We stayed at Petit Jean State Park during the week of Thanksgiving. It’s a popular place, so very busy, but all the campers around us were very courteous, friendly, and obeyed quiet time rules. The sites (we were in a tent in Loop C) were spacious and clean, as were the bathhouses. The Visitor’s Center/Registration was well-stocked and staff was efficient and welcoming. We ate dinner at Mather’s Lodge-the food was mediocre but service was great.
I was so excited to stay here based on this being voted as one of the best state parks in this region. The reviews were spot on about the hiking and other amenities. This park is charming right down to its CCC roots. During my stay the new park visitor’s center was being built and it looks to be a lovely addition.
What I was surprised to discover was my disappointing campground experience. I picked my campsite early and carefully and was hoping to have a quieter experience since I decided to avoid the swankier lakeside full hook up sites. I was wrong. Unfortunately, the park allowed a group of tent campers to camp in sites that were not in the group campground. There were 4 tents per site, some of which were camped on the ground right near the restrooms. 2 campers per tent x 4 per site x at least 6 sites. Well I’ll spare you the math, but Campground D literally turned into a church camp complete with air horns blasting to alert the camper kiddos that it was time to eat, shower, wake up etc. Nothing against church camps. Just saying Campground D is not a group campsite! Thankfully, I spent most of my time hiking and biking. So I was away from the campground a majority of my stay.
Site 98 was located adjacent to public property and backed up to the gravel road that serviced the neighborhood. There was a street light that illuminated the road and this didn’t add to the ambiance. All said, the campground didn’t really afford the experience I was hoping for. However, the hiking trails did not disappoint! As many previous reviewers have mentioned, hiking here is awesome. I definitely recommend the Bear Cave trail and the Cedar Falls trail.
Grabbing a bite at the Lodge is recommended too. The food was good and the view was outstanding!
I’d go back, but I would choose Campground A, pay more and stay right on the lake. The sites are nicely spaced and I think the cost of full hook ups might deter a large group of tent campers from overtaking the campground. Again, nothing against tent campers or church camps. I just thought this is why parks have group campgrounds. I’d prefer not to repeat the group tent camping situation and air horns I ran into on my visit to campground D.
Stayed four nights. The slots were dispersed well and wooded. All the trees make it hard to back in. Also, my slot was on a hill, and we arrived after dark so I had to back a 30 foot trailer up a hill in the dark avoiding trees but if three 21 year old girls can do it it’s possible. The other sites weren’t as bad, it’s hit or miss really. There were three areas, A B and C. They are divided by class, one is for bigger rigs and is right on the water near the dump station. All the slots are near the lake. There are wonderful trails and waterfalls to find. Pet friendly, good variety of trails with varying levels of accessibility, one even accommodates wheelchairs. There are two shower houses on each end of the park. There are hookups with or without sewage.
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.
Located on Lake Catherine in Hot Springs, AR. This privately owned campground has it all: level paved camping pads, 30/50 amp electrical hookups, sewer, cable, picnic tables, fire rings and grilling stations. Several sites are located right on the waterfront of Lake Catherine. They have some of the nicest showers/bathrooms I’ve ever seen in a park! Lake access, water toy rentals, swimming pool, and a zip line! Easy access to downtown Hot Springs. Not many mature trees and campsites are close, but large size to accommodate any sized rigs. We enjoyed our stay there.
Maumelle was full of RVs. I think we were the only tent-only campers. Being a Saturday night, it felt like a lot of locals and the mood was pretty lively. Our site was right on the river, pretty spacious, but not very private. There was no wood for sale, but our ring had leftovers, plus hot ashes- boo! RVs pretty much had string lights and music, but no generator noise since there is electricity. No-see-ums were bad once the sun starts to go. Bathrooms were clean, not covered in bugs, but short on TP. No soap. It seemed like there may have been a smelly, leach-field of some sort nearby. I think this is a convenient and nice spot, but you really have to be prepared and accepting of the openness and RVs. The host was very nice and proud of the park.
Good WiFi. Clean facilities. 10 min from everything. We chose this vs the National Park just down the road because of showers for a few $ more… Also, no cell signal at the park, but here it was fine. Great food and beverages in Hot Springs
I tent camped at site 61 in 2015:
- We were pretty close to all the amenities and the campsite checkin/store
- There is a nice, flat tent pad
- Grill and fire ring were nice
- Paved driveup spot
- It wasn't very crowded; the two sites across from us filled up, but that was about it
I would 100% stay at this site again.
