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Camping Near Ouachita National Forest

Best Campgrounds Near Mt Ida Arkansas

Off-roading & Camping Near Broken Bow Lake | Ouachita National Forest

If youre wanting to go dig for crystals, staying at a campground near Mt. Ida is the perfect way to stay while you play.

Arkansas is known for its public diamond mine but we are also home to the spectacular Twin Creek Crystal Mine in Mt. Ida.

There is a huge vein of crystals that runs through the Ouachita Mountains near Mt. Ida. This vein is 30-to-40-mile-wide and 170-mile-long.

If youre the camping type, you can dig for crystals all day and sit around the campfire at night.

Some of the BEST camping in Arkansas is right here at these campgrounds.

What Is Dispersed Camping

Many people enjoy the solitude and primitive experience of camping away from developed campgrounds and other campers. Dispersed camping is the term used for camping anywhere in the National Forest OUTSIDE of a designated campground. Dispersed camping means no services such as trash removal, and little or no facilities such as tables and fire pits, are provided. Some popular dispersed camping areas may have toilets.

There are extra responsibilities and skills that are necessary for dispersed camping. It is your responsibility to know these before you try this new experience. Camping rules and regulations apply to make your experience safe, and to keep the natural resources scenic and unspoiled for other campers.

Visitors are primarily responsible for their own safety. Keep in mind, trails and roads may be open for use, but please recreate responsibly and follow public health guidelines regarding social distancing while you recreate in National Forests. Law enforcement and search and rescue operations may be limited due to COVID-19 issues. High risk activities such as rock climbing or motorized activities that increase your chance of injury or distress should be avoided. For the most current and accurate information about COVID-19, contact your local health officials or visit the CDC website at www.cdc.gov. Information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture is available at: www.usda.gov/coronavirus.

Ouachita National Forest Weekend Getaway

Arkansas is quickly becoming one of my most favorite states to visit. I dont know if its because of the peacefulness of the miles and miles of dirt roads, the ability to disconnect in with no-service, the private swimming holes, or the unique hikes, BUT Arkansas is definitely a hidden gem in the United States. If you are looking for a relaxing weekend getaway, here is the most perfect Ouachita National Forest weekend itinerary. Complete with the best things to do in the Ouachita Mountains, best hikes in southeastern Arkansas, a trip to Hot Springs National Park, and of course all the dog-friendly things to do in the Ouachitas.

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  • Sample Itinerary for an Ouachita National Forest Weekend Getaway from Dallas, TX
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    Where To Camp In The Ouachita National Forest

    Situated among oak forests and serene lakes, more than 20 campgrounds provide excellent bases for exploring the areas hiking and biking trails, floating on the water, or casting a line for bass and walleye. Whether youre looking to park your RV or pitch your tent, most of the developed camping and recreation areas are open from April to September, with a few open year-round. Many sites have electrical and water hookups, vault or flush toilets, and picnic shelters. A few locations even feature showers, drinking water and dump stations.

    Here are a selection of Arkansas campgrounds that come highly recommended by campers on The Dyrt.

    Other Camping In The Ouachita National Forest:

    Ouachita National Forest, OK Camping &  RV Parks Near Me ...
    • Arkansas State Parks: Arkansas is home to so many BEAUTIFUL state parks. Lake Catherine, Lake Ouachita, and Queen Wilhelmina are all located in the Ouachita National Forest and offer campsites and RV sites.
    • Gulpha Gorge Campground: Located inside Hot Springs National Park, Gulpha Gorge campsite offers full hook-ups, picnic tables, and grills.
    • Catherines Landing Campground:An all-inclusive campground with tent sites, yurts, cabins, charming cottages, and RV sites to choose from. There is also a splash pad, swimming pool, disc golf course, zipline, and aerial course. AND its only 5 minutes from Hot Springs National Park.
    • Dispersed Camping: Primitive camping is allowed in the Ouachita National Forest unless otherwise stated. There are of course no facilities at these sites, but a perfect way to have all the privacy and peacefulness.

