Lake Ouachita Field Office
1424 Blakely Dam Rd
Royal AR 71968-9493
|Welcome to the beautiful waters of Lake Ouachita! Nestled in the Ouachita Mountains just 10 miles west of Hot Springs Arkansas, Lake Ouachita provides the perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Whether you are looking for quiet relaxation or need a little adventure, Lake Ouachita is the place for you.
Built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers between 1946 and 1954 as part of a flood control, hydropower, and navigation project, authorized purposes now also include recreation, water supply, and fish and wildlife management. The land surrounding Lake Ouachita is part of the Ouachita National Forest, which encompasses 1.8 million acres in central Arkansas and southeastern Oklahoma. Approximately 4 million people visit Lake Ouachita each year. With 40,000 acres of water and 20,000 acres of public land, Ouachita offers an abundance of recreational opportunities. The Corps of Engineers maintains over 1100 campsites and 20 boat ramps on Lake Ouachita. Boating, fishing, scuba diving and island camping are especially popular.
Photo courtesy of Dan Valovich
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Hi-Resolution Lake Ouachita Map
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Lake Ouachita, with 40,000 acres of crystal clear water and over 200 islands, is a boater’s paradise. Surrounded by 975 miles of remote shoreline and the Ouachita National Forest, Lake Ouachita has consistently been ranked one of the cleanest lakes in the nation. No matter what kind of boat you own there is plenty of space to enjoy it on Lake Ouachita. Houseboating is especially popular due to the deep waters found here. There are 20 boat ramps and 10 full service marinas to serve your boating needs. Lake Ouachita is a premier recreation destination.
Water safety at Lake Ouachita is a high priority to our staff. The following safety tips can help keep you and your family safe on the water.
WEAR YOUR LIFE JACKET!
Statistics show that 90% of drowning victims were not wearing a life jacket. State law requires that there must be a life jacket on board your vessel for each person, and they must be readily accessible. Also remember that children under 13 must wear their life jacket at all times while on board the vessel. Always choose Coast Guard approved life jackets. A snug fit is essential. In addition to checking weight and size requirements, try the life jacket on your child. When picked up by the life jacket shoulders, child’s chin and ears shouldn’t slip through. For adults, there are many new types of comfortable life jackets on the market. Choose one that fits you and set a good example by always wearing it. Replace life jackets that are torn, have loose buckles or straps, or have dry rot or mildew.
Life jacket loaner boards are located at Lake Ouachita swim beaches.
NEVER OPERATE A BOAT OR PERSONAL WATER CRAFT UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL!
Make sure if you plan to drink that you have a designated driver on and off the water. The majority of boating fatalities involve alcohol. Because boaters are exposed to stress factors such as sun, wind, vibration, and noise while on the water, it may take a smaller amount of alcohol than normal to cause extreme impairment.
Before you hit the water be sure to review the rules and regulations for boating in Arkansas. Review safety tips with your family and emergency plans. Take a Boater’s Education Course. Make sure you have all the proper equipment on board your vessel, including a cell phone or VHF marine radio. Always file a float plan, including your destination, departure time and return time.
WATCH THE WEATHER!
An important part of boating safety is being aware of your surroundings. This includes the weather- always check the forecast before you head out in your boat. If you hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning. Get off the water and seek shelter immediately.
One of the most popular outdoor recreation activities at Lake Ouachita is camping. The Corps of Engineers manages 17 campgrounds at Lake Ouachita, with campsites ranging from primitive to paved pull through sites with water and electric hook-ups. Many of the campgrounds on Lake Ouachita feature amenities such as restrooms, showers, boat ramps, sanitary disposal stations, playgrounds, electric and water hook-ups, courtesy docks, and designated swimming areas. Six of the campgrounds feature contract or volunteer park attendants who register incoming campers, provide information, and ensure the campground is operated to provide the safest, most enjoyable experience for all visitors.
Group Camping areas are available by reservation through the Lake Ouachita Field Office which allows clubs, families, and friends to camp together in a common area for a reasonable fee.Group camping areas are located at Little Fir, and Spillway Day Use area. Denby Point and Crystal Springs Group camping area reservations can be made by calling the National Recreation Reservation System.
The outdoor activities at Lake Ouachita are numerous. From your campsite base you can enjoy a day boating or fishing on the 40, 000 acres of crystal clear water, hike, swim or picnic at one of our many designated beaches and picnic areas, or just sit back and enjoy a campfire or relax in the shade of your campsite.
Camp at Lake Ouachita and enjoy some of the best scenery nature has to offer in the state of Arkansas.
With over 200 islands, Lake Ouachita is an extremely popular site for island camping. Be sure to Leave No Trace. If you carry it in, please carry it out-this will eliminate litter. Protect water sources from contamination - use biodegradable soap, or try hot water soapless dishwashing, bathing and clothes washing. When using soap (even biodegradable) and toothpaste, dispose of the wastewater at least 100 feet away from natural water sources. Remember that nails and wires should not be used on trees because they can cause serious damage to trees, and that burn damage will permanently scar or kill a tree. If building a campfire make sure that you keep it contained with rocks and build it at least 10 feet away from trees and other brush. Never leave a campfire unattended. By following these and other safe camping practices you can keep Lake Ouachita’s islands healthy for future generations to enjoy.
Camping Policies and Regulations
Class A Camping Areas
All campsites are non-reservable and are available on a “first come-first serve” basis from 9 September through 30 April. Reservable campsites are available from 1 May to 8 September.
