For hikers, birders, and campers Devil’s Den State Park is one of the best destinations in the southwest. Located about 5 hours from North Texas in northwest Arkansas, Devil’s Den is located in the Boston Mountains region of the Ozarks, north of Fort Smith, south of Fayetteville.
The park has over 20 miles of hiking trails, some rated difficult. Although not technical, some offer rather steep climbs and descents. The signature Devil’s Den trail is only a mile-and-a-half long but offers a great hiking experience. The longest trail, Yellow Rock, is three miles.
There is the namesake Devil’s Den cave and a number of rock crevices that can be navigated by the spelunker enthusiasts. Caves along the trail are closed to hikers for protection of the bat population. There are a number of small waterfalls in the wet season.
The park was originally built back in the 1930’s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. It is registered as part of the national trails system, and proclaimed a national historic site.
There are 146 mostly wooded campsites, most with water and electric hookups. There are 17 cabins originally built by the CCC nearly 80 years ago, but upgraded in the 1970’s. They all have kitchens and stone fireplaces.
Firewood is available at the visitor’s center. But the park store and café were damaged by fire this past summer, so there is NO ICE. The closest ice is at a country store six miles from the park, at the intersection of Route 74 and Interstate 49. The store is closed on Sunday. The park office says the reconstruction of the park store and café won’t be done until the spring of 2016.
There is limited cell phone service at the park. You are okay at the higher elevations, along roads and trails. But service in the campgrounds is spotty at best.
Reservations are needed, particularly in the spring and fall. Contact the very helpful folks at the Visitor’s Center. We noticed lots of Texans among the campers.
The trip is roughly 300 miles from North Texas. The park is located west of Interstate 49, (old I-540 North). Cars can use Exit 45, Route 74, at Winslow. But the road is narrow and twisting, so larger campers and motorhomes have to take Exit 53.
It is recommended that you time your fall trip to coincide with when the Arkansas Razorbacks don’t have a home football game. The interstate traffic can get pretty congested on football weekends.
Northtexasactivelife.com rates Devil’s Den as a 9, truly a great state park, especially if hiking wooded trails is your thing.
Posted October 20, 2015