reasons to visit blue mountain lake arkansas

9 Reasons to Visit Blue Mountain Lake Arkansas

Blue Mountain Lake is a true gem in Arkansas.

Blue Mountain Lake is located in the shadow of Mt. Magazine, Arkansas’s highest mountain. Blue Mountain Lake has offered many recreational opportunities since its completion in 1947. -source

Whether you want to fish, swim, ski, or just sit around the campfire, Blue Mountain Lake is the place for you.

Don’t miss Blue Mountain Lake, AR!

For this article, I interviewed Mr. Willard who worked at Blue Mountain Lake for 34 years as a Park Ranger, Park Manager, and Operations Project Manager. You will find his excellent insider information below!

1. Excellent Campgrounds at Blue Mountain Lake

There are two very nice campgrounds – Waveland Park and Outlet Area Park.

Waveland Park is located just upstream from Blue Mountain Dam and has 51 designated campsites.

Outlet Area Park is located on the Petit Jean River immediately downstream of Blue Mountain Dam and has 38 designated campsites.

All of the campsites have electrical outlets (some with 50 Amp. service) and water. Both parks have paved trailer pads, shady playgrounds, restrooms with shower facilities, and sanitary dump stations for trailers.

Waveland Park has boat launching ramps and a swim beach. Waveland Park, while offering abundant lake fishing opportunities, is known more for swimming, boating, and skiing.

Outlet Area Park is known more for bank fishing.

They are both very nice parks.

Blue Mountain Lake Arkansas Overlook
Opal James Memorial Overlook at Blue Mountain Lake. Photo by Scutter/Flicker

2. Beautiful Hike-in/Primitive Camp Areas

There are several primitive camping areas on the lake. A permit is required to camp there. It can be downloaded from the Blue Mountain Lake website or obtained from a Park Ranger.

Download a Primitive Camping Permit here.

“Bring your primitive camping permit to the Blue Mountain Lake Field Office before going camping. You may camp for up to 14 days. After that time, your permit will expire, but you can request an extention.”

3. Great Blue Mountain Lake Hiking Trails

There are not any improved hiking trails on the lake but many areas would provide enjoyable safe areas to hike and bike.

Mount Magazine State Park is only about 30 minutes away from Blue Mountain Lake and offers many hiking opportunities, with twelve trails ranging in difficulty from easy to strenuous.

Mount Magazine State Park
16878 AR-309
Paris, AR 72855
Official Website

4. Fun Boating at Blue Mountain Lake

“There are eight boat launching ramps available. Launch ramps are available in Waveland Park, Ashley Creek Park, Lick Creek Park, and Hise Hill Park.” –source

Day use fees may apply. You may pay the day use fee each time you visit or (if you plan on visiting often) you may purchase an annual day use pass.

5. Cabins near Blue Mountain Lake

Unfortunately, there are not cabin rentals on Blue Mountain Lake. However, there are several nearby cabins/cottages that can be found on

6. Unique things to see and do at Blue Mountain Lake

Blue Mountain Lake is one of the most beautiful lakes in Arkansas. Mt. Magazine, the highest mountain in the state, is located just a few miles north of the lake. Its shadowy brow overlooks the lake and provides stunning vistas from which you can see the lake and the Petit River Valley, along with the Ouachita Mountains south of the lake.

Blue Mountain Lake Arkansas Dam Spillway
Blue Mountain Lake spillway. Photo by Scutter/Flickr

Blue Mountain Lake is on the Petit Jean River in west central Arkansas. Water is released from the lake downstream through a 20’ diameter concrete tunnel which is constructed through a mountain ridge just south of the dam. Water discharge from the tunnel in the Outlet Area Park is an amazing thing to see.

Blue Mountain Lake Arkansas Spillway
Blue Mountain Lake Spillway. Photo by Scutter/Flickr

7. Great Fishing at Blue Mountain Lake

Blue Mountain Lake is an excellent place for catching white bass, bream, crappie, and catfish.

Whether you want to fish from the shore or bring your boat, Blue Mountain Lake has great fishing spots for all anglers.

You will also love: AMAZING Fishing in Arkansas

8. Awesome Swimming Beach

Waveland Park has a designated swimming beach. You may also be surprised to learn that the park has a life jacket loaning station located at the beach! They make it easy to stay safe. Just borrow a life jacket, use it all day, and bring it back when you are finished swimming.

9. Blue Mountain Lake Insider Tips

“I worked at Blue Mountain Lake for 34 years as a Park Ranger, Park Manager, and Operations Project Manager (over both Nimrod and Blue Mountain Lakes). I married while I was there; my wife and I had our three children while I was there; and so much of my life is connected to the area. Blue Mountain Lake will always be like home to me.

Blue Mountain Lake is an amazing place to visit – whether camping, picnicking, boating or swimming, or just relaxing. It’s located in a rural area just two miles southwest of Waveland, Arkansas in Yell County. It is easy to get to and easy to get around in. There are so many return visitors each and every year because of the popularity of the lake. Fishing is good there and visitors are not swarmed with crowds. I highly recommend it as a great place to participate in outdoor recreation activities. Just come and relax at Blue Mountain Lake.

Blue Mountain Dam Information
Blue Mountain Dam Information. Photo by Scutter/Flickr

Blue Mountain Lake Arkansas Directions

Directions: From Fort Smith, 50 miles east on AR 10.

Blue Mountain Lake
10152 Outlet Park Road
Havana, AR 72842

Plan your trip today!

I would like to say a special thank you to Mr. Hoover for taking the time to fill us in on all the details about the wonderful Blue Mountain Lake. It’s definitely a “don’t miss” place to visit in Arkansas!

Hoover has been married to Mary for 37 years. They have three children, Emily, Jonathan, and David. Emily is married to Adler and they have twin boys, Evan and Caleb. They are expecting their third child in July. Jonathan is married to Christa and they have a son, Jackson. David works for the Corps of Engineers in Little Rock.

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