Village Creek State Park
Here you can enjoy the unique geology of Crowley's Ridge, a landform of rolling hills in eastern Arkansas's Mississippi Alluvial Plain. A geologic anomaly, the ridge is covered with a lush hardwood forest featuring oak, sugar maple, beech, butternut, and tulip poplar. Park interpretive programs and exhibits share the story of the natural and cultural heritage of Crowley's Ridge. Five park trails totaling five miles allow hikers the opportunity to explore this forest on their own, or on guided trail walks with park interpreters. Anglers can fish for bass, bream, catfish, and crappie at the park's two lakes, Lake Austell and Lake Dunn. Launch ramps, boat docks, bait, fishing boats, electric motors, and pedal boats are available late-spring through Labor Day.
The park campground includes 96 campsites [24 Class AAA, five Class A, and 67 Class B sites (for RVs, tents, and horse campers)] around Lake Dunn. Nestled on a nearby ridge are the park's 10 fully-equipped cabins that feature kitchens and wood-burning fireplaces. At Lake Austell, picnic sites are situated near a sandy beach and sun deck. The park also includes four standard pavilions (one is enclosed), playgrounds, baseball and multi-use fields, and a driving range.
Horseback riding has become a popular pastime at this park, the second largest park in land area in Arkansas's state parks system. Twenty-five miles of multi-use trails wind through the rolling hills and beautiful, unique hardwood forest of Crowley's Ridge. The horse trails are open throughout the year. Call the park for current trail conditions. The horse camp features 30 campsites with water and electric hookups, an asphalt parking pad, picnic table and grill; a modern bathhouse; horse wash bays and 66 stalls inside the camping area. The horse stable's 10' x 10' stalls with water, electric, and ceiling fans.
The park visitor center includes an A/V theater, store, gift shop, and bicycle rentals. The interpretive center offers a large meeting facility and The Discovery Room that features exhibits of prehistoric artifacts and information about the wildlife of Crowley's Ridge. Interpreters offer programs, concerts, and special events throughout the year.
A new 18-hole, Andy Dye signature golf course featuring the rolling terrain of Crowley's Ridge and the dramatic backdrop of this forest opened in November 2008.
Village Creek State Park is located two hours east of Little Rock, Arkansas, or one hour west of Memphis, Tennessee.
Did you know Village Creek State Park is the second largest Arkansas state park in land size after 11,750-acre Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area?
The 6,906 acres comprising Village Creek State Park are situated entirely upon an unusual formation, a geologic anomaly called Crowley's Ridge. The park facilities are centered in a long, wide valley that runs through the center of the parkland. This valley was cut into the eastern side of Crowley's Ridge by the erosive action of Village Creek over time. Covering most of this rugged terrain is a mixed hardwood forest that differs distinctly from any other forests in Arkansas. Several tree species commonly seen in the woods at Village Creek are uncommon to the rest of the state, such as beech, sugar maple, butternut, cucumber tree, and tuliptree or yellow poplar. The forest here is more Appalachian than Arkansan.
The history of the park is both fascinating and colorful. Pioneer settlers moved into the area during the early 1800s. In 1821, Congress authorized construction of the Old Military Road, which travels through the area and can be seen by park visitors. Completed in 1829, it provided the first real access to the area for settlers. In 1826, a Post Office was established with the mail route following the Military Road. Today's park includes a portion of the land owned by William Strong, the area's first Postmaster.
Today’s state park offers cabins, campsites, picnic areas and group pavilions, two fishing lakes, rental boats, swimming and hiking. Explore the exhibits in the park visitor center, trek the hiking trails and join park interpreters for adventures through the lush forest and unique geology of Crowley’s Ridge.
Crowley's Ridge Parkway, National Scenic Byway
As Arkansas’s first National Scenic Byway, Crowley’s Ridge Parkway, merges six U.S. highways, nine Arkansas highways, and 11.5 miles of well-maintained gravel road through a national forest to track the crest of Crowley’s Ridge, the sole geographical phenomenon ridge formation in North America and one of only two similar geological ridge formations in the world (the other being in Siberia). The parkway stretches 198 miles over a half million acres in Arkansas, encompassing eight counties and eleven communities from St. Francis (Clay County) to Helena-West Helena (Phillips County). An additional 14.2 miles run through Missouri. As one of Arkansas’s three national byways—the other two being Talimena Scenic Byway and the Great River Road—Crowley’s Ridge Parkway is one of the 126 national byways in forty-four states designated by the National Scenic Byways Program.
Congress founded the National Scenic Byways Program in 1991 in the final days of President George H. W. Bush’s administration. The secretary of transportation administers the program via the Federal Highway Administration. The secretary designates recommended routes by utilizing at least one of six inherent outstanding traits: scenic, recreational, cultural, archaeological, natural, and/or historic opportunities. In 1996, President Bill Clinton's administration provided the first byway designations. Since then, all but six states (Hawaii, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Texas) have designated national byways within their borders.
Crowley’s Ridge Parkway was first designated as a state scenic byway on November 5, 1997, under Governor Mike Huckabee. Dr. Ruth A. Hawkins, director of Delta Heritage Initiatives at Arkansas State University (ASU), piloted the proposal and mustered volunteers to realize national status. On June 9, 1998, Secretary of Transportation Robert E. Slater, who had served Clinton on the state Highway Commission, announced the byway’s national status after it was recognized in five of the six applicable categories, all except recreational. It was one of thirty selections in 1998 and, the following year, was endowed with funding.
Adjacent to Crowley’s Ridge National Scenic Byway are six state parks: Crowley's Ridge State Park, Lake Frierson State Park, Lake Poinsett State Park, Louisiana Purchase Historic State Park, Parkin Archeological State Park, and Village Creek State Park. Also along the byway are the St. Francis National Forest, the battlefields of the Skirmish at Chalk Bluff and the BAttle of Helena, the Helena Confederate Cemetery, the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center, the earliest recorded cemetery in North America (Sloan Site), Parker Pioneer Homestead, and the Delta Cultural Center.
Official visitor centers for the byway are the Arkansas State University Museum in Jonesboro (Craighead County), the St. Francis County Museum in Forrest City (St. Francis County), the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center in Piggott (Clay County), and the Delta Cultural Center in Helena-West Helena (Phillips County).
Take Exit #242 off I-40 at Forrest City and go
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