    Tip! Check outWeelerz search engine. Its basically the Airbnb of campers, vans, and RVs. The perfect way to see the MOST of the Ouachitas!

    Also Check: Best Rv Camping Near Salt Lake City

    Ouachita National Forest Location

    Dispersed RV camping is permitted on the Ouachita National Forest. Some camping rules exist. Typical USDA Forest Service rules are 14 day limited stay before moving to a new location. The distance you may need to move may vary by location, so you should consult with the local USFS office for rules and restrictions.

    Is A Ouachita National Forest Road Trip Worth It

    If youre a nature lover, theres no question you should explore Ouachita National Forest. These dramatic peaks, lush woodlands, and fresh mountain breezes might help you see Arkansas in a whole new light. A visit to Ouachita National Forest is an opportunity to dig deeper and discover this unique areas breathtaking natural beauty. We certainly feel its worth it!

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    Camping In Hot Springs National Park

    Given the relatively small size of the park and its urban surroundings, camping options are limited inside Hot Springs National Park. Backcountry and dispersed camping are not permitted anywhere inside the park. The only place you can camp within Hot Springs National Park is at the Gulpha Gorge Campground, but fortunately, this is an excellent option.

    With a shady and idyllic location on the banks of Gulpha Creek, Gulpha Gorge Campground accommodates both tents and RVs and gives campers easy proximity to trails, bathhouses, the Visitor Center, and other attractions. It is open year-round on a first-come, first-served basis.

    About The Ouachita National Forest

    Ouachita National Forest | Creekside Camping Near Albert Pike | April 2021

    The vast acreage mentioned above makes Ouachita the largest national forest in the South. Since the government established it in 1907, its also the oldest national forest in that region. Some parts of the forest are designated wilderness areas, while others are used for timber production. The entire forest, though, is an important protected habitat for many species of wildlife and fish.

    Besides hunting and fishing, visitors can enjoy hiking and biking and almost all kinds of water recreation. With smooth roads with spectacular views, its also just a great place for a rolling and winding scenic drive.

    The Ouachita Mountains in this area are a distinctly separate range from the Ozarks, which are probably more famous. Most mountain ranges run north to south, but surprisingly, the Ouachitas are in an east-to-west pattern.

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    Discover The Best Free Camping Across The Usa

    To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping. There are so many free campsites in America .

    You should give it a try!

    As a matter of fact, these free campsites are yours. Every time you pay federal taxes, youre contributing to these lands.

    Become a FREE CAMPING INSIDER and join the 100,000 campers that love to score the best site!

    Well send you the 50 Best Free Campsites in the USA . Access the list by submitting your email below:

    Best Ouachita Mountains Camping Rentals

    The Ouachita Mountains offer unique glamping accommodations that will bring you all the amenities of home while staying surrounded by complete nature. No matter the type of place that guests prefer, you will find something that everyone loves. From a western-style cabin, to a themed suite rental, to accommodation for families or couples, Ouachita Mountains camping has it all. Hike the many trails or visit Lake Greeson and the Little Missouri River for all swimming and water sports.

    Last minute booking.The accommodations indicated with the icononly allow same-day reservations within strict time limits. Please bear this in mind to guarantee your reservation.

    There are no more accommodations that exactly fit your criteria. You can try broadening your search by changing some of the filters or move and zoom-out into the map to show more results.

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    What Is Unique About The Ouachita Mountains

    Ouachita National Forest isnt the only national park to straddle state lines. But because it covers so many different counties, it has 12 separate districts more than any other national forest.

    Another unique claim to fame is something that makes it popular with rockhounds. Were talking quartz crystals, and, in fact, you can even mine them yourself in the southern part of the forest. Specifically, a town called Mount Ida is the epicenter of this activity. You can dig for crystals at various mines or purchase them at area shops.

