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Camping at Lake Ouachita

Dallas, TX
14 posts
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Camping at Lake Ouachita

Hello All,

I'm planning on a camping trip to Hot Springs area at Lake Ouachita. Do you know the best site to camp that is close to Hot Springs?

So far, I have found Brady Mountain and Lake Ouachita SP.

Which one is better? Or is there a better campsite in the area?


Little Rock
13 posts
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1. Re: Camping at Lake Ouachita

Come on up!!!

Tough question - what is better - different strokes for different folks and all that. I know folks that swear by Brady Mountain and only Brady. If you want primitive camping, some swear by Buckville.

Looks like you've done your homework so you may have seen these but you can see what a campsite has to offer here:


and compare it to the map here:


You are correct that Brady and the State park are closest to Hot Springs. If you put a gun to my head, I would probably pick Brady for your first visit. The state park is very nice but it is kind of in a cove so you do not get the full lake effect.

I realize your driving from Dallas and probably do not want to drive more, but this is what I would do -I would drive to the state park, check it out, stretch my legs, maybe have a picnic. Then drive to Brady, they are not that far apart, and check it out and chose. Brady does have a restaurant nearby if you don't feel like cooking out. I was at Brady about a year ago with some friends. We picked a campsite on the west side. Although very scenic there was some kind of generator thing nearby that would kick in every now and then. It became background noise to me but it bugged the heck out of my friends. So if you chose Brady and are noise sensitive don't get a spot next to this thing.

You can (and should) rent a boat at either. About 10 knots wind speed is my limit before the lake gets too choppy:


You can go visit the other campsites on your boat. Another neat thing is to do the "geo float":


and, of course - have fun!

Dallas, TX
14 posts
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2. Re: Camping at Lake Ouachita


Thanks for the inputs. I think Brady would be a good one too with good view to the lake. I don't think I'll enjoy the generator sound. So I'll try to scout the area first at both Brady and SP to make sure I'm away from RVs and noise makers.

Unfortunately, I'm traveling with my wife who has never camp out before. It will be better if I let her get used to the camping environment before I take her to primitive camping.

I saw the Geo float thing during my research. It looks pretty cool. Instead of boat, I was thinking about kayaking or canoeing on the lake. Is the lake normally choppy? I guess it would get choppier on the weekend due to boats and jetskis.

Maybe a small boat with a motor would work for us.

My camp group has 4 adults and 2 dogs. What's your suggestion here?


Little Rock
13 posts
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3. Re: Camping at Lake Ouachita

OK UnD - I'm starting to lean toward the state park idea (isn't planning great?)

It is hard to visualize how big this lake is until you see it in person. The maps show numbers on the islands. There are actual big signs on the islands with those numbers so you will not get lost. Therefore, you will not be able to cover a large amount of the lake on a canoe/kayak. Further, it is so big your main concern would be the wind not boats kicking up wakes. I wouldn't say the lake is normally choppy - but just a weather warning if winds pick up.

I own a canoe and take it to the lake. I just pick a small area of the lake and explore the coves. Its great!

I think the state park is the only place you can rent a canoe/kayak. I think this is a great idea. First thing in the morning rent a canoe(to carry the dogs - and you should have doggy life jackets - again, big lake) and just stay close to shore and explore the coves. I don't see them often but there are otters in there.

Also, I think the state park is the only place renting those smaller fishing boats. I did this years ago. I stayed at the cabins in the state park (no dogs allowed in the cabins) then rented a little fishing boat. You go out and think your in the lake and then you hit the main body and just go WoW.

Also, I think the state park has better hiking trails so you can walk your dogs and yourself - you may have this already, but look on page 2:


If you want to stay at Brady and just drive to the state park I think your looking at 1-1.5 hour drive between them.

As to "My camp group has 4 adults and 2 dogs. What's your suggestion here?" - love the dogs, beware of the humans.:-)

Dallas, TX
14 posts
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4. Re: Camping at Lake Ouachita


Thanks for the great suggestions. I'll stick with SP idea. I can't wait for fun at the lake. It looks so clean and peaceful.

Ward, AR
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878 posts
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5. Re: Camping at Lake Ouachita

GPRS is correct. I've been planning a kayak trip for next month for a large group of people. Found out that the state park marina at Ouachita is the only place you can rent kayaks. They have 4 solo kayaks and 3 canoes for rent. Also found out that the state parks do not take reservations for those rentals. At least, Lake's Dardanelle and Ouachita don't. We ended up reserving kayaks from Ouachita Outdoors in Hot Springs.

Glad you picked the state park area. If anyone is planning on swimming, I wouldn't really recommend Brady Mountain area. According to the kayaking/canoeing club website forum, there has been raw sewage draining into Ouachita in the Brady Mountain area.

6. Re: Camping at Lake Ouachita

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