The Ozarks Highlands Trail is a strenuous 240-mile backpackers trail taking daring adventurers through the heart of the Ozarks deep in the Arkansas backcountry. At the western border of the Ozark National Forest, serving as the western terminus of the Ozarks Highlands Trail, is the Lake Fort Smith State Park, itself a beautiful gem of a state park offering recreational trails and lakeside camping to anyone who visits.
The Lake Fort Smith State Park offers all of the amenities that make camping an easy and enjoyable experience, even going insofar as to offer hot showers at the park’s heated bathhouse. There are 30 campsites—ten of which that include electricity and water hookups—in addition to ten cabins. If you want to give your dogs the full treatment, cabin number two is dog-friendly and serves as the only campsite or location within the park where you can allow your dog to be without a leash while indoors.
Otherwise, dogs are allowed in campsites and along hiking trails provided that they are on leashes at all times. Arkansas State Parks manages the Lake Fort Smith State Park. On-location park interpreters lead lake tours and offer guided nature hikes to visitors. Although some come to the park seeking water-sporting thrills, the park does not allow individuals to water-ski, stand-up paddleboard, or swim in the lake. Fishing and kayaking are allowed, with kayak rentals available at the park.
If you want to take your dog on a scenic hike, check out Sheperd Spring Trail or Warren Hill for easy-to-moderate hiking. Of course, you can always challenge yourself to hike along the Ozark Highlands Trail, but be sure not to get too far out without water and daylight! This state park has all the amenities and facilities that you could hope for, making it an ideal weekend getaway. Come and visit soon, the Lake Fort Smith State Park is sure to restore and rejuvenate you.