    Activities In Ouachita National Forest

    Shady Lake in Ouachita National Forest, Arkansas

    Whether you’re looking to relax in complete solitude or take advantage of the amazing recreational activities at Ouachita National Forest, you’ll have plenty of nature to view. Bring your off-highway vehicles, and head to the 600-acre Renegade Ranch OHV trail. Horse owners love the popular Billy Creek Trail, Fourche Mountain Trail, and Sugar Creek Equestrian. These trails are also great for hiking and mountain biking and are rated as moderate to difficult. They are also ideal for bird watching, geocaching, and observing wildlife.

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    Mill Creek Family Camp

    Image from The Dyrt camper Stephanie D.

    Located on the west side of Ouachita National Forest, 26 miles northeast of Mena, Mill Creek Family Camp will give you plenty of space to enjoy outdoor games, picnics, campfires, and group fun. This small, parklike campground offers 27 primitive sites surrounded by pine and hardwood forests on the banks of pretty Mill Creek. Site facilities include flush toilets and drinking water. Campers have access to several interpretive and hiking trails nearbygreat for wildlife spottingand swimming in a natural pool on the creek. Theres also a number of equestrian, mountain biking and ORV trails in the area. Seasonal campsites are first-come, first-serve.

    Great site for group camping. Flat open fields for yards games. Nice creek running by.The Dyrt camper Stephanie D.

    Whether youre out to hit the trails, cast a line, or just kick back under shady trees, theres a place to play, and stay, in Ouachita National Forest.

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    Ouachita National Recreation Trail

    Ouachita National Recreation Trail is the most popular and longest trail in the forest that spans Perryville. It extends into Pinnacle Mountain State Park, 15 miles west of Little Rock parts of the trail also venture across state lines. It’s heavily trafficked, so plan on others being on the path with you.

    Length: 192 miles

    Intensity: Difficult to Strenuous

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    Cabin And Hotels In The Ouachita National Forest

    • The Hotel Hot Springs: Located within walking distance from Hot Springs National Park, but dogs are not allowed here.
    • La Quinta Inn and Suites: If traveling with your dog, La Quintas are always a great option. Clean, comfortable, affordable, AND free breakfast.
    • Sassafrass Inn: Located on the western side of the Ouachitas , this Inn provides all the charm. Complete with free breakfast, 20 dollar pet fee, and cozy decor!

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    Talimena National Scenic Byway

    Forked Mountain – Cedar Creek – Dispersed Camping – Ouachita National Forest Arkansas

    The 54-mile Talimena Scenic Byway traverses some of the highest mountain tops in this part of the United States. The roadway was built in 1969 specifically for this purpose so more people could see these beautiful sites. At 2,681 feet above sea level, Rich Mountains peak is the second-tallest point in Arkansas. On the Oklahoma side, The Winding Stair Mountain range rises to an elevation of around 2,400 feet.

    At either end of this scenic byway are awe-inspiring state parks. In between are numerous recreation areas, including some great hiking areas. You can also take advantage of the unique opportunity to stand with one foot in Arkansas and one in Oklahoma.

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    Rules For Dispersed Camping:

    • Groups of over 75 people who wish to use the forest, need to obtain a special use permit. Permits can be obtained at the nearest District Office. NOTE: Due to COVID-19, groups larger than 10 people are discouraged from congregating.
    • There is privately owned land within the forest boundaries so be sure to not encroach on private land.
    • You need to be self-contained. No amenities are provided such as water, restrooms or trash cans.
    • You may camp in a dispersed area for up to 30 days. After 30 days, you must move at least 5 road miles for camping in another dispersed area. Campers may not return to the same campsite within the calendar year.
    • Please place your campsite at least 100 feet from any stream or other water source. 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 within the forest. These same streams will usually be dry in the late summer and early fall. Carry water or a water filtration device with you.
    • Keep a Pack-In Pack-Out camp. Follow Leave No Trace guidelines.
    • Contact the local Forest Service office to see if any restrictions, especially fire restrictions are in place.
    • Be Bear Aware. There are bears on the National Forest, so camp accordingly.

