One of the largest tributaries of the Mississippi is the Arkansas River that flows for over 1450 miles, originating from the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, and passing through Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas before uniting with the Mississippi River. The state has divided this humongous river into 17 locks and dams. Towards the south is the Murray Lock and Dam no. 7, in downtown Little Rock in Pulaski County.
The entire McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System is under the operation of the Army Corps of Engineers in Little Rock. This includes all the six recreation parks that surround the Murray Lock and Dam.
These parks contain a variety of fun opportunities for visitors to partake in and forget about the day-to-day grind for a while. The endless recreational possibilities include boating, kayaking, picnicking, hunting, fishing, and many other pastimes.
The parks also come with adequate facilities and amenities to make the stay comfortable for RV and tent campers. Lakeside views and a laid-back evening enjoying the scenery and wildlife is the ultimate recipe for an unforgettable outdoor getaway!
The six recreation sites at the Arkansas River that surround the Murray Lock and Dam are Bigelow Park, Cook's Landing Park, Maumelle Park, Palarm Creek Park, Big Dam Bridge, and La Harpe.
The road to get to Murray Lock and Dam is well-paved and follows major highways and roads. From Little Rock, you'll head west on AR-10.
Murray Lock and Dam are 28 minutes and 13.3 miles away from the Pinnacle Mountain State Park. The fastest route is via Pinnacle Valley Road to Cantrell Road. From there take the Foxhunt Trail, Rockwood Rd, Timberlake Dr, Overlook Dr, and Rebsamen Park Rd to arrive at your destination.
The Maumelle campground is about twenty minutes west of Murray Lock and Dam. The roads are all well-paved and allow easy access to campsites.
Maumelle Campground is located right along the Arkansas River.
The Maumelle Park at Arkansas River – Murray Lock and Dam allows you to spend a weekend and even a fortnight by the lakeside in one of the 128 RV campsites available. These campsites come paved, and with water and electric hookups.
Each campsite has a picnic table and a fire ring. Most of the campsites are right on the shoreline for a more rustic camping experience by the placid lake and river waters. Each site only allows eight guests.
The campground also has toilets and allows pets to accompany their owners. The campsites are all very spacious and shaded. If you missed bringing something, don’t fret, there is a grocery store nearby.
Maumelle Park is also scenic, with greenery and verdant hills rolling alongside the water's edge. It’s a dreamy place to cozy up during the summers and has a lot to offer. You can boat, fish, go birdwatching, or even picnic in its beautiful surroundings. If you are up for a challenge, there are many mountain trails down the road from here, at the Pinnacle Mountain State Park.
The campground also has eight large group picnic shelters which are ideal for large family gatherings and special occasions.
The Big Dam Bridge is an attraction all by itself. It’s a 4226-foot bridge and the longest one in North America. Big Dam Bridge is designated only for bicycle traffic and pedestrians who are willing to take on the 15 miles of scenic riverside trails on foot via the bridge. The bridge also connects 70,000 acres of land and several cities, counties, states, and even Federal Parks.
If you are ever in the mood for a scenic walk or an excellent bike ride, then this bridge in Little Rock is just the place. From the bridge, you can see the river valley, Pinnacle Mountain, Two Rivers Park, Emerald Park, and downtown, which also makes it a popular spot amongst photographers.
Lakeside picnicking at Murray Lock and Dam is an exquisite experience, and unlike any picnic you would ever have at your local park. All six sites have picnic areas for lakeside lunches and make for an excellent stopover for those looking to stretch their legs or relax after a long drive. Maumelle Park, Bigelow Park, and Cook’s Landing also have group picnic shelters. These shelters can be reserved year-round and are an excellent destination for family gatherings and enjoyable for the kids and pets.
A part of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System from the lip of the White River to Murray Lock and Dam lies in the Pine Bluff region of Arkansas. In this particular portion of the Arkansas Post Field Office, there is a vast area of 10,000 acres open to the public for hunting. Hunters are allowed to legally track and hunt wild turkey, waterfowl, quail, dove, squirrels, rabbits, deer, and ducks during hunting season.
Several hiking trails are also present at Murray Lock and Dam that take hikers along the shoreline and into the more wooded areas of the region, overlooking fantastic views of the surrounding landscape. Several unmarked trails start by the campground area and wander off into different regions of this vast and amazing place.
Cook’s Landing Park offers a fishing dock, and so does Maumelle. The lake is stocked with a variety of freshwater fish species, and more often than not, anglers go home with quite a catch. Make sure you carry your valid AR fishing license when fishing on the banks of the Arkansas River. There’s also a pavilion available for rent by the U.S. Crops for keener anglers.
Arkansas River has always been a popular destination for catching large-sized catfish, bream, smallmouth and spotted bass, as well as crappie throughout the year. Grab a boat, or secure a good spot on the dock and fish away!
Boating is one of the most popular recreational activities at Arkansas River – Murray Lock and Dam. The boat launch ramps are available at Cook’s Landing Park, Maumelle Park, Bigelow Park, and Palarm Creek. The rapid current and sometimes the lazy tide of the Arkansas River makes it exciting for all kinds of boaters.
You can also grab a boat and go further into the shallows to try your luck at angling. The water sports opportunities are endless. Four of the parks have boat ramps, which allows visitors to enjoy canoeing, kayaking, water skiing, and many other water sports and the thrill that comes with it. This is also an excellent place for honing your sailing skills as water tides are different in different lakes.