Fees: $10 – $20 per night
Reservations for Class A sites at these camping areas may be made by calling the National Recreation Reservation System's toll free number
1-877-444-6777 or on the internet at www.recreation.gov
Brady Mountain- Campground Map
View Google Map –
1320 Brady Mountain Overlook
Royal, AR 71968
Location: 13 miles west of Hot Springs on Highway 270W, then 6.1 miles north on Brady Mountain Road.
Campsite Description: Concrete table, ground grill, pedestal grill, lantern post, shade available
Amenities: Flush toilets, potable water near sites, showers, boat ramp, playground, hiking trail, pavilion, picnic area, amphitheater, trailer dump station, swim beach, fish cleaning
station, handicap accessible site (# 59). 50 amp sites available
Nearby facilities: Brady Mountain Resort - full service marina, restaurant, lodge, cabins, horseback riding, scuba shop, boat ramp, boat rental. http://www.bradymtn.com/
Crystal Springs -Campground Map
View Google Map
- 74 campsites
1130 N. Crystal Springs Road
Royal, AR 71968
Location: 16.8 miles west of Hot Springs on Highway 270W, then 1.5 miles north on Crystal Springs Road.
Campsite Description: Concrete table, ground grill, pedestal grill, lantern post, water hookups, shade.
Amenities: Flush toilets, potable water at sites, showers, boat ramp, trailer dump station, swim beach (2), fish cleaning station, handicap accessible sites (# 22 and # 73), 50 amp sites available, trails
Nearby facilities: Crystal Springs Day Use Area - Picnic area, playground, pavilions (2), boat ramp, fish cleaning station, amphitheater. Crystal Springs Resort - full service marina, boat rental, restaurant. http://www.crystalspringsresort.com/
View Google Map
- 64 campsites
303 Campground Road
Mt. Ida, AR 71957
Location: Highway 270, 24 miles west of Hot Springs, then 1.9 miles north on Mountain Harbor Road. Turn left at campground sign (straight will lead into the marina).
Campsite Description: Concrete table, ground grill, pedestal grill, lantern post, shade. Campsites are not level and caution is advised while establishing camp. *Not recommended for large trailers, large RV’s or units with “slide outs”*
Amenities: Flush toilets, potable water near sites, showers, boat ramp, trailer dump station, swim beach, fish cleaning station, trails
Nearby facilities: Mountain Harbor Resort - Full service marina, boat rental, restaurant, Subway, lodge, condominiums, cabins, camping, meeting facility, Turtle Cove Spa, horseback riding. http://www.mountainharborresort.com/
Tompkins Bend -Campground Map
View Google Map
- 77 campsites
15 Tompkins Bend
Mt. Ida, AR 71957
Location: Highway 270, 25 miles west of Hot Springs and 10.7 miles east of Mount Ida, then 2.1 miles north on Shangri-La Road. Turn left at campground sign (straight will lead into the marina).
Campsite Description: Concrete table, ground grill, pedestal grill, lantern post, shade.
Amenities: Flush toilets, potable water on all sites, showers, boat ramp, amphitheater, trailer dump station, fish cleaning station, trails. 50 amp sites available.
Nearby Facilities: Shangri-La Resort - Full service marina, restaurant, cabins, motel, boat rental. http://www.shangrilaresortar.com/
Denby Point -Campground Map
View Google Map - 67 campsites
119 Ouachita Shores Parkway
Mt. Ida, AR 71957
Location: Highway 270, 26 miles west of Hot Springs and 9.5 miles east of Mount Ida, then 0.3 miles north on Denby Road. Turn left at campground sign (straight will lead into the marina).
Campsite Description: Concrete table, ground grill, pedestal grill, lantern post, shade.
Amenities: Flush toilets, potable water near sites, showers, boat ramp, amphitheater, trailer dump station, fish cleaning station, swim beach, playground, picnic area, trails. 50 amp sites available, 2 group camping areas available ($60-65).
Nearby Facilities: Lake Ouachita Shores Resort - Full service marina, lodge, motel, bungalows, boat rental
Class B Campgrounds:
All Class B campsites are non-reservable and are available on a “first come-first serve” basis year-round.
Fees: $8 to $14 per night
Stephens Park $12-$14 per night
- 9 campsites
Location: Highway 227 in Hot Springs to Mountain Pine, then follow Blakely Dam Road past school. Park is on left at the base of Blakely Mountain Dam.
Campsite Description: Concrete table, ground grill, pedestal grill, lantern post, shade.
Amenities: Flush toilet, showers, potable water near sites, playground, pavilion, picnic area, boat ramp (Avery Park).
Nearby facilities: Spillway Recreation Area (swim beach, group camp, picnic area, pavilion, fish cleaning station, boat ramp)
Echo Canyon Resort- marina store, cabin rentals, restaurant http://www.echocanyonar.com/
Lake Ouachita State Park - cabins, marina, dump station, trails, visitor center, camping, picnic area, showers, playground, swim beach http://www.arkansasstateparks.com/lakeouachita/
View Google Map
- 29 campsites
Location: Highway 27, 4.7 miles north of Mount Ida, then east on Highway 188. 8 miles on Highway 188, then turn right at campground sign (straight will lead into marina).
Campsite Description: Concrete table, ground grill, pedestal grill, lantern post, water, shade.
