To contact the park: 501-844-4176
Nestled in the natural beauty of the Ouachita Mountains on 1,940-acre Lake Catherine, one of the five popular Diamond Lakes in west central Arkansas, Lake Catherine State Park features many CCC/Rustic-style facilities constructed of native stone and wood by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the 1930s.
Situated along the lakeshore, the park's 20 cabins feature fully-equipped kitchens. All but one feature one-bedroom. Most have wood-burning fireplaces.
The park's two-bedroom cabin, the Polly Crews Cabin, was designed to be fully-accessible to serve the needs of visitors with disabilities. The cabin also includes its own private and fully-accessible fishing pier and boat dock. This 1,160-square-foot cabin which opened in 2004 features a design inspired by the rustic architectural designs of the park's five, historic CCC-built cabins. An accessible parking space and path provide barrier-free access to the cabin. The bathroom offers both a spa tub and a roll-in shower. Just outside the cabin's screened porch is a large flagstone patio overlooking the lake. The patio includes a picnic table and pedestal grill.
In early September 2010, more overnight accommodations opened in the park. The park's 1930s, CCC Fisherman's Barrack was restored to create two rustic, studio duplex cabins that each include a kitchenette. The barrack's screened porch rests on treated pine pilings over Lake Catherine at the mouth of Slunger Creek where it meets the lake. The cabins' private setting on Slunger Bay and shoreline setting combine to make these a special cabin getaways on Lake Catherine. For details on these studio, duplex cabins, visit: http://www.arkansasstateparks.com/news/for-media/display.aspx?id=1566.
Sixty-eight campsites and two Rent-A-Camp sites offer lake views and woodland views. Two of the park's campgrounds underwent recent total renovations. Improvements encompassed 32 campsites in Camping Area “C,” an area that stretches along the shore of Lake Catherine and includes many lakeside sites. In Camping Area “A,” located on a hillside nearby, a total of 12 campsites were renovated. Campground improvements include new roads, utility distribution systems and the parking pads and utilities at each campsite. Most of the parking pads are now 60 feet long or longer. Classified as Class AAA sites, each one is a pull-in or back-in campsite featuring water and sewer hookups plus combined electrical for 20 amp, 30 amp, and 50 amp connections. Each site includes a picnic table, grill, lantern hanger and tent pad. Additional vehicle parking is scattered throughout the camping areas. Campground improvements include two barrier-free campsites that are located adjacent to the two existing bathhouses. Both bathhouses now offer barrier-free access for visitors with disabilities.
The park's marina, open in summer only, sells bait and fuel. Rental boats are available throughout the year. The park features a launch ramp, standard pavilion, picnic sites, and playgrounds. Gifts, groceries, snacks and ice are available for sale daily at the visitor center that overlooks the swimming area and nature center (open during the summer only).
Hikers can choose from four trails in the park. Falls Branch Trail, Horseshoe Mountain Trail, and Dam Mountain Trail range from two-and-one- half miles to four miles in length. All three pass the park's picturesque waterfall on Falls Creek Falls. These mountain trails are representative of the terrain found here in the Ouachita Mountains, Arkansas's southernmost mountain range. On the Dam Mountain Trail, you can look down on Remmel Dam, built in 1924 on the Ouachita River, that creates 1,940-acre Lake Catherine. The trailhead for these three trails is near the campgrounds. The newest park trail, the five-eights-of-a-mile Hidden Creek Trail, is at the opposite end of the park and stretches alongside the bank of Slunger Creek near the entrance to the park. This concrete, barrie-free trail includes benches where you can relax and enjoy the sounds of the water flowing over rocks along this Ouachita Mountain creek.
Park interpreters offer guided hikes, boat tours and programs during summer, or by advance request in other seasons. Guided horseback trail rides are available during the summer months.
Just up Catherine Park Road (Ark. 171) from Lake Catherine State Park is Diamondhead, a private resort community also located on Lake Catherine. Diamondhead offers a golf course, snack bar, restaurant, and Olympic-size swimming pool that park visitors are welcome to enjoy, too. Diamondhead's golf course is an 18-hole, par 72 championship course with pro shop, snack bar, cart rentals, and a driving range.
Lake Catherine State Park is near both Hot Springs and Malvern. To reach the park from I-30, take Exit #97 near Malvern and go 12 miles north on Ark. 171 to the park.
For more information about Arkansas State Parks historic, heritage and cultural parks, go to: http://www.historystateparks.com/