Hiking Arkansas: Lake Fort Smith State Park

Our family recently took a day-trip down to Lake Fort Smith, which is a 40 minute drive from our hometown of Fayetteville, Arkansas. We enjoyed the scenic route down Highway 49 through the Boston Mountains. The drive lulled our youngest into a nap.

Lake Fort Smith Visitor Center

When we arrived at Lake Fort Smith State Park, my husband offered to sit with her for a few extra minutes while I took my 5-year-old into the Visitor Center. She loved the educational exhibits about American pioneers.

Covered wagon exhibit at Lake Fort Smith Visitor Center
Covered wagon exhibit at the Lake Fort Smith Visitor Center
Lake Fort Smith Visitor Center
Bird watching at the Lake Fort Smith Visitor Center

From the back of the Visitor Center you can see Lake Fort Smith and the day-use areas that include a nice playground, several picnic pavilions, and the marina where you can rent canoes and fishing boats.

Day use amenities at Lake Fort Smith State Park in Arkansas

ozark highlands trail

Next to the Visitor Center there is an entrance onto the Ozark Highlands Trail. The entire trail is 253 miles long!

Ozark Highlands Trail

As we hiked along the trail, we could see several of the campgrounds that are available within the park. We were impressed by how many people were camping early in the season. Cabins and group lodging options are also available.

Family friendly hiking trail at Lake Fort Smith

This section of the trail was easy enough for our 3 and 5-year-olds to hike mostly on their own.

Hiking trail at Lake Fort Smith State Park

We enjoyed the tall pine trees and views of the lake.

Hiking in Northwest Arkansas

The girls found a couple of boulders along the trail that made great spots for snack breaks.

Hiking Arkansas

The trail crossed over several streams that fed into the lake.

waterfall lake fort smith state park

We hiked to a small waterfall which was about 1 mile from our starting point. We turned around after viewing the falls and returned on the same path.

waterfall along Ozark Highlands Trail in Lake Fort Smith State Park, Arkansas
Waterfall on Ozark Highlands Trail
Lake Fort Smith State Park - Arkansas
Lake Fort Smith in Arkansas

I’m glad we got the opportunity to go to Lake Fort Smith for the first time. We were impressed with the Visitor Center, Ozark Highland Trail, and the camping amenities. We look forward to returning when the weather is warmer, so we can rent a canoe and have a picnic by the lake.

Great american cleanup

If you are looking for a fun way to support the state parks, Saturday, March 21, 2020 volunteers can meet at Lake Fort Smith Visitor Center from 9am – 12pm to help clean up litter. Free t-shirts and hot dogs will be given out (while supplies last) plus a door prize will be given out. Click here to learn more about how to participate.