Amenities: Flush toilets, potable water on site, boat ramp, fish cleaning station, dump station, one 50 amp available. Group camping area available for $30. *No showers*
Nearby Facilities: Little Fir Landing – full service marina and campground http://www.littlefirlanding.com/
View Google Map
- 10 campsites
Location: Highway 7 north from Hot Springs, then left on Highway 298. Or from Mount Ida, 12.4 miles north on Highway 27, then right at Storey on Highway 298. Turn south on Lena Landing Road, then 1.2 miles. Cross the wooden bridge, turn left, and campground area will be on the right.
Campsite Description: Concrete table, ground grill, pedestal grill, lantern post, shade.
Amenities: Boat ramp, flush toilet, dump station, potable water near sites. *No showers*
Nearby Facilities: North Shores Resort – full service marina, boat rental, cabin rental, restaurant, camping http://www.northshoresresort.com/
View Google Map - 15 campsites
Location: Highway 270, 27 miles west of Hot Springs and 8.8 miles east of Mount Ida, then 1 mile on Twin Creek Road.
Campsite Description:Concrete table, ground grill, pedestal grill, lantern post, shade.
Amenities: Flush toilet, boat ramp, swim beach, fishing pier, overflow camping (major holidays only). *No showers*
Nearby facilities: Bait shops, Lake Ouachita Shores Resort, Shangri-La Resort, Mountain Harbor Resort, Mount Ida
Other Camping Areas:
Primitive campsites are located on the north end of Lake Ouachita at Big Fir, Buckville, Cedar Fourche, Rabbit Tail, Avant, Irons Fork, Ebone Point (boat-in only) and Washita. There is no charge for camping at these areas. Amenities at these areas are as follows:
Buckville - pit toilets, concrete tables, lantern post, ground grill, pedestal grill, boat ramp
Cedar Fourche – restrooms and showers only
Irons Fork – pit toilets, concrete tables, ground grill, pedestal grill, lantern post, boat ramp
America the Beautiful Passes/Golden Age and Golden Access cards accepted
Arkansas Agencies Authorized to sell America the Beautiful Passes
Want to take the kids swimming? Need a place to launch your boat? Looking for a picnic area?
Lake Ouachita offers 20 Corps managed recreation areas for people who want to spend the day (or maybe just an hour or two...) at the lake. Day use areas have amenities such as picnic tables, playgrounds, boat launching ramps, courtesy docks, restrooms, picnic shelters, drinking water, swim beaches and ADA accessible facilities.
Day Use Areas Near the Dam:
Stephens Park – Playground, picnic tables, restroom, bank fishing, group pavilion
Avery – Handicap accessible fishing pier, paved boat ramp, restroom, group pavilion
Spillway – Swim beach, picnic tables, restrooms, paved boat ramp, courtesy dock, fishing cleaning station, group pavilion
Day Use Areas Along Highway 270:
Brady Mountain – Swim beach, paved boat ramp, courtesy dock, restroom, fishing cleaning station, group pavilion, church arbor
Crystal Springs – Swim beach, playground, restrooms, picnic tables, group pavilions (2), paved boat ramp, fish cleaning station, amphitheater
Joplin – Paved boat ramp (located in Mountain Harbor), courtesy dock, fishing cleaning station (in campground)
Tompkins Bend – Paved boat ramp, restroom, fish cleaning station, amphitheater
Denby Point – Paved boat ramp, picnic tables, restroom, fish cleaning station (in campground), amphitheater
Twin Creek – Swim beach, picnic tables, restroom, paved boat ramp and handicap fishing pier (managed by AG&F Commission)
Day Use Areas Along Highway 27:
Highway 27 – Paved boat ramp (managed by Corps); swim beach, restroom, picnic tables (managed by Highway 27 Fishing Village)
Little Fir – Paved boat ramp, restroom, fish cleaning station
Big Fir – Paved boat ramp, restroom
Washita – Boat ramp, picnic tables, restroom
Day Use Areas Along Highway 298 (North side):
Ebone Point – Area accessible by boat only, restroom
Irons Fork – Picnic tables, paved boat ramp, restroom
Avant – Paved boat ramp
Rabbit Tail – Boat ramp (managed by AG&F Commission)
Buckville – Boat ramp, restroom, swim beach
Lena Landing – Paved boat ramp (managed by AG&F Commission), restroom, picnic tables
Cedar Fourche – restroom with showers, shoreline and water access, camping
Group Pavilions (Covered Picnic Shelters):
There are six group pavilions located on Lake Ouachita. They can be found at Stephens Park, Avery, Spillway, Brady Mountain, and Crystal Springs (2). These are a perfect setting for family reunions, birthday parties or company picnics. The pavilions are equipped with large grills, picnic tables, electrical outlets and lights. Avery pavilion has a large grassy area nearby, perfect for a game of horseshoes or volleyball. Beginning May 1, 2015 visitors to Lake Ouachita will now be able to reserve Brady Mountain and Crystal Springs Day Use pavilions online through National Recreation Reservation Service (NRRS) at recreation.gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777. The reservation period for these facilities through NRRS will be handled from May 1st-September 8th. You may reserve these facilities 12 months in advance. Also, Crystal Springs Group Camping Area D (4 campsites) and Denby Point Group Camping Areas A (6 campsites) & B (7 campsites) are reservable for this time period as well. You may reserve these facilities 6 months in advance. For reservations on either of these pavilions or group camping areas from September 9th-April 30th, contact the Lake Ouachita Field Office at 501-767-2101 to inquire about the availability.
Day Use Fees:
- Boat launching - $3 per vehicle
- Swimming areas- $1 per person, up to $4 per vehicle
- There is no fee for picnicking.
