Nestled between scenic pine and oak-clad mountains in the northeast corner of the Ouachita National Forest is Lake Sylvia Recreation Area. The serene 18-acre lake is noted for its swimming and fishing opportunities only 38 miles west of Little Rock. Printer-friendly guide to Lake Sylvia Recreation Area.
Campground was closed when I tried to stay. May be seasonal, may be weather related. No explanation.
Loop A $20 for full hookup, Loop B $15 for regular. Hot showers in A, cold in B; but you can use either. Be careful how close you are to the wash house in B; the halogen light outside humms all night. Camp host WILL make sure you follow the rules, including paying. Price seems a little steep for a forest service campground, and the price is the same all year(even during the slow season). Overall, seems well kept, nice amenities, but a little princely if you’re just looking to set your tent for the night. Also, the ouchita trail runs right next to the camp.
Clean little campground. Cost $15 a night. The campground host came to our site more than a couple times so quiet time was visiting time a few times…. we did great fishing with minnows.
Lake Sylvia recreation area offers a lot of fun and relaxation within an easy drive from Little Rock. We ate dinner in town at Izzy's on Highway 10, and got to the campground with enough time to set up before dark.
The primitive camping loop is especially attractive and not a single soul was utilizing it last weekend. Even those tent camping seemed to want access to the electrical outlets on the main loop. Or possibly the hot showers: the primitive sites have their own bathroom with lights and plumbing but the showers are not heated except in the main bathhouse among the hookups sites. The sites in the primitive loop are $5/night lower than the sites with water and electric.
The main camping loop is nice for small to medium campers. No Class A rigs here. Nobody claimed the campsite on either side, affording us plenty of privacy, and just a short walk to the bathhouse. We enjoyed the hiking trails around the lake, and hiking a short way up to the Ouachita Trail.
The swim beach is a great spot that is used as a day area. There are also fishing spots down the bank. The rules say that dogs are not permitted at the day use area, but we saw a couple of dogs with their owners and the ranger who drove by either didn’t notice or didn’t enforce it, I guess. Which isn’t a big deal, except that I wish they’d either enforce it or change the rules to match the practice. If it’s permitted I’d have brought my own dog to join in the fun instead of leaving it behind.
Several paces up a trail from the campground is a small amphitheater with a wooden stage. It looked like an awesome place to set up a portable projector for a movie night.
If this campground were open year round, I would give it five stars - with access to good hiking here (including the Ouachita Trail), it is a shame that the campground is closed in late fall and early spring. Its website even states that the best time to visit is Fall-Spring. Still a wonderful place to try; just make sure you check that it's open before you go.
We camped here for the weekend that we had a trail run scheduled in the area. The sites are first come first served which stinks because I don't want to drive the distance to find out there are no sites. The park hosts were extremely friendly and the bathrooms were very clean.
Make sure you go when the campgrounds are open - I've made that mistake too many times!
It's beautiful, with wonderful trails weaving through the pines. Make sure you hit the dam overlook, and jump off the dock. Wonderful campground, making me miss it just writing this review!