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  • Writer's pictureLindsay Jordan

STATE PARKS: Bull Shoals-White River

Updated: Aug 29, 2023

Welcome to Bull Shoals-White River State Park!

Bull Shoals-White River State Park is located about 20 minutes northwest of Mountain Home or an hour east of Harrison in northern Arkansas. Originally named after large springs in the area by early French hunters and trappers, Bull Shoals is Arkansas's largest lake with 45,440 acres of water and 1,000-miles of shoreline stretching along Arkansas's northern border and into southern Missouri.

Initially created for flood control and power generation, construction on the 2,256 foot long Bull Shoals Dam began in 1947 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Completed in the early 1950s, Bull Shoals Dam is the 5th largest concrete dam structure in the US. Upon completion, the Corps leased the shoreline to Arkansas and Bull Shoals was established as our 7th state park in 1955.

The park is spread out over 700 acres of the top and bottom of Bull Shoals Dam sitting on the shore of both Bull Shoals Lake and the White River. Anglers are drawn to the lake's lunker catches and water sport enthusiasts can enjoy boating, swimming and scuba diving in the crystal clear open waters.

Renowned as mid-America's premier trout stream, the coldwater White River is world-famous for its record rainbow and brown trout.

The park offers guests 93 hookup campsites, 20 tent sites and three Rent-An-RV sites with modern bathhouses. There are numerous picnic areas with pavilions and playgrounds located at both the lake side and river side sections of the park. The river side section also includes a basketball court, horseshoes, sand volleyball and an amphitheater. Take one of the walkways down to fish on the bank or use the boatramp to get out on the water. There's also a barrier free fishing pier and riverside marinawhere you can rent canoes, kayaks or boats and motors. While you're there, visit the trout store and pick up bait, tackle, snacks and park gifts.

Now, let's talk about trails...

Overlooking Bull Shoals Lake, you'll find the one mile Lakeside Trail. Next to the Visitor's Center is the half mile Heritage & Habitat Trail and down in the river side of the park is the 1.75 mile Big Bluff Trail, 3 mile Oakridge Mountain Bike Trail, and the three quarters of a mile ADA accessible Gaston Wildflower Garden Trail.

Before you leave, make sure you stop by the James A. Gaston Visitor Center. This 15,744-square-foot state of the art center houses an exhibit hall showcasing the history of the area, a state-of-the-art Johnboat Theater, aquarium, classrooms, giftshop and an observation tower overlooking spectacular views of the river, lake and dam.

This visitor/education center is named in honor of Jim Gaston, owner of Arkansas' renowned Gaston's White River Resort. People fly in from all over the world to stay at Gastons cottages, eat their famous Sunday brunch and fish their limits with Gastons experienced guides. If you're looking for a more upscale experience, Gastons is less than 5 minutes from the park!

We hope you’ve enjoyed this look into Bull Shoals-White River State Park and we encourage you to get out and experience The Natural State! For more information on the park, visit and make sure you follow Arkie Travels on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube for more Arkansas adventures!


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