Annual passes are available for purchase year-around and make a great gift for the holidays. Passes are valid for entry to Corps operated day-use parks nationwide. You may purchase them at the Corps of Engineers Field Office located next to Blakely Mountain Dam, Ruth’s Bait and Tackle at Twin Creek, Shangri-La Resort, Mountain Harbor Marina, or from a Lake Ouachita Park Ranger. Cost is $30.00 per pass ($15 with Senior Pass). Passes will be good for 12 months from date of purchase.
Annual Passes are valid for the following activities:
- Boat launching
- Day Use entry fees (where applicable)
America the Beautiful Pass:
The Senior Pass replaced the Golden Age Passport in January 2007. The pass is for citizens of the United States, who are 62 years of age or older. It provides access to, and use of, any Federal recreation site that charges an Entrance or Standard Amenity Fee, and provides a discount on some Expanded Amenity Fees. The Golden Access Passport has been replaced with the America the Beautiful Access Pass. The Access Pass is free of charge to customers with disabilities (proof of disability must be provided.)
Existing Golden Age and Golden Access Passports will be honored by the Corps of Engineers but no new passes will be issued. The Senior Pass/Access Pass is valid Corps-wide for half price discounts on the following activities: camping, swimming, boat launching, and annual pass purchases. The Senior Pass/Access Pass cannot be used for pavilion rentals.
***The America the Beautiful Annual Pass is NOT VALID at
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers facilities***
Passes can be obtained at the following locations near Lake Ouachita:
- Hot Springs National Park Visitor Center - Bathhouse Row
- U.S. Forest Service Supervisor’s Office - 100 Reserve Street
- Mount Ida Ranger District - Highway 270
- Jessieville Ranger District - Highway 7 N
America the Beautiful Website: http://store.usgs.gov/pass/index.html
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q. How much does an annual day use pass cost?
A. Cost is $30.
Q. For what period is an annual day use pass valid?
A. The annual pass is valid for one year from date of purchase.
Q. Do age- and disability-related discounts apply on annual day use passes?
A. Holders of either an Interagency Senior or Access Pass or Golden Age or Access Passport get a 50% discount on all use fees including the purchase of one annual pass.
Q. What do I do with it after I buy it?
A. The annual pass is a hangtag which is hung from the interior rear view mirror of the vehicle. Two decals, one displaying the month and the other displaying the year of purchase, will be affixed to the hangtag upon purchase. On open vehicles or vehicles with no interior rear view mirror, the decals may be affixed directly at an alternate location, such as the left front bumper or the back of the left exterior rear view mirror, rather than to the hangtag.
Q. What if I have more than one vehicle?
A. No duplicate passes will be sold because the hangtag may be used on any vehicle the pass holder owns. A visitor may purchase more than one Annual Day Use Pass at full price if desired.
Q. Where can I use the pass?
A. The pass is only valid at day use areas operated by the Corps of Engineers. It may not be used at areas operated by other agencies even if those areas are located on Corps-owned property.
Q. What if my pass is lost or stolen?
A. Annual Day Use Passes will be replaced at no cost with proof of theft, such as a police report or insurance document. Lost passes will not be replaced but another pass may be purchased.
Q. How many age- or disability-related discounted annual passes can be purchased by a single individual?
A. Only one pass may be purchased at the discount price. A visitor may purchase more than one Annual Day Use Pass at full price if desired.
Q. Can I use the America the Beautiful Annual Pass at Corps parks?
A. No – the America the Beautiful Annual Pass is not valid at Corps of Engineers facilities. Only Corps annual passes may be used.
Fishing is one of the most popular wildlife related activities in the south and Lake Ouachita’s 690 miles of shoreline and 40,000 acres of water create an excellent playground for both the experienced and novice angular. Although there is little natural cover in the top 1/3 of the lake due to tree clearing during construction, there are trees left standing in the lower portions of the lake, creating artificial reefs. Brush piles, drop-offs, submerged humps, and rock outcroppings in shallower areas are also found throughout the lake. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has developed a detailed Fisheries Management Plan for Lake Ouachita which includes habitat improvement and quality stocking techniques.
FLW fisherman, Scott Martin; photograph courtesy of FLW Outdoors/Brian Lindberg
The following fish species can be found in Lake Ouachita:
- Blue Catfish
- Channel Catfish
- Flathead Catfish
- Largemouth Bass
- Rainbow Trout
- Redear Sunfish
- Spotted Bass
- Striped Bass
- White Bass
Trout fishing below Blakely Dam is also popular. The cold water supports rainbow trout that are stocked in the river by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. Fishing guide services and bait shops are located near the lake and there are 10 marinas on the lake to assist in your fishing needs.
Information and Links
Hundreds of fishing tournaments are held each year at Lake Ouachita. A permit must be obtained in order to conduct a tournament on the lake. Contact the Lake Ouachita Field Office at (501) 767-2101 for more information.
-Fish Shelter Locations:
Google Map of all structures (zoomable)
Hunting Information and Restrictions
- Public hunting and trapping is permitted on Corps of Engineers property at Lake Ouachita, except in developed recreation areas, near the dam and associated structures, and any other locations marked as prohibited. Title 36 Code of Federal Regulations and Arkansas Game & Fish Commission hunting and fishing regulations apply.
- Permanent blinds, stands or other structures are prohibited on Corps property. The placement of nails or spikes into trees or the cutting of trees is prohibited. Duck blind permits can be obtained at the Lake Ouachita Field Office for $15.00.
- The possession of loaded firearms is prohibited within recreation areas.
