hike in camp areas in arkansas

6 BEST Hike-In Camp Areas in Arkansas

Sometimes you just want to get away from it all. You’re tired of the hustle and bustle of life and you just need a walk in nature. A hike, a night under the stars, and some sweet, fresh air will do you good.

I’ve got just the thing for you!

What you need is a beautiful Arkansas trail and a hike-in campsite.

Here are the BEST Hike-In Camp Areas in Arkansas.

Grab your sleeping bag and lets go!

Established Hike-In Camp Areas

These are also some of the BEST hiking trails in Arkansas.

1. Mt. Nebo Trails

Mt Nebo State Park offers 14 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails with 10 hike-in tent sites.

You’ll find Mt. Nebo State Park here:
16728 West State Hwy. 155
Dardanelle, AR 72834
Official Website

2. Devil’s Den Hike In Campsites

An Arkansas icon, this special place nestled in Lee Creek Valley was selected as a state park site in the 1930s.

Some of the park’s unique characteristics are rock formations and caverns. An impressive rock dam spans Lee Creek forming Lake Devil, an 8-acre lake for fishing and boating with canoes and pedal boats for rent. The park’s hiking, backpacking, mountain bike, and horseback riding trails lead to the surrounding Ozark National Forest.

Arkansas State Parks
hike in camp areas Arkansas - devils den state park
Devil’s Den State Park

Devil’s Den State Park offers eight hike-in, tent-only campsites. You will need to register with the Park before using these sites. Currently, these sites will cost you $14/night.

You can check availability and register here.

Devil’s Den has some of the BEST tent camping in Arkansas!

You’ll find Devil’s Den State Park here:
11333 West Arkansas Hwy. 74
West Fork, AR 72774
Official Website

Primitive/Dispersed Hike-In Camp Areas

The second type of hike-in camping that Arkansas offers is primitive/dispersed camp areas.

Many people enjoy the solitude and primitive experience of camping away from developed campgrounds and other campers. Dispersed camping is the term used for camping anywhere in the National Forest OUTSIDE of a designated campground.

Dispersed camping means no services; such as trash removal, and little or no facilities; such as tables and fire pits, are provided. Some popular dispersed camping areas may have toilets.


3. Ouachita Trail

If you are one of those folks who prefers a different, more rugged camp experience, primitive camping is allowed almost anywhere in the Ouachita National Forest unless there is a sign stating otherwise, or it is a wildlife food plot. Located throughout the Forests are areas that have been campsites for many years. These are located along roadsides, trails, mountain tops, or near streams.


For maps and directions, visit the Forest Service website.

Please always follow the dispersed camping guidelines.

Don’t miss all the [BEAUTIFUL] Hiking Trails in the Ouachita Mountains Arkansas.

4. Ozark Highlands Trail

The Ozark Highlands Trail roams 218 miles (351 km) through parts of seven counties in northwest Arkansas. It stretches from Lake Fort Smith State Park, across the Ozark National Forest, to the Buffalo National River. The trail passes through some of the most remote and scenic portions of the Ozark Mountains, like the Hurricane Creek Wilderness Area. It also crosses White Rock Mountain, Hare Mountain, the Marinoni Scenic Area, and many other scenic spots.


I contacted the OHTA President and asked him about hike-in campsite and requirements in the area. Here is the information from him:

Once you are out of Lake Fort Smith State Park and the City of Fort Smith property surrounding the lake (about mile 5) you may camp anywhere you can find a spot.  There are developed campgrounds at Ozone, Haw Creek Falls and Richland Creek. When you get into the Buffalo National River, there is a developed campground at Tyler Bend.

We encourage folks to use existing camping spots that have already been impacted.  We further encourage everyone to practice Leave No Trace and camp more than 200 feet from the trail or any water sources.  Unfortunately, several of the existing camping spots do not follow these guidelines.  Use your best judgment.  If you have copies of our printed maps, many of these existing camping spots are noted on the maps.

Steven Parker, OHTA President

5. Buffalo River Trail

The Buffalo River Trail is one of the finest backpacking adventures in mid-America—if not the best due to its wilderness setting, superior scenic beauty, opportunity to encounter wildlife and the chance to visit historic homeplace remnants.

Buffalo National River

The full length of this trail is 37 miles beginning in Boxley and ending in Pruitt. If 37 miles sounds like a bit much for you, you can hike the trail in segments!

Backcountry camping is allowed on the Buffalo River Trail and some of the park’s other trails. Backcountry camping is not permitted on the Lost Valley Trail, Tyler Bend Campground Trails, Indian Rockhouse Trail, or Buffalo Point Campground Trails.

National Park Service
Buffalo National River

Get more information about Backcountry Camping here.

6. Eagle Rock Loop

This trail offers the longest loop trail in Arkansas. A combination of the Little Missouri, the Athens-Big Fork and part of the Viles Branch Horse Trail, this trail travels through the southwestern portion of the Ouachita National Forest. Trail difficulty ranges from easy to most difficult. The trail has nine river/stream crossings and travels over nine mountains. There are also numerous creek crossings.


Eagle Rock Loop is in the Ouachita National Forest which means “primitive camping is allowed almost anywhere in the Ouachita National Forest unless there is a sign stating otherwise, or it is a wildlife food plot.”source

Don’t miss all the AMAZING loop trails in Arkansas!

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