Visitors enjoy the peaceful setting of this campground located within three miles of several trail systems, including Horsethief and Billy Creek Trails. The Mountain-top Trail has a one-mile loop and a two-mile loop adjacent to the campground. The 192-mile Ouachita National Recreation Trail passes the campground as it extends from Talimena State Park in Oklahoma to Pinnacle Mountain State Park in Arkansas.
This campground is one of many attractions along the Talimena Scenic Byway, a 54-mile highway winding along the crests of Winding Stair and Rich Mountains.
Emerald Vista, north of this campground, boasts a birds-eye view of the Ouachita National Forest from atop the Scenic Byway. Picnic tables are available.
A backpacker’s camp, located about 300 feet west of the main campground, is open year-round. Facilities include five tent pads, table, fire ring, lantern poles and pit toilet.
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.
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!
A must visit! Stunning views of pines and mountains. No reservations, fire rings and picnic tables on every site. A couple trails within walking distance. No firewood or ice available to purchase on site.
My boyfriend and I took our first backpacking trip in the Ouachitas, and stayed at this campground. We absolutely LOVED it. The views are spectacular, lots of wildlife, all the wildflowers were blooming, and it was so quiet. The stars were amazing. No complaints, would do it all over again if we still lived there.
Just make sure if you do go camping, get out on some trails. You won't regret it.
This is a beautiful place to camp along the Talimena drive. You are up on top of the Ouachita Mountains and there are beautiful views. This campground was very quiet when we stayed, not a lot of people were here. There is a restroom at this campground. Lots of great hiking nearby.