- Posting of “No Hunting” signs, purple paint or hunting club signs on Corps property is prohibited. The interference of public hunting on Corps property by adjacent hunting leases is prohibited; however members of the public do not have permission to access Corps property across adjacent posted private property.
- Taking any vehicle around gates, or driving over or around established restrictions such as dirt berms is prohibited. The use of ATV’s on Corps property is prohibited.
- The boundary of Corps property is marked by yellow paint blazes on trees. “No Hunting” areas are marked by three red paint spots on trees and associated signage. Hunting maps are available at the Lake Ouachita Field Office by request.
The Lake Ouachita staff encourages all visitors to utilize safety precautions while participating in outdoor activities. Contact the Lake Ouachita Field Office for further information at 501-767-2101 or by mail at: 1424 Blakely Dam Rd, Royal, Arkansas 71968.
For further hunting information visit The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission at http://www.agfc.com/ or the USDA Forest Service Ouachita National Forest at
Scenic beauty and wildlife abound on the recreational trails surrounding Lake Ouachita. Numerous trails are located on Corps of Engineers property and on the Ouachita National Forest surrounding the lake. Hiking is a popular recreational activity at Lake Ouachita. There are also trails available for mountain biking. Whether you would like to spend an hour or a day in the woods and along the shoreline, there is a trail for you here.
Please protect and preserve plant and animal life so others may enjoy the beauty you have experienced. Some portions of a trail may pass near private land. It is the responsibility of each hiker to review the map and be alert for boundary signs to avoid trespassing.
The Lake Ouachita Vista Trail
Lake Ouachita Vista Trail is an un-surfaced hiking and mountain biking trail winding along the southern shore of Lake Ouachita. Developed by volunteers in cooperation with the US Army Corps of Engineers and the US Forest Service, the trail extends 44 miles from Denby Bay to Avery Recreation Area near Blakely Mountain Dam, connecting private resorts and public campgrounds . Parking is provided at each trailhead, and benches are placed along the trail for hikers to take a break.
For more information visit http://www.lakeouachitavistatrail.org/.
Corps of Engineers Trails
The Corps of Engineers maintains nature trails in Brady Mountain and Denby Point campgrounds. The Woodpecker Hollow Nature Trail and the Buckskin Nature Trail, both located in Denby Point Campground, are 0.5 miles in length and take approximately forty minutes to complete. Each is designed with markers along the trail that identify unique and common features of the area. Guide booklets are available that correspond with the trail markers. Remember to walk slowly and quietly for your best chance to view wildlife, and do not litter on the trail.
Watchable Wildlife ADA Trail
The Watchable Wildlife ADA Trail is a 1.25 mile handicapped accessible trail including a level paved area with benches and an ADA elevated walkway allowing users to access a wild wetland area at the south end of the Denby Bay Area located near the Lake Ouachita Vista Trail. The trailhead includes restrooms, parking, and an informational kiosk highlighting historical details of the trail and the lake. A fitness trail equipped with six outdoor exercise stations including ADA accessible equipment is located along the ADA trail. This trail was developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Denby Bay Coalition. For more information, please contact the Lake Ouachita Field Office at (501) 767-2101.
Ouachita Geo-Float Trail
The Geo-Float Trail at Lake Ouachita is unique - it is the first water-based interpretive trail to be designated as a National Recreation Trail. The self-guided boat tour takes you across the water of Lake Ouachita to some of the most unique geologic features in the world. The trail is a 16-mile (25.7 km) trip from the Spillway Recreation Area to Brady Mountain Recreation Area, and will take about 1 1/2 hours to complete. The time will vary depending on your boat's speed and the time you spend at each stop. Follow the map to the bright yellow buoys which mark specific stops along the route. For better understanding of the features, we suggest that you begin at Stop A and continue in alphabetical order. As the seasons change, so do the natural features of Lake Ouachita. During the fall and winter months it is easier to view the geologic features because the water level is low, but remember - low water levels can make boating hazardous because rocks, stumps, and other obstructions are closer to the surface and the bottom of your boat. Also watch the weather, the time of day, and the gas gauge. Safe boating will make your day more enjoyable. The float trip is a joint effort between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Arkansas Geologic Commission, and the U.S. Geological Survey.
Lake Ouachita State Park:
Two hiking trails are maintained at Lake Ouachita State Park, the 4-mile Caddo Bend Trail and the 0.5-mile Dogwood Trail. For more information visit the Lake Ouachita State Park at http://www.arkansasstateparks.com/lakeouachita/.
Ouachita National Forest:
Portions of the 192-mile Ouachita National Recreation Trail run just north of Lake Ouachita. For more information visit the U.S. Forest Service at http://www.fs.fed.us/r8/ouachita/index.shtml.
Hot Springs National Park:
Numerous trails are available within the Hot Springs National Park in downtown Hot Springs. For more information visit the National Park Service at http://www.nps.gov/hosp/.
Day Use Fee Program
At U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recreation areas, including day use parks and boat launching ramps, a day use fee of $3.00 will be assessed from recreation users launching boats and $1.00 per person/$4.00 per vehicle for beach use. In most cases, a self-deposit sealable envelope with detachable stub is used for payment of fees. After filling out the envelope, the day use visitor will detach the stub (making sure the date has been filled out) and display the stub on the interior rearview mirror of his/her vehicle. The day use pass authorizes the use of Corps of Engineers day use facilities for the date specified on the envelope and stub. The stub is invalid unless dated.
Click here for more info on all of our passes.
