Cane Creek State Park in Arkansas is at a geographic crossroads. If you drew a line between the gentle rolling hills of the Coastal Plain and the marshes of the MIssissippi Delta, that line would go through Cane Creek State Park. The diverse topography means that there is something for everyone in this charming 2,000-acre plus state park.
The park is situated on Bayou Bartholomew, which is the world’s longest bayou. So, most Cane Creek State Park visitors temporarily leave their motorhomes to enjoy fishing and other water sports. Because of the geographic confluence, wildlife viewing is very popular here as well. So is hiking.
You cannot truly experience beauty like this unless you are in an RV. Your rig combines the comforts of home with an outdoor camping experience. That’s a combination which is hard to beat. Furthermore, Cane Creek State Park has over two dozen RV parking spots with electrical and water hookups. Several of these sites are literally right on the edge of the water.
Cane Creek State Park is a stone’s throw from Star City, a charming little (and we do mean little) town in Lincoln County. To reach this area from Pine Bluff, RVers can take the Coastal Plain route or the Mississippi Delta route. The Coastal Plains route is a straight shot south on State Highway 530. Although it’s only a two-lane road, it is pretty wide, and there are very few steep hills. Or, you can drive your motorhome along U.S. Highway 425, which is the Mississippi Delta route. There are more curves in this road, but it is a well-maintained highway with good visibility and little traffic. Basically, you cannot go wrong either way.
Inside the park, there is ample large vehicle parking around the visitors’ center and bait shop. There is an almost Walmart-sized parking lot near the boat launch. Parking is also available near the fishing piers, Day Use pavilion, and hiking trail head.
The camping area, which is almost in the center of the park, has 29 RV parking spots. 11 have 50 amp electric hookups, 18 have 30 amp hookups, and all of them have water lines. The Cane Creek State Park campground also has a rental RV. The 30-foot vehicle sleeps six and has an eight-person dining area. It has a full range of appliances and electronics. Linens and food are basically the only things you need to bring. Each RV campsite has a picnic table, grill, and lantern post. Campground amenities include a dump station and a restroom and shower area.
Ever since the park opened in 1987, it has been known as one of the best warm water fishing spots in southern Arkansas. Winter, spring, summer, or fall, the fish are always biting here. In the winter and early spring while the water is cool, use minnows and other live bait to catch crappie. When the water warms up, the bass come out, especially in the middle of the lake. All year long, use strong-smelling bait, like stink bait or garlic, to attract catfish. One fishing pier is near the boat launch, and another fishing pier is in the isolated eastern corner of Cane Creek State Park.
Yes, it’s three things in one. The park offices are a cool stop if you want to see how things really run at an Arkansas state park. The visitors’ center also includes a registration/park ranger area and a gift shop. There are a number of exhibits here as well. They outline the cultural and natural history here. So, this is a good place to stop before you start exploring the park. The shop sells live bait as well as assorted fishing and camping supplies.
The spring and fall migratory seasons are an excellent time to see lots of different birds. Waterfowl and large birds of prey, like hawks and eagles, join the regular crowd of woodpeckers, herons, osprey, and kingfishers. If you see something new, report it at the visitors’ center, so that species can go on the list as well. In terms of land animals, look for deer, foxes, raccoons, and other forest critters along with snakes, frogs, beavers, turtles, and other bayou animals.
This part of the park pretty much has it all. The picnic area overlooks the tranquil lake. The tables have barbecue grills and drinking water spigots. Restroom facilities are a short walk away. The Day Use Area also includes two large pavilions. One is screened off and one is completely enclosed and climate-controlled. Both are outstanding for prepared parties or impromptu get-togethers. The Day Use Area also includes a large children’s play area that has an adult play area as well with horseshoe pits and a volleyball court. The hiking trail head is located here as well.
The two-and-a-half-mile nature trail is an easy to moderate hike through the Cane Creek State Park backcountry. “Easy” trails are basically unpaved sidewalks; “moderate” trails are a bit steep in some places, so hikers should wear hiking boots or other special shoes. The trail winds gently through the Coastal Plains and ends at a gorgeous lake overlook. If you’d prefer to take a mountain bike, bring your own or rent one at the visitors’ center. Lots of people bicycle along the park roads as well.
The friendly folks at the visitors’ center also rent kayaks. Explore the lake and bayou on your own, or join one of the ranger-guided kayak tours in the spring, summer, and fall. Kayaking lessons and intimate tours are also available. Canoes and fishing boats with trolling motors are welcome here as well. Dip in and out of the inlets along the shoreline or go out a little deeper into the bayou.