Lake Catherine State Park, Hot Springs, AR

Benjamin’s and my first real trip in the van was a trip down to Dallas to visit my family. On the way back up we stayed at Lake Catherine State Park. The tent campsites were only $12 a night. Can’t beat that! I wish we could have stayed longer.

Boogie did good on the drive down to Texas…no problems at all. She was unbelievably comfortable. I can’t believe I haven’t had cruise control before. I had a car made in 2008; it took getting a 1992 van to have cruise control. As much as I drove in my old car, I was missing out by not having cruise control.

Lake Catherine (and lake Hamilton nearby) were created by Arkansas Power & Light. Lake Catherine was built in the 1920’s along with the building of the Remmel Dam on the Ouachita River.  Harvey Couch was the founder of Arkansas Power & Light and named the lake Lake Catherine after his only daughter who was 6 years old at the time it was built.

Lake Catherine State Park was absolutely beautiful. There were some RV’s but it was pretty empty. No one else was at the tent campsite so we had it all to ourselves. The restrooms were sparkling clean and the showers were nice and hot.

We had a view of the lake from our campsite. We woke up and had coffee. While sipping coffee we watched a little woodpecker pecking around a tree. A gang of three rowdy crows made their rounds circling our coffee spot.

After coffee we set out on a hike to the waterfall. There are three hikes; a 2 mile hike, a 4 mile hike and a 3.5 mile hike. We did the 2 mile hike. All trails pass the waterfall. The hike was beautiful! There were lots of trees and bright green moss growing on rocks and trees. Most of our trail followed a stream and crisscrossed it as you went along.

We saw this interesting tree along our hike.

The waterfall was stunning! There were lots of really small waterfalls along the way so I kept thinking we had seen what was the main waterfall. But nope! We finally made it and it was stunning.

After a morning at Lake Catherine, it was time to head back up to Kansas City. We had to get home because we head to Senegal next week. We took the Scenic 7 Byway through the Oauchita National Forest.

While driving through it I looked up what wildlife live in the forest. There are black bears, white tail deer and several smaller critters. Black bears were reduced to an estimated 50 bears in the whole of Arkansas in the 1930’s due to over-hunting and habitat destruction.  They were thought to be completely absent from the Oauchita Mountains and were found mostly in White River National Wildlife Refuge (southeastern Arkansas).

In the 1950’s the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission restocked 250 bears back into the Ozark Mountains and Oauchita National Forest. Now there are estimated to be 3000 American black bears in Arkansas. (source)

What would a national forest be without bears? It would be bear-y sad.

We stopped at Terra Studios in Fayetteville, Arkansas. From their website, “Terra Studios is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization devoting all resources, profits, energies and donations to a dream of a brighter future through using art to create a better world. Our purpose is to promote art and inspire creativity.”


One thought on “Lake Catherine State Park, Hot Springs, AR

  1. Melissa says:

    OMG, I am in love. I am so happy you guys are doing this and can’t wait to follow the journey. I plan on doing my own trip in a camper in the next couple of years. Probably will go solo but would love to have a friend join me. Happy Van-Life Trails to you!!


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