The mission of the Corps of Engineers Regulatory Program is to protect the Nation’s aquatic resources, while allowing reasonable development by federal, state and local agencies, special interest groups, and private citizens through a fair and balanced permit program. The Corps’ decision-making process considers the interests of all parties and results in decisions that are fair and equitable and that allow for the reasonable use of private property, business development and economic growth. At the same time, these decisions must neutralize the impacts of proposed work in order to protect the waters of the United States.
Click here for more info on our permits.
Welcome to the Vicksburg District's
Water Safety Page
YOUR SAFETY - OUR CONCERN
FACT: Water is the number one recreation attraction in America and swimming is ranked among the nation's top ten recreational activities.
FACT: America's first choice for water-based recreation is the Corps of Engineers. One out of every ten Americans will visit a Corps lake this year.
FACT: Drowning is the second leading cause of accidental deaths in the United States. The Corps of Engineers is dedicated to providing the safest environment possible for your recreation experience.
Did you know that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is the leading provider of outdoor recreation on all Federally-managed public lands in the United States? With a recreation base that is primarily built around water, the Corps has a dedicated focus on water safety and its' national water safety program was developed to assist park rangers in providing current information concerning water safety as well as providing innovative educational materials in support of their water safety programs. For an opportunity to view water safety materials available through a local Corps office, as well as water safety programming, or some useful downloadable information, visit the Corps National Water Safety homepage.
The Vicksburg District is a national leader in promoting water safety. Park rangers provide water safety education through classroom and community programs. They are most visible around the lake projects on beaches or at pavilions giving water safety demonstrations or showing visitors the correct way to wear a life jacket. Partnerships with local businesses have allowed park rangers to establish programs that promote water safety awareness such as the life jacket loaner program and flotation citations for visitors caught demonstrating good water safety practices.
Give-away items with water safety messages on them are a fun way for park rangers to reinforce the importance of practicing safety around the water. Many of these items are available to the public through the national water safety program and a local Corps office. However, many of the water safety give-away items are made available through local partnerships. Partnership involvement can be as simple as displaying water safety posters or brochures at your place of business, providing billboard space, or it may involve prizes, coupons or discounts provided as rewards for individuals caught practicing water safety. If you are interested in partnering with the Corps or you would like more information about partnering opportunities, visit the Corps Lakes Gateway or contact your local Corps office.
ONLINE WATER SAFETY INFORMATION &
GAMES & ACTIVITIES FOR CHILDREN
The Water Safety Adventures of Bobber the Water Safety Dog!
Water Safety Tips
FOLO Members Lft. To Rt.:
Top Row: Tom Butler, Al Gathright, Rick Stokes
Bottom Row: Jerry Shields, David Doty, Robert Cavanaugh, Arnold Habig
The Lake Ouachita Citizens Focus Committee (LOCFC) was established in 2001 and is sponsored by the Vicksburg District, U.S. Army Corps of engineers.
For its first three years, the LOCFC relied exclusively on staff support from the USACE and member financed activity to fulfill its mission. In 2005, the LOCFC decided to reactivate an Annual Lake Cleanup program that had been dormant for 13 years and accelerate a program designed to enhance recreational opportunities at Lake Ouachita. Both of these programs required a means of obtaining fiscal support that could be spent for specific programs. (All donations received by USACE operating units go directly to the US Treasury and are not available for donor specified activity.) The LOCFC programs could not be achieved without a mechanism for collecting and expending donations and grants.
As requested by the LOCFC, Friends of Lake Ouachita, Inc. (FOLO) was incorporated as a Public Benefit Corporation on August 18, 2005, pursuant to the Arkansas Nonprofit Corporation Act of 1993. During its second fiscal year FOLO received donations that exceeded the IRS “gross receipts test” and requested IRS recognition as a 501(c) (3) tax-exempt organization on April 5, 2007. Such “Recognition of Exemption” was obtained June 14, 2007 with an effective date of August 18, 2005. In addition to receiving donations to support Lake Cleanup programs and construction of the Lake Ouachita Vista Hiking/Biking Trail, FOLO helped coordinate funding for the construction of an American Disability compliant, Barrier Free Trail and a Watchable Wildlife Trail. Both of these trails are located adjacent to the Vista Trail.
FOLO’s fund raising is primarily project sensitive. Personal and telephone contacts, done primarily by LOCFC members, provide funding for Lakeshore and Island Cleanup campaigns. FOLO has received and continues to solicit foundation and government grants for trail construction, safety programs and fisheries enhancement. .
In addition to the 19 Recreation Areas provided by the USACE and an Arkansas State Park, nine commercial concessions (marinas, cabins and campgrounds) provide recreation opportunities at Lake Ouachita. USACE facilities alone account for approximately 4.2 million “visitor days” spent at the lake annually. Local businesses that cater to these visitors are keenly aware that well maintained lake areas and enhanced recreational opportunities induce people to frequent the Lake thereby creating economic incentives for each business to participate in current FOLO projects. Each visitor and each business is a potential FOLO donor. While FOLO will respond to all inquiries, general fund raising activities are conducted in the State of Arkansas, primarily in Garland and Montgomery Counties.