Our first time at Lake Catherine was great! We had an awesome water site and views of the lake! The campground was packed full. I typically like to have a little more privacy when we camp, but close neighbors are worth it at this park. The bathrooms have not been renovated yet like many other AR state Parks, but they were still nice and clean. The marina offers several rentals from boats, kayaks to paddle boards. We rented a few Jackson Kayaks (they are so nice!) for the day and paddled the right up to our campsite. We also kayaked to the waterfall and then took the actual hiking trail to the waterfall. Great time had by our camping group! (Sites 28 & 30)
Lake Catherine State Park was absolutely beautiful! Well priced with full hook ups, lots of space and beautiful views. Plus it's still plenty close to Hot Springs. Hiking was gorgeous but depending on which route you take it can be kind of long. The waterfall was beautiful and worth seeing.
Stayed at this KOA so we could spend some time in the city. It is what you’d expect from a campground beside the interstate. It was pretty full, there were sparse trees, and we could see everything our neighbors were doing. The bathrooms were very clean and the showers hot. The only downside was the traffic noise from the interstate, but that was to be expected.
Pros: This campground has it all- great creek, incredible hiking up and over into Hot Springs, nearby disc golf course that is the best we have seen, close to all the attractions, level asphalt pads, water and power (and i think also sewer?) privacy between sites (trees, bushes) great fire pit/with cooking grate AND a grill at our site (25 is awesome), bath house with sinks and toilets ONLY
Cons: you can’t stay forever, no showers
Pro tip: eat at Superior! Great brewery/restaurant, friendly staff!
This park is beautiful, wooded, many amenities. There are lakefront, lake view, and other sites. There are full hookup, electric and water only, and tent areas. There are cabins, a lodge, and an amphitheater. The lake is beautiful. There is plenty of wildlife, including deer, squirrels, and others. It is located near Hot Springs to the north, I 30 to the south. Garman Gardens is near. There seems to be a nice breeze most of the time. Our only problem was the water source was on the opposite side from the electric hookup.
This campground was pretty and it was clean. Arrive early because it is first come first serve and gets full. Sites are close together but overall I have no complaints. Apparently there is $10 primitive camping, but I did not see it and in the office where you pay (by machine) all I saw were $30 flat rate for all sites. So it’s quite expensive to tent camp here. No showers, but a relatively clean bathroom.
Love this spot! There is so much to do in this park, I love it. There is golf, disc golf, dog park, baseball and softball fields, cabins, archery, amusement park, and more! It’s very family friendly and pet friendly so everyone can enjoy the fun. It is very clean and fairly quiet. It also isn’t far from society and stores, so if anything is forgotten then it’s not a big deal to go grab something. I go to this park at least once a month and always find something new and fun.
I had an absolute blast while at Petit Jean State Park. I stayed at the Mather lodge and in one of the cabins both of which I loved staying in. The trails through out the park are all great hikes, even the less prominent paths are nice to explore. The hike down to Cedar Falls is absolutely fantastic and more than worth the trek. My favorite part of the park hands down has to be the multiple look out points you can find around the mountain. The views you can find along red bluff drive and at the gravesite are breathtaking. Petit Jean State park is fantastic and I can’t wait to go back.
We stayed in the yurts one time and it was nice but hot. Bring FANS. The yurt came with a canoe and life jackets. We loved that stay. My favorite stay is at the tent sites. We have stayed so many times. Several areas to hike with young children. Swimming pool available at a good price. The kids love the near by petting zoo. Lake available for fishing and boat rentals. Wonderful views all around one of my favorite spots.
We visit here often. The park is close to home. We camp, fish, hike, swim, canoe, and just hang out in the hammock. The park is kept well maintained. The rangers are awesome. The hold fishing derby’s for the young kids. The park fills up fast in the weekends and peak seasons. No complaints ever. The park has a nice new visitor center.
This small but beautiful campground nestled in the Gulpha Gorge sits along a creek with crystal clear water. Fall is probably the best time to visit, the leaves would be amazing!!!
In the summertime, I imagine families cooling off in the stream.
Restrooms are ok, bring your own toilet paper. Some sites are a bit close together for my taste.
Lake Catherine State Park, like all Arkansas state parks, is immaculately clean! Most RV sites have close access to the water and there are small stationary docks to park your boat.
A short trail leads you to a waterfall or take the longer trail for a fun hike through the woods. Swimming, fishing, boating and kayaking are all a part of the fun.
The cabins are rustic but well-appointed. All cabins have water views.
No matter the time of year, Lake Catherine State Park is a wonderful place to visit.