Department of Parks & Tourism
MISSISSIPPI RIVER STATE PARK
Mississippi River State Park is on the southern end of
Crowley's Ridge and borders the mighty Mississippi
River. Operating through a special use permit within
the 22,000-acre St. Francis National Forest, Mississippi
River State Park sits uniquely where the "River
meets the Ridge." The newest Arkansas State Park, it
will eventually encompass 536 acres. Bear Creek Lake
Recreation Area in Lee County has beautiful full service
campsites. The confluence of the St. Francis and Mississippi
rivers, the St Francis River Access, Hornor
Neck Access and Storm Creek Lake Recreation Area in
Phillips County will be added to the park in the coming
years. Park visitors enjoy catching largemouth bass,
shell crackers, crappie and channel catfish. Abundant
wildlife include deer, ducks, bald eagles, gray and fox
squirrel, otter, beaver and alligator. Located along the
Audubon Great River Birding Trail, Mississippi River
State Park offers an interesting and diverse array of
birding and watchable wildlife opportunities.
Mississippi River State Park also hosts the Great River
Road and Crowley's Ridge Parkway. The Great River
Road is a 10-state byway from Canada to the Gulf
of Mexico along both sides of the Mississippi River.
Crowley's Ridge Parkway provides the most dramatic
and beautiful scenery in Eastern Arkansas. Winding
through the park and national forest is a beautiful unpaved
part of the parkway that showcases the remarkable
forest and steep hills of Crowley's Ridge.
This incredible region has been home to man for millennia.
Native Americans used The Ridge as a refuge in
high water and hunted its forests. This area saw some
of the earliest European explorers as the Mississippi
River was as a major travel route. In 1815 this area was
a starting point for the survey of the Louisiana Purchase
Territory. By the early 1900's much of the land here
had been cleared for agriculture and grazing.
In the 1930s the area came into public ownership under
the Resettlement Administration, when the federal
government bought the land from private owners. The
original plan called for the area to be the "Eastern Arkansas
Grazing, Recreation and Wildlife Area." In 1938
the WPA built Bear Creek Lake, Storm Creek Lake and
the ridge road along with other improvements to combat
the Great Depression. The area was administered by the
Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service
until 1960 when it was transferred to the U.S. Forest
Service and the St. Francis National Forest was born.
The Mississippi River State Park was authorized by
Act 859 of 1973. Through the years, Arkansas State
Parks studied various sites along the Mississippi River.
On May 20, 1999, the Arkansas State Park, Recreation
and Travel Commission elected to partner with the
U.S. Forest Service for a state park within St. Francis
National Forest. Over the next 10 years Arkansas
State Parks staff worked with USDA Forest Service
to formulate plans and funding for the new park. The
Mississippi River State Park began operation on May
1, 2009 at Bear Creek Lake Recreation Area. Arkansas
State Parks' development of Mississippi River State
Park will continue in a phases over several years.
Mississippi River State Park provides quality access to
St Francis National Forest to inspire personal connections
with the River, Delta and Ridge. Our partnership
allows recreation resources to be maintained and managed
by Arkansas State Parks, while forest resources
are managed and maintained by the USDA Forest
Service. This unique alliance not only serves the forest
better, it serves the people better as well.
Camping-Beech Point Campground is on a wooded
peninsula in Bear Creek Lake. Campsites feature
views of the lake and are surrounded by prime wildlife
and birding habitat. Two courtesy docks provide
campers with additional access to the lake, known for
outstanding bream and bass fishing. The campground
features 17 campsites [14 class AAA with water/
electric/sewer hookups and three class D walk-in tent
sites]. Each paved site includes an extended hardened
living area with picnic table, grill, lantern hanger, and
tent pad. A barrier-free bathhouse is centrally located.
On the east side of the lake, the park's Lone Pine
Campground offers 14 primitive sites with no hookups
and vault toilets. For group camping, Maple Flats
Campground has no hookups and vault toilets. Camping
is paid through self-pay stations at each campground
or at the park office. Reservations can be made
by calling the park office at: 870-295-4040. Arkansas
State Parks camping rules and regulations apply to all
Bear Creek Lake Recreation Area campsites.