    Day Trip To Hot Springs National Park

    Hot Springs National Park is different than any national park you may be used to. BUT, I do think it is still worth a visit. If you are looking to escape into nature, this is NOT the national park for you, but there is a great history and beautiful historic buildings to admire.

    Things to do in Hot Springs National Park:

    • Stroll along Bathhouse Row: The most popular reason people come to visit Hot Springs National Park. Located right downtown you will find 8 different historic bathhouses built between 1892 and 1923. The Buckstaff Bathhouse still offers traditional type therapy and baths. The Quapaw Bathsare home to public thermal baths and specialized spa services. Unfortunately, the bathhouses are not dog-friendly, but it was still fun to see them from the outside! Read more about the Bathhouse row here!
    • Take a Duck Ride: During this 75-minute tour, you will learn all about the history of the park, marvel at Bathhouse Row, then take in the views while floating along Lake Hamilton. Its the perfect way to see the city!
    • Tour the Wax Museum: Yes, there are these Wax Museums all over the country, but if looking for a rainy day activity or wanting to pass a bit of time, it is located right along the main street!
    • Sample beer made with the citys Spring Water: Im obsessed with this brewery because they let dogs INSIDE and the food/beer was delicious It is VERY popular, but we were able to put our name on the waitlist and walk along Bathhouse Row while we waited.

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    Where Can I Disperse Camp

    Typically, dispersed camping is NOT allowed in the vicinity of developed recreation areas such as campgrounds, picnic areas, or trailheads. Many people drive out on Forest Service roads into the woods and find a clearing or a spot near a stream or with a view of the mountains. Do not drive on meadows to access your camping site. Drive on existing roads to prevent resource damage. To prevent resource damage please keep your campsite within 150 feet from a roadway.

    Sample Itinerary For An Ouachita National Forest Weekend Getaway From Dallas Tx

    The Latest and Highly Recommended Campgrounds and RV Parks ...

    Friday: Arrival, swimming, and sunset hikes!

    • Stop 1: Cossatot River State Park
    • Stop 2: Check in to campsite/hotel
    • Stop 3: Sunset hike at Queen Wilhelmina State Park

    Saturday: Road trip to Hot Springs!

    • Stop 1: Garvan Woodland Gardens
    • Stop 2: Lake Catherin State Park
    • Stop 3: Hot Springs National Park
    • Stop 4: Lake Ouachita State Park

    Sunday: Swimming Holes and home!

    • Stop 1: Little Missouri Falls
    • Stop 2: Start the drive home!

    A weekend getaway to the Ouachita National Forest is the perfect way to escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. With all the hidden natural wonders, its no wonder its considered the natural state! Be sure to follow along on for more dog-friendly USA road trip itineraries and stops!

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    Luxury Camping Cabins Near Ouachita National Forest And Ozark National Forest Camping In Arkansas

    Whether an outdoors enthusiast or looking for just a relaxing stay in a secluded location in the woods, these camping cabins near Ouachita National Forest are exactly what you are looking for. We have the best options of Ouachita cabins for your next glamping stay! You can bring along your loved one, the family, or have a whole family reunion in a Ouachita National Forest cabin in Arkansas. Glampers can travel the numerous walking paths via bikes or just have a peaceful stroll. Those interested in having a night out in the city with some dining and clubbing can head to Little Rock, Arkansas. There’s nothing quite like staying at a Ouachita National Forest cabin rental. There’s no disputing it! So stop what you are doing and check out these Ouachita National Forest camping cabins!Book the best Ouachita National Forest cabins with Glamping Hub!

    Last minute booking.The accommodations indicated with the icononly allow same-day reservations within strict time limits. Please bear this in mind to guarantee your reservation.

    There are no more accommodations that exactly fit your criteria. You can try broadening your search by changing some of the filters or move and zoom-out into the map to show more results.

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