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STATE PARKS: Lake Fort Smith State Park

Welcome to Lake Fort Smith State Park!

Located about 15 minutes north of Mountainburg off Interstate 49, you'll find Lake Fort Smith State Park. In the 1930's, crews from the federal Works Progress Administration created what was then called Mountainburg Recreational Facility and the lake was designated as a water source for the city of Fort Smith.

Lake Fort Smith became Arkansas' 23rd state park in 1967. State parks normally stay put, but this one closed in 2002 and migrated four miles north from its original location. The previous site is now underwater, after the enlarging of Lake Fort Smith and Lake Shepherd Springs to form a single reservoir of 1,390 surface acres. The new dam was completed in the summer of 2006 and stands 101 feet higher than the previous dam.

The relocated multi-million dollar Lake Fort Smith State Park reopened May 21, 2008 on the new reservoir's western shore. The design of the park's facilities evokes the architectural style of the WPA stone buildings constructed in the 1930s that were featured in the original park. Nestled in a scenic valley of the Boston Mountains the 260-acre park offers something for everyone!

Guests will enjoy their overnight stay in one of 30 hookup campsites with modern bathhouses or 10 comfortable cabins with large decks. If you've been looking for a place to host your church group or family reunion, you've found it! The beautiful group facilities include a dining hall and two group lodges with full kitchens and accommodations for up to 32 people. The day use area includes multiple picnic spots and a large pavilion available to rent for groups and kids are going to love the playground! Boat, canoe and kayak rentals are available at the marina or you can use the double lane boat launch ramp to get out on the water.

Because this lake is a water source, there is no swimming, water skiing, stand-up paddle boarding or jet skiing allowed. But don't let that get you down, the park also offers a large pool with a splash pad, bathhouse facilities and a snack bar!

The 8,000 square foot visitor center houses a replica pioneer log cabin and covered wagon in the exhibit gallery, along with a gift shop, meeting space, and an outdoor patio featuring a wood-burning fireplace and an expansive view of the lake and mountains. You can also head down the barrier free walkway to the Polly Wood Crews overlook, named for Ms. Crews because of her dedication to making park facilities accessible to everyone.

Now, let's talk about trails...The three quarter mile Warren Hollow Trail is a beautiful short hike from the visitor's center to the group lodge. The Boston Mountain Trail includes 2 loops...a 4 mile Loop A and a two and a half mile loop B for both hiking and mountain biking. Lake Fort Smith State Park is also the western terminus of the 253 mile Ozark Highland Trail. When complete, the OHT will stretch 320 miles across northern Arkansas from Lake Fort Smith State Park to Lake Norfork – where it will connect to the Ozark Trail in Missouri. If you're not up for the whole thing, take the Shepherd Springs Loop to come back to the visitor's center. Be on the lookout for the seasonal waterfall after a rain! And if you want to take a shortcut to the waterfall, there's cut-off trail at the end of the campground that makes it an easy 5 minute walk.

While you're in the area, swing through Mountainburg for a tasty treat and make sure you stop by their city's a blast from the past!!

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