Southwest of Little Rock, Arkansas, lies Lake Catherine State Park. This oasis for RVers is surrounded by the Ouachita Mountains and the majestic waters of the 1,940-acre Lake Catherine. Loads of aquatic adventures await you on your RV vacation to Lake Catherine, with a full-service marina that provides boat rentals year-round. You can kayak or canoe with stunning views of forests and waterfalls. If you are looking for a great fishing spot during your trip to Arkansas, Lake Catherine is the perfect place.
Lake Catherine State Park offers 2,240 acres of untamed wilderness just waiting to be explored. You can hike or horseback ride on one of the four trails at the park. Stroll right next to an enchanting waterfall on the Falls Branch Trail or enjoy a fun-filled day of swimming and splashing in the waters of the swimming beach. Relax with a picnic in the serenity of nature with the convenience of picnic tables and grills. This tranquil state park is teeming with native wildlife from white-tailed deer to waterfowl.
This serene state park has been a hotspot for campers since 1935, when it was developed by the Civilian Conservation Corps. If you’re a history buff you can park your rig at the nature cabin, which features exhibits on the natural and cultural history of the park. Throughout the year, the park offers ranger programs from guided hikes to scenic lake cruises. If you plan your RV trip to Lake Catherine State Park in the summer months, you’ll enjoy sunny days in the 80s and 90s. The park is a great place to visit any time of year, though, since the winter usually only cools to the 40s or 50s.
RV Rentals in Lake Catherine State Park
Transportation in Lake Catherine State Park
Lake Catherine State Park is easy to access off of Highways 270, 290, and 171. The park is located close to Malvern and Hot Springs, in Hot Spring County. Local roads provide access to all the major attractions in the park, including the Nature Cabin, Visitor Center, Picnic Area, Marina, trailheads, and campgrounds. There are no driving restrictions on RVs or trailers inside the park.
Parking is available throughout the park including at the Visitor Center, Picnic Area, and Marina. If you are staying overnight you can park your rig at the campsites. The park gets busy during the summer months so parking for RVs and trailers may fill up quickly.
Campgrounds and parking in Lake Catherine State Park
Campsites in Lake Catherine State Park
Lake Catherine State Park Campground
The Lake Catherine State Park Campground offers 70 sites for tents and RVs that are divided into Camp A, B, and C. Some campsites are on the lakeside, offering convenient access for boating and fishing, while others offer shady sites in the forest. Amenities include restrooms, hot showers, picnic tables, fire rings, a dump station, and water connection. Some sites have water, sewer, and electric hookups, while others provide hookups to water and electricity. Campsites may be reserved up to one year in advance. Parking pad lengths may vary, but some are up to 60 feet in length.
There are no First-Come, First-Served campgrounds at Lake Catherine State Park.
If you prefer more luxurious accommodations you can park your rig nearby and stay in one of the park’s 20 fully-equipped cabins. These cabins are located among beautiful pines and hardwoods along the lake. Besides their scenic views, they provide heating, air conditioning, and housekeeping. Most of the units provide a fireplace to keep you warm during the winter. The largest cabin is ADA- accessible and features a screen porch, patio, a private pier, and boat slip. Five of the cabins are pet-friendly.
If you don’t want to lug all your camping gear in your trailer but want a change of pace, you can actually rent a camp at Lake Catherine State Park! The Rent-A-Camp includes a 9 x 12 tent with a wooden floor, grill, lantern, stove, and other camping equipment. It provides electrical hookup too. All you have to bring is your food and sleeping gear.
Another interesting way to stay at the park is to rent a yurt. You can park your camper on-site and stay in a yurt, which is a large round tent. The yurts contain bunk beds for six people, a stove, an ice chest, a table, chairs, and a decked floor. All you’d have to bring is food and personal amenities.
If you’d rather stay off-site there are plenty of private campgrounds and RV parks in the area. You can stay in nearby Hot Springs or Malvern. This is a nice option if you are looking for modern amenities, which may include wireless internet, cable TV, and swimming pools.
Seasonal activities in Lake Catherine State Park
Boating & Waterskiing
Lake Catherine State Park provides an abundance of opportunity for aquatic adventure. Whether you want to bring your motorized boat on a trailer or rent a paddle boat, you’ll be in a nature lover’s dream coasting across the majestic waters of Lake Catherine. Not only does the park have a full-service marina on-site, but you can also rent canoes, kayaks, and other non-motorized boats. You can also enjoy watersports like waterskiing along the dreamy shores of the lake during your escape to Arkansas.
Lake Catherine offers one of the most beautiful settings for swimming in all of Arkansas. You can swim and splash in the water at the swimming beach while enjoying marvelous views of forests and sunsets across the Ouachita Mountains. Once you’re done swimming, enjoy a relaxing picnic or let the kids play on the playground nearby.
You can choose from four beautiful trails to hike on during your RV trip to Lake Catherine. Three of the trails will take you through the mountains and pass the beautiful Falls Creek Falls, which is the park’s most picturesque waterfall. If you are looking for a longer route, try the Dam Mountain Trail, where you can look out across the majestic Remmel Dam. The Slunger Creek Nature Trail is the park’s newest trail, where you can sit on benches along the route and listen to water cascading down the rocks of the Ouachita Mountain Creek.
If you are interested in going horseback riding during your RV trip, you can ride along the trails next to the scenic Lake Catherine. During the summer months, you can take a guided horseback ride where you can ride past Falls Creek Fall and spot wildlife in the forests of the mountains. Horseback riding is an exciting way to experience the beauty of nature at this incredible state park.
Whether you want to fish from the shore or on a boat, Lake Catherine provides a wealth of opportunity for anglers. Take your fishing gear out of the camper and have the chance to catch catfish, walleye, bream, crappie, trout, and bass. You can also enjoy amazing views of the forests of the Ouachita Mountains from the lakeshore.
Guided Nature Hikes and Talks
If you want to learn more about Lake Catherine, you’ll love attending a nature talk or taking a guided nature hike along the trails. Once you park your rig and head out on the trail, you’ll learn about the incredible natural history and native wildlife in the park. One such hike will take you on the Horseshoe Mountain Trail, which is a 3-mile route along rocky ridges and quaint grassy knolls. These programs are regularly offered year-round.
One of the best ways to explore Lake Catherine up close and personal during your motorhome trip is to take a scenic guided lake cruise. This one-hour excursion will let you sit back and relax as you pass by the fascinating scenery of the Ouachita Mountains across the lake. These cruises are regularly offered during the spring, summer, and fall.
There are four historic cabins at Lake Catherine State Park that were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the early 20th century. While three of the cabins offer a chance for history buffs to step back in time, the remaining cabin is now called the Nature Cabin. The Nature Cabin, which was built in 1935, features exhibits where you can learn all about the natural history and cultural heritage of the park. You won’t want to miss the chance to visit the Nature Cabin during your RV stay at the park.
Lake Catherine State Park offers a majestic setting filled with waterways, waterfalls, mountains, and forests. This is the perfect spot to take a relaxing picnic during your RV trip to Arkansas. The picnic areas are located in the middle of the park, which provides picnic tables and grills for your use. A playground is conveniently located nearby.
Spring & Winter Hikes
Even during the colder months, you’ll love the chance to park your rig and explore this scenic state park on foot. If you’re looking for a moderate hike through the forest, trek along the 4.5-mile Dam Mountain Trail, which passes through hardwood forests, streams, and cascades. If you are looking for an easier, picturesque trail you’ll want to head out on the Slunger Creek Nature Trail, where you can gaze upon wildflowers bloom in the spring and frozen waterways in the winter.