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This place was pretty busy the weekend we camped here but we booked early and found a spot away from others. The water is brown but nice and cold for the summer so we couldn’t complain! We got some rain which sucks but we never let a little rain ruin our camping adventures. Would definitely come back to check out the cabins and camp again!
Of the 23 campsites, we choose #1. A single campsite that we doubled up in. One of our group of 4 arrived early last Friday morning and our campers all were there by 5pm. We had enough room four 3 vehicles and one trailer. It was pretty foggy for the entire trip so I am sure that the Emerald Vista view would have offered a bit of wow, but nevertheless we found time to enjoy our company.
On Saturday we found ourselves on the 2.5 mile Mountain Trail Loop. The beautiful hike heads out of the camp, around the mountain to a rocky vista which probably has a cool view (again…foggy) and then back on the opposite side of the highway (which is almost always in earshot from the trail but not intrusive) to the campsite. From both the turnback point, and the beginning of the trail are opportunities to hope on the much larger Ouachita Trail.
Back to the campsite. A circular campsite with 2 human dropping stations. I didn't see any water, but we never looked. Almost every type of camper type was there, from RVs down to single tents. The high temp for the weekend was about 56 and the place was packed solid.
Payment is via a pay station as you come in. The ranger will come around in the morning some time and check your stubs. We paid $8 per night for a single camp site.
We spent 3 nights in a campground on loop C and loved it (we have 4 boys under 12). There is a picturesque babbling creek that runs by most of the campsites, and we could have spent at least a couple days just exploring up and down the creek. There’s generally enough firewood around. Some of the sites are a little close together and most just have one tent pad, so with a bigger group (ie 2-3 tents) you’ll need a double site or just get two.
Lake swimming is super simple but we enjoyed it. There’s a dock a little way out from the shore to swim to and jump off of. The bottom is covered with leaves, but hey, it’s a lake. There are decent trails right around the park for hiking, but also many other great options within an hour from the site.
We loved it, will be back.
Oh - no cell service. You can decide whether that is a good thing or not (I loved it). If you’re really desperate, you can drive 5 mins down the road and get a signal.
Love this camping spot!! Right next/near the Cossatot river/ rapids with easy access spot. Wish I could say the same thing about the gravel logging road in ! O.o OH MY LORT!! It will test your suspension!! There are only 6 “pull up to” camp sites, and a couple “hike” to. The campsites are gravel and good luck putting your tent spikes in!! Ain’t gonna happen…. there is NO water except what you bring with you or if you pull some from the river. The “bathroom” is your basic (pit) out-house, so bring ya “Poo-pourri!! Awesome hiking trail! So all and all we will be back even if we have to drive that dang logging road again!!
On a whim, I reserved a site driving from Tennessee to Texas. Had to book through the recreation.gov app, which does not give you a good idea of what is booked or not. However, after getting here, there was NOBODY around. I would guess that this beautiful park has 60 or more sites? Maybe 10 of them had campers, so there was absolute quiet and darkness where we were. It was great! There is a discreet dump station on the loop. The lake was gorgeous, we walked in the evening to see lots of bats catching bugs. We could not have asked for a better experience. We had power and water hookups on our very level site. All the pads look well leveled. The park was well manicured and clean. VERY steep grades to get in and out of the area. Would definitely return. Wish I had taken more pictures for you all.
We took our first trip there Oct 4 & 5 2020 and really enjoyed it. The drive to the park is wonderful with great spots to take in the views as you drive to the top. We even spotted a bald eagle at one stop.
The Lodge is very modern and the welcoming staff were very polite and helpful. We asked if a 15amp site for tent camping was available but they had to move us after determining that they didn't give us a site with a pad. There aren't many tent sites at all, especially with electric/water and only 5 primitive and 1 walk-in.
Due to COVID many activities weren't available but we did enjoy one trail. The restaurant wasn't that great but it served the purpose for one of our meals. I would still go back and recommend to friends or family.
I stopped at beautiful lake in May of 2020 while on my bikepacking tour across Oklahoma. I stayed 2 nights in one of the Northwest sights. Hardly any people, but it was in the middle of the week. I stayed in a tent… the grounds were awesome and the full bathroom/showers were spotless. Very well kept However, I noticed within a few hours of setting up camp that roaches started invading my gear. By the end of my second night, I saw more than 10 roaches in various spots in and out of my gear. I even found one packed into one of my bike bags when I got home… dead, luckily. My other complaint is that the noise from neighbors was allowed to go on… only ended by them going to sleep around 2am. They have a noise ordnance clearly posted with a time limit… while the rangers drove through the park regularly, the noise ordinance was not enforced. The other parties besides me we’re all together as a large group, so if I complained, they would’ve known it was me, so I didn’t say anything. I probably should have just asked to be moved
A great campsite, one of the best in Oklahoma in fact. some sites are large enough for small trailers. But with no electric or water hookups at the sites (there is community water) they are limited to “the right folks ;)” Tent camping is fantastic too of course. Even better. It’s a no reservations campground which is nice but be prepared to dispersed camp in the National Forest if needed on popular weekends. The fall color is stunning. Campfire rings, grills and tables at each campsite. Standard NFS fair.
The trails are what really shines here. The Ouachita National Recreation Trail passes by the camp and ties you into hundreds of miles of adventure.
During the summer the trail can be a little hard to follow. Fall too if the leaf fall is heavy. But watch for blue blazes on the trees and you are good. A great set of volunteers keep this trail system in great shape!
If interested in the entire trail, Ike even just an overnight there is a great guidebook out there by Tim Ernst. Super details with great mileage records and maps.
Lots of 4wd fun around too if you look in the right place!
This is a hands down favorite in the late spring and mid fall. Check it out for sure!