We camped at Village Creek State Park in the Crowley’s Ridge region of Arkansas over Labor Day weekend. We booked two class B RV sites - one for ourselves and one for my husband’s parents - in advance. On our way to camp we got a call informing us that they had accidentally deleted one reservation assuming it was a duplicate (same name), and that there were no longer two sites together in that loop. They offered to re-book us in the only section that still had side-by-side campsites available. Village Creek is a somewhat unique park in that has an Equestrian Camp offering with stables, exercise corrals, water, mounting blocks and the like available for those who would like to travel with their own horses. While it was not what we originally booked, staying in “Horse Camp” was really cool and different - a BIG hit with our kids. The park has over 30 miles of equestrian trails and is a popular destination for horse owners. While all of that made for really cool atmosphere, the sites themselves left a lot to be desired. It almost looks like major erosion has occurred since these sites were first built - at every site in this loop, the picnic table and fire ring are IN the woods, and often partway down a ravine, with lots of brush, branches and vines hanging around them. We tried to use the table and fire ring on our first night and abandoned it for the rest of the trip. Our inlaws’ table was in such a dangerous location that we couldn’t access it at all, and we quickly realized was a cozy home for copperheads. Our water hookup had a wasp nest inside it. All of these details made it hard to relax as we were constantly on our guard with our kids and dog. We checked out the other camping areas and they were in much better shape, recently renovated and with full hookups. The trails at Village Creek were BEAUTIFUL. There is a particularly stunning trail that includes one of the most well-preserved sections of the Trail of Tears. This made for both an lovely hike and a history lesson for our seven year old. The Crowley’s Ridge region of the state is home to unique geological formations, soil and plant life unlike anywhere else in Arkansas. The Big Ben Nature Trail offers a great opportunity to identify these unusual plant species and is a short, easy hike. However, erosion is a big issue on the ridge, and sections were somewhat washed out after recent heavy rains. There are two small lakes that are popular with anglers. A couple of boat ramps are available for fishing boat launch. There is a small swimming area for campers only, but this lake is not great for swimming as it is pretty muddy. Take lots of bug spray in summer, and maybe only consider horse camp if you HAVE a horse. It’s worth a walk through in the morning or late afternoon when riders are tacking up or returning from rides.
We camped at Buffalo Point on the Buffalo National River over a long weekend in early October and found it to be lovely. We towed our 27ft camper, and while the sites are somewhat compact, they are also quite pretty, and there was plenty of room for the two of us on this trip. When we return with our kids, we’d probably opt for a different site, but we loved the beautiful rock wall and terraced tent pad (which we used as a seating area) at our site. The Buffalo River itself is a national treasure and a jewel in the crown of our native Arkansas. The Buffalo Point site also offered great hiking trails, which we enjoyed. We particularly loved the Indian Rock House trail, which was a beautiful and moderately challenging 4 mile loop. Our Sunday was spent on a 10 mile float of the river, booked through Dirst Canoe Rental, located just outside the park. The rental and shuttle service was convenient and courteous, and the float itself was breathtakingly beautiful this time of year. Floating on a Sunday in early fall meant the river was not crowded at all - a totally different experience from the summer. Most park services were closed due to COVID, so I can’t comment on any of them, but we found it very simple to do everything we needed without assistance. Sites were easy to back into, though we did see that some are quite short - be sure to double check site length when booking!