Day Use- Adjacent to the campground is the day-use
area that includes scenic and spacious picnic areas
with tables, grills, swimming, a boat ramp, and the
Bear Creek Lake Nature Trail. The day-use area and
boat ramp are available free. Picnicking at beautiful
Beaver Point Picnic Area on the east side of Bear
Creek Lake can also be enjoyed at no cost. Visitors
may hike the one-mile loop Bear Creek Lake Nature
Trail and experience the beauty of the Crowley's Ridge
No hunting is allowed within the state park; contact the
St. Francis National Forest for hunting regulations on
the remainder of the National Forest.
From Interstate 40 take exit 239, following Hwy 1
south to Marianna. From Helena, take Hwy 49 west to
Walnut Corner, then Hwy 1 north to Marianna. From
Marianna, follow Business Hwy 1 to Ark. 44 (The
Great River Road/Crowley's Ridge Parkway) then six
miles southeast to the Bear Creek Lake Recreation
For further information on park hours and fees, contact:
Mississippi River State Park
2677 Arkansas 44
Marianna, AR 72360
Telephone: (870) 295-4040
For further information on Arkansas's other fine state
Arkansas State Parks
One Capitol Mall, 4A-900
Little Rock, AR 72201
Telephone: (501) 682-1191 www.ArkansasStateParks.com
All park services are provided on
a nondiscriminatory basis.
Arkansas State Parks is an Equal
Arkansas State Parks 2011
Through a special use permit from the USDA Forest Service, Arkansas State Parks is developing Mississippi River State Park within the St. Francis National Forest in eastern Arkansas. The improvements at Beech Point Campground in the Bear Creek Lake Recreation Area, accessed from Ark. 44, were completed in the fall of 2010. Situated on a wooded peninsula in Bear Creek Lake, these campsites feature views of the lake and are surrounded by prime wildlife and birding habitat. Two courtesy docks provide campers with additional access to this lake known for its outstanding bream and bass fishing. The campground features 17 campsites [14 Class AAA with water/electric/sewer hookups and three Class D Walk-in Tent Sites]. Each paved site includes an adjacent, extended hardened living area with picnic table, grill, lantern hanger, and tent pad. A barrier-free bathhouse is centrally located. Improvements to the campground include the access road and all utilitities including new water and wastewater treatment and distribution systems. The campsite rental fee is $30 per night. For details on the campground's renovation, visit: http://www.arkansasstateparks.com/news/for-media/display.aspx?id=1593.
Nearby are picnic areas, a swim beach, boat ramp, and hiking trail.
In a separate location on the lake, the park's Lone Pine Campground offers 14 Primitive RV/Tent Sites with no hookups and vault toilets nearby.
The park visitor center is under construction, so camping is paid through self-pay stations located at the campgrounds. Make reservations by calling the park office at: 870-295-4040.
Arkansas State Parks camping rules and regulations apply at the Beech Point Campground, Lone Pine Campground, and Maple Flat Campground.
Arkansas State Parks does not honor any federal camping discount cards but does offer its own camping discounts.
Arkansas State Parks is also administering the Day-use Area, boat ramp and the Bear Creek Lake Nature Trail. As in all other Arkansas state parks, the Day-use Area and boat ramp are available to the public free of charge. Picnicking at the Beaver Point Picnic Area can also be enjoyed at no cost.
No hunting is allowed within the areas designated for state park facilities. These sites, since they have already been serving as public campgrounds and picnic areas, have traditionally been off limits to hunting activities.
The campground renovation at Beech Point Campground is a part of Phase I of a three-phased process to develop the new Mississippi River State Park at several different sites within the national forest through a special use permit from the USDA Forest Service [http://www.fs.fed.us/oonf/ozark/index.html]. Major locations where state park facilities will be developed following the Bear Creek Lake Recreation Area include the confluence of the St. Francis and Mississippi rivers and the Storm Creek Lake Recreation Area. The 550-acre state park will encompass approximately 2.4 percent of the forest’s total 22,600-acres, forest lands that stretch along Crowley’s Ridge and border the Mississippi River. The state park areas will serve as recreation sites within the forest while the Forest Service will continue managing the forest and its resources. The St. Francis is the only national forest that touches the Mississippi River.
From Marianna, follow Ark. 44 (The Great River Road/Crowley's Ridge Parkway) six miles southeast to the park.