purchasing and much more convenient for boaters, picnickers, and swimmers.

Pavilions are located throughout the Forest, and may be reserved for $35.00 per group, per day by calling the Ranger District Offices. Pavilions are available at the following recreation areas: Long Pool and Bayou Bluff (Bayou District, call 479- 284-3150), Shores Lake (Boston Mountain District, call 479- 667-2191), Horsehead and Ozone (Pleasant Hill District, call (479-754-2864), Cove Lake and Spring Lake (Magazine District, call 479-963-3076), and Lake Wedington (Boston Mountain Ranger District, call 479-442-5121).

The following Picnic Areas are not located in developed campgrounds. They are located in scenic areas, and are designated "Day-Use" areas: Alum Cove Natural Bridge, Gray's Spring, Natural Dam, Rotary Ann overlook, and at Mt. Magazine Complex the picnicking only locations are - Brown Springs, East End, and Greenfield.

Please keep dogs on leashes at all times. Animals are not allowed on the beaches or in swim areas.
The Ozark-St. Francis National Forests have some of Arkansas' best trails. Visitors can take advantage of about 300 miles of trails through the forest and never see the same view twice. So, whether you enjoy leisurely hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, or off highway vehicle (OHV) riding, we have a trail to suit your interest.

Alum Cove Trail - This trail is located in the Alum Cove Natural Bridge area near Deer, Arkansas. The 1.1 mile trail takes hikers near rock outcrops and a 120-foot natural bridge.

Bayou Bluff Trail - This 1.2 mile loop trail overlooks the Illinois Bayou and features spectacular views.

Horsehead Lake Trail - This 3-mile loop trail is located at the Horsehead Lake Recreation Area 12 miles northwest of Clarksville.

Huckleberry Mountain Horse Trail - This trail consists of two main loops that offer 40 miles of the most scenic horseback riding, hiking, and mountain biking opportunities in the Ozark National Forest.

Mt. Magazine to Cove Lake Trail is a 10.8-mile trail which connects the Cameron Bluff Campground atop Mt. Magazine (the highest point in Arkansas) with the Cove Lake Campground in the valley below.

Mill Creek Trail - this trail is open to OHVs, mountain bikes, horses and hikers. The trail is 27 miles of main trail marked in blue and 15 miles of interior loops and shortcuts trails.

Moccasin Gap Horse Trail - Situated in the heart of the forest, this trail consists of four loop trails, each converging into the other. Although this area is primarily developed as a horse trail, it is actually a multiple-use trail open to OHV's mountain bikes, hikers, and high-clearance vehicles.

Ozark Highlands Trail is a 165-mile hiking trail that crosses the Ozark National Forest and is recognized as one of the most scenic trails in the United States. Starting at Lake Fort Smith State Park on Arkansas 71, the trail crosses the forest to Woolum near the Buffalo National River.

The trail travels through a wide variety of forest landscapes ranging from lower stream side elevations to high ridges. Scenic bluff and rock formations along the high vistas are evident along most sections of the trail.

Redding Loop - Spy Rock Spur This 8.5-mile loop trail is located 18 miles north of Ozark, off Arkansas Highway 23. The trail takes the hiker to Spy Rock for a spectacular view of the Mulberry River Valley or to a junction with the Ozark Highlands Trail.

Shores Lake - White Rock Loop Trail - This loop trail connects two popular Forest Service recreation areas: Shores Lake and White Rock Mountain. A portion of the trail follows the Ozark Highlands Trail. Camping is allowed along the trail.

Sorghum Hollow Horse Camp - This is the trailhead camp for the Huckleberry Mountain Horse Trail System. Camping (15 family units) is available, along with a pond for watering horses, vault toilet, and day use-parking. There are no electrical hook-ups. The trail is open to OHV (4-wheeler) use, hiking, and mountain biking.

Syllamo Mountain Bike Trail - The Sylamore Ranger District of the Ozark National Forest, along with partners, is in the process of constructing a system of trails especially for mountain bikes.

North Sylamore Creek Hiking Trail - This 14-mile trail follows North Sylamore Creek from Allison, Arkansas to Barkshed Recreation Area. It is located 8 miles northwest of Mtn. View, Arkansas.

Wedington Hiking Trail - The 7.5 mile trail is located on the Wedington Unit, west of Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
September 21 Yes by Keegan_D
park review stars; one to five
September 1 Horseback trailriding wonderland!! by calamityj
park review stars; one to five My husband and I enjoy camping at Falling Waters horsecamp and riding the beautiful, but challenging trails near Richland Creek. There are numerous wildlife sightings, gorgeous waterfalls, and some of the most beautiful country in the USA.
May 16 Awesome Arkansas by jmac253
park review stars; one to five I visited The Richland creek area at the old bridge April 18th. It is such a beautiful place filled with wild flowers and trails. I was fortunate to be there when Dogwoods were in full bloom. Had lunch at the old campground just above the bridge, sadly if is now closed.
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