*Friends of Lake Ouachita Awards
LOCFC Members Lft. To Right:
Back Row: George Dooley, Tom Butler, David Doty, Jerry Shields
Middle Row: Al Gathright(Vice Chairman), Walt Sitter, Robert Cavanaugh, Rick Stokes(Chairman), Dan Watson
Front Row: Howard Wright, Bill Barnes, Jerry Williams, Arnold Habig
Members not in picture: Phillip Carr, Larry Raney, Mike Drake, Janice Vaughn
The Lake Ouachita Field Office is dedicated to providing quality customer care by exceeding our customers and stakeholders expectations. As visitation increases and budget and manpower decrease, this goal is increasingly difficult to attain. Partnership opportunities are paramount in helping meet our mission essential tasks. Partnerships are an important part of Lake Ouachita. The Corps of Engineers will continue to seek out partners who are dedicated to the conservation and preservation of one of Arkansas’ greatest natural resources, so future generations will continue to enjoy the beauty of Lake Ouachita.
Lake Ouachita Citizens Focus Committee
The Lake Ouachita Citizens Focus Committee (LOCFC) was established in 2001 and is sponsored by the Vicksburg District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The mission of the Lake Ouachita CFC is to review local discretionary initiatives and provide constructive feedback so as to enhance management of Lake Ouachita, benefiting the human and non-human populations whose quality of life depends upon the lake. The LOCFC and Lake Ouachita Field Office partnership has resulted in numerous positive changes that will benefit Lake Ouachita for years to come. Some of the initiatives undertaken by the Citizens Focus Committee include the Lake Ouachita Vista Trail, the Arkansas Marine Sanitation Act, aquatic vegetation control, and the Annual Lake Ouachita Cleanup.
The Lake Ouachita Vista Trail is an excellent example of what partnerships can do in creating an exponential multiplier affect through coordination and the managed use of funds. To date the following grants have been received:
- $57,000.00 National Recreation Trails in 2006 for the hiking/biking trail,
- $30,000.00 National Recreation Trails in 2006 for the ADA handicap accessible trail,
- $10,000.00 USACE “Handshake Partnership” in 2006,
- $25,000.00 USFS in 2007 for SCA team on the second leg of the LOViT,
- $150,000.00 AGFC in 2007 for the ADA Watchable Wildlife trail,
- $59,400.00 National Recreational Trails in 2008 for the LOViT and Hickory Nut Vista repair.
- $25,000.00 USACE Handshake Partnership in 2011
- $30,000.00 USACE Handshake Partnership in 2013
In-kind services amount to $353,420.00, including donations of $9,500.00 for memorial benches. Other donations include a $360,000.00 highway bridge donated by the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department to the Corps of Engineers for inclusion in the trail, 2,390 volunteer hours valued at $28,680.00, and $5,200.00 in matching funds from the Lake Ouachita Resort Owners, Mt. Ida Area Chamber of Commerce and Montgomery County Health Education Advisory Board.
To date the Friends of Lake Ouachita (FOLO), a 501.3.C non profit organization, has garnered $928,500.00 in grants, volunteer services, and in-kind donations for the planning and construction of the Lake Ouachita Vista Trail system.
For more information visit the Citizens Focus Committee website at http://www.mvk.usace.army.mil/Lakes/AR/ouachita/cfc/ and the Lake Ouachita Vista Trail at http://www.lakeouachitavistatrail.org/.
Denby Bay Coalition
The Denby Bay Coalition is a collaborative effort of Federal, State and local governments and interest groups who have joined forces to enhance recreation opportunities for all segments of the population. Denby Bay Development on Lake Ouachita is composed of multiple segments encompassing facilities for the visiting public. The overall development plan includes a kiosk for area information, ADA trail, ADA fishing pier, and an extended multi-use hiking trail.
In total, there are 14 cooperative partners and associations that plan, develop and furnish facilities, including the following government agencies:
- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
- U.S. Forest Service
- Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism
- Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
- Arkansas Department of Highway and Transportation
- Montgomery County
- City of Mount Ida
Service partners actively associated with this project include:
- Lake Ouachita Citizens Focus Committee
- Mount Ida Chamber of Commerce
- Lake Ouachita Commercial Concession Association
- Montgomery County Garden Club
- International Mountain Bike Association
- Ouachita Mountain Hiker’s Association
- Ozark Hiker’s Association
Each partner has agreed to support the project and provide contributing tangible value, with Montgomery County supporting the long term operations and maintenance costs for the overall project once completed. This project will not only provide extensive recreational opportunities for the visiting public but will also substantially enhance the Corps of Engineers’ recognition both locally and regionally through leveraging local resources for much needed facilities on Lake Ouachita.
Mountain Pine High School East Lab
The Corps of Engineers at Lake Ouachita is fortunate to be able to support the students of the Mountain Pine High School EAST Lab through the partnership with the Lake Ouachita Citizens Focus Committee. The EAST initiative is a national educational initiative focused on student-driven service projects using the latest in technology. EAST Lab students at Mountain Pine have assisted the LOCFC and the Corps with numerous projects, including fisheries management, water safety education,and GIS mapping of underwater obstructions in the lake.
Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
The Corps of Engineers works closely with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) for the preservation and enhancement of resources at Lake Ouachita. The agencies work diligently together on aquatic vegetation control and attempting to eliminate the problems caused by Brazilian Elodea, Eurasian Water Milfoil, and Hydrilla. The Game and Fish Commission has partnered with the Corps and the Denby Bay Coalition on funding construction of the Watchable Wildlife ADA Trail. The AGCF is also active in supporting Lake Ouachita’s water safety initiative. They were active partners in securing NASCAR Great Mark Martin's participation in a Water Safety Campaign
April 3-NIDEC Company Fishing Tournament @ Tompkins Bend
April 3-Park Mobile Cylinder Fishing Tournament @ Crystal Springs
April 4- Iron Man Fishing Tournament @ Brady Mountain
April 18-Project Pink-Hike for a Cure @ LOViT
April 18-19-American Bass Anglers Fishing Tournament @ Crystal Springs
April 25- Western AR Bass Anglers Fishing Tournament @ Tompkins Bend
May 2-Dassault Falcon Jet Fishing Tournament @ Joplin
May 2- 1st Annual Scott Suggs Bass Team Tournament @ Crystal Springs
May 9-Ninth Annual Perry Kilby Fishing Tournament @ Joplin
May 30-Rusty Hook Bass Club Fishing Tournament @ Crystal Springs
High Water Closures:
Due to heavy rains the Lake Ouachita Lake elevation has risen to 585.1 feet above sea level. With more rain predicted over the next several days, the following areas and campsites around Lake Ouachita have been closed until the water recedes to protect visitors from flood waters:
Closed As of 10:00 a.m., May 21, 2015:
Avant Recreation Area - Boat ramp and area being evaluated to determine how the high water conditions may affect the area.
Big Fir - Boat Ramp Closed; campsites are being evaluated to determine how the high water conditions may affect them.
Brady Mountain - Day Use Swim Beach and Swimming Area - Closed; Portions of the Corps' Boat Ramp Parking Area; Campsites 43-48, 50-54 Closed; Campground Beach, Swimming and Parking Area - Closed.
Buckville Boat Ramp - Closed, campsites are being evaluated to determine how the high water may affect them.
Cedar Fourche Recreation Area – Closed
Crystal Springs - Day Use Area, to include both pavilions, swim beach and swimming area; Campsites 23-68 Closed.
Denby Bay/Old Highway 270 - Old Highway 270 from Trail's End Driveway to LOViT Trailhead; Wildlife Watchable/ADA Elevated Trail and ADA Trail - Closed.
Ebone Point - Boat-in camping area closed due to high water.
Hwy 27 Recreation Area and Boat Ramp – Closed
Irons Fork - Recreation Area being evaluated to determine how the high water may affect the area.
Joplin - Campground Boat Ramp Closed; Corps Boat Ramp, adjacent to Mountain Harbor Resort Area, Closed; Campsites 15-17, 28-34, 38-40, 46-63 Closed.
Lake Ouachita State Park - Both swimming areas are closed and the Three Sisters Springs site is closed to the public.
Lena Landing - Entrance Road to Lena Landing Boat Ramp, Lena Landing Campground and Harbor View Circle (Marina Area) closed, roadway Barricaded.
Little Fir - Recreation Area Closed to include the boat ramp.
Rabbit Tail - Recreation Area being evaluated to determine how the high water may affect the area.
Tompkins Bend - Campsites 17-30, 59, 61-63, 65-66, 74-77.
Twin Creek - Recreation Area Closed and roadway barricaded.
Washita - Boat Ramp roadway barricaded to warn visitors of high water conditions.
(Additional areas may be added if rain exceeds current predictions.)
All other campsites are open for camping at this time, and reservations can be made online @ www.recreation.gov, or by calling 1-877-444-6777.
The Lake Ouachita U.S. Army Corps of Engineers urges boaters to take extra safety measures due to rapidly rising lake levels and large amounts of debris that has washed into the lake after heavy rain and wind damage from a series of storms that passed through the Lake Ouachita area . As a result of heavy rains in the state, the current Lake Ouachita Lake elevation is 582.93 feet above sea level, and rising. The rapidly rising lake level causes debris and downed trees to dislodge and be carried into the lake by strong currents produced by inflow of water. This floating debris may be difficult to see and is potentially very hazardous to unsuspecting boaters. Boaters are asked to use extreme caution while boating on the lake while these debris fields are present. The best advice for boaters venturing out on the Arkansas lakes is to slow down, wear your lifejacket at all times, wear your kill switch, and keep a vigilant lookout for water hazards. Also remember, that although the weather is getting warmer, the rain-cooled water is still very cold. Cold water immersion can result in hypothermia. A mishap resulting in a fall overboard could end in tragedy unless you are wearing a lifejacket. Boating at night is discouraged due to low visibility combined with water hazards from the storms. If you are boating at night, leave a float plan with family members or friends, ensure all lights are working on the boat, and carry a fully charged cell phone or marine band radio to call for assistance. Most importantly, always wear your lifejacket!! For more information on Lake Ouachita, please contact the Lake Ouachita Field Office @ 501-767-2108, or visit our website @ http://J.mp/lakeouachita.
Fish Consumption Advisory Issued for Lake Ouachita
( Click links below for more information on advisory)
Fish Consumption Advisory Issued for Lake Ouachita-news release.pdf
Fish Consumption Notice
Fish Consumption Advisory QA.pdf
New : Pavilion and Group Camping Reservations Made Through Recreation.Gov
Beginning May 1, 2015 visitors to Lake Ouachita will now be able to reserve Brady Mountain and Crystal Springs Day Use pavilions online through National Recreation Reservation Service (NRRS) at recreation.gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777. The reservation period for these facilities through NRRS will be handled from May 1st-September 8th. You may reserve these facilities 12 months in advance. Also, Crystal Springs Group Camping Area D (4 campsites) and Denby Point Group Camping Areas A (6 campsites) & B (7 campsites) are reservable for this time period as well. You may reserve these facilities 6 months in advance. For reservations on either of these pavilions or group camping areas from September 9th-April 30th, contact the Lake Ouachita Field Office at 501-767-2101 to inquire about the availability.