Tucked away in Northwest Arkansas, just outside of Fayetteville, is Withrow Springs State Park. The park offers many amenities including camping, swimming, picnicking canoeing, floating and hiking. Arkansas State Parks are free to use. A fee is charged for camping. At Withrow Springs State Park a fee is charged to use the swimming pool when it is open during the summer.
47 camping sites are located within Withrow Springs State Park. 30 of the sites are class AAA with 50 amp service. 17 sites are class B with 30 amp service. All sites have water and electric service. The class AAA sites have sewer hookups. Each of the 47 campsites is set up to accommodate 1 RV and 1 tent. A barrier free bathhouse is available for all campers to use. In season and winter rates are available. 2010 Winter rates are $21.00 per night for the class AAA sites and $13.50 per night for the class B sites. A dump station is available in the park.
The camping area is broken down into three separate areas, all are located along Arkansas Spur 23. As you enter the park, you come up to camping sites 6 through 17. These are just past the swimming pool, the fishing pond, and picnic area, almost directly across from the playground. A short trip down Arkansas Spur 23 brings you to campsites 1 through 5. Campsites 18 through 47 are a short distance down the road near the parking area for the Forest Trail.
There are several picnic shelters throughout the park. The small shelters and the enclosed Crossbow Shelter are available by reservation. A picnic area with tables is located near the fishing pond and playground area. When visiting the playground and fishing pond take time to check out the information plaque along the War Eagle Creek. Arkansas fishing regulations apply. A fishing license is required for anyone over the age of 15.
Boating and Floating
The best time for floating or canoeing in War Eagle Creek is from fall through early summer. Canoe and kayaks are available for rental at Withrow Springs Park. You can use your own floats or canoes if desired. Call ahead to check water levels.
War Eagle Trail
Hikers will enjoy the War Eagle Trail. It is named for the War Eagle Creek which parallels the trail for most of the hike. The creek varies in depth depending on the season.
War Eagle Trail is an easy trail. The one-mile trail is an out and back hike. It is ½ mile to the end of the trail and then another ½ mile hike back to the parking area. The trail starts to the left of the parking area which takes you along the creek and under the road. It is a fairly easy hike with a good view of the creek and farmland across the creek. About halfway into the trail, the path begins to ascend and wind up the bluff. As you make your way up the path, two caves come into view. Both caves are currently closed due to the threat of “White Nose Syndrome” in the bat population. Observe all posted signs. Three-quarters of the way along the trail is a wonderful scenic overlook. The overlook takes you out onto the bluff and the view is spectacular. It is a great place to stop and have a snack or lunch. Watch small children carefully as there are no barriers to keep them from falling off the ledge.
The Forest Trail is an easy 2 ½ mile hike on an out and back trail. Oak and hickory trees are the focal point of the hike. Nuts produced by the trees make this an ideal trail for nature photographers in the fall. Squirrels, deer and other small animals are easy to photograph as they feast on the forest’s bounty. The best way to access the Forest Trail is to park in the trail parking area across from camping areas 18 through 47. The trail starts with a short uphill set of stairs and proceeds through the forest out to County Road 8500 near the baseball fields.
The Dogwood Trail is the only loop trail in the park. The trailhead is located on Arkansas Highway 23 by the Crossbow Pavilion. Springtime is the ideal time to hike this ¾ mile trail. It is named for the Dogwood trees that are found along the trail. Although it is a short hike, there is some elevation change. The trail takes the hiker along the ridgeline. Springs and seepage create a humid microclimate where ferns and moss grow. Hiking the trail just after a good rain will offer the best views of the water features.
A day-long hike can be accomplished by combining the three trails. It encompasses the entire park. Plan for this hike by packing plenty of snacks and water. Don’t forget the camera. Park at the trailhead for the Forest Trail. Follow the Forest Trail to the end and follow County Road 8500 heading toward Arkansas Spur 23. Pass the swimming pool and fishing pond. You will see a sign for the Dogwood Trail in the camping area. Take the Dogwood trail loop out to Arkansas Highway 23 by the Crossbow Pavilion. Cross the road and pick up the War Eagle Trail. Take this to the end and double back where the Dogwood Trail enters the camping area. Leave the trail and follow Arkansas Spur 23 back to the Forest Trail Parking Area. Allow 8 hours to complete this loop.
Withrow Springs State Park offers visitors a chance to get away to a quite, pristine setting. The busiest time for camping is during the Bikes, Blues and Barbeque festival in September every year. Take the time to visit the park next time you are in Northwest Arkansas.
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