Visitors Guide to the
Crowley's Ridge State Park
2092 AR-168
Paragould, Arkansas


Accessible Parking Accessible Picnic Facilities Accessible Interpretive Exhibits Accessible Arkansas Historic Site Accessible Hiking Trails Accessible Scenic View Accessible Wildlife Viewing Accessible Information Center
Accessible Fishing Opportunities Boat Ramp Accessible Boat Rentals Swimming Opportunities Accessible Camping Facilities Accessible Cabins Accessible Seasonable Food Services Accessible Gift Shop Accessible Restrooms

Crowley’s Ridge is a unique geological feature that stands 100 to 200 feet above the fertile plains of the Delta in eastern Arkansas and southeastern Missouri. The ridge was named for Benjamin F. Crowley, a soldier during the War of 1812 whose land grant was the first pioneer settlement in this part of Arkansas. Located at the site of Benjamin Crowley’s original home site, Crowley’s Ridge State Park is situated on the western slopes of the ridge amid stately pines and hardwoods. Once a campground for Native Americans, the park now offers visitors swimming and fishing in spring-fed lakes, shaded campground and picnic areas, and scenic nature trails. The park was constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) beginning in 1933, establishing it as one of the six original state parks in Arkansas. Today, these native stone and wood structures create a setting of rustic serenity among the natural surroundings.

The park was dedicated on June 21, 1937 but public use of the facilities began in 1935. Very few changes were made in the park during its first four decades. However, in the late 1960s and through the 1970s, several additions were made, including four new cabins, modern campgrounds, and day-use facilities. In 1992, four CCC structures within the park - a bridge on main park road, a bathhouse, the CCC Comfort Station, and the Group Lodging Area Dining Hall - were placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The massive stone-and-log CCC bathhouse/pavilion remains the focal point of the park, which also boasts a thirty-one-acre fishing lake built in the mid 1960s.

Crowley's Ridge State Park features two lakes. At Lake Ponder a massive log and stone structure known as the CCC Pavilion, accents the park's main recreation facilities. A dance floor, snack bar and bathhouse form a backdrop for one of the state's most popular swimming areas. Visitors can refresh themselves in the cool, spring-fed waters of the lake or relax in the sun on the sandy beach. A portion of the lake has been sectioned off for use of pedal boats and water bikes, which are available for rent. A fenced playground and beach volleyball court, adjacent to the swimming beach, completes the variety of facilities found in this area of the park. Walcott Lake is a 31-acre fishing lake that offers anglers a chance at trophy-size largemouth bass, catfish and other stocked fish. A barrier-free fishing pier offers access to all. A boat launch ramp allows easy access to the lake. Fishing boats, canoes, paddleboats, and kayaks are available for rent. A large open area located just west of the Visitor Center provides a space for sporting fun. Located throughout the park among the scenic beauty of the Ridge in all seasons are a number of picnic areas with tables and grills. Group pavilions are available for rent.

A complete interpretive program including guided hikes, nature talks, historic presentations, demonstrations, and evening programs are available throughout the year. Children ages 7-14 are eligible for Arkansas State Park's Jr. Naturalist and Park Explorer Programs. School groups, Boy and Girl Scouts, civic organizations, church groups and any other interested groups are encouraged to arrange special programming.

The park features 4 hiking trails. Lake Ponder Trail is a .45 mile paved trail that is handicapped accessible. Visitors are able to view the plants of Crowley's Ridge this rustic-style boardwalk and stone overlook that was constructed in the style of the CCC. Many CCC structures are visible from the trail and are highlighted by wayside exhibits outlining the park's rich history. Walcott Lake Trail is an easy 5 mile trail atop the fishing lake levee that offers a chance to view shorebirds as well as the best vantage point to view the park's bat condo. Once a favorite campground for Native Americans, the first pioneer settlers kept original names such as Dancing Rabbit Arroyo. The Dancing Rabbit Trail along this gully is cut by a stream overlooked by two swinging bridges and loops back to the visitor center. Beginning at the southern end of the picnic area, diverse plant and animal life can be found on Spider Creek Trail which winds through a pine and mixed hardwood forest. Dazzling spring wildflowers color the forest floor and fall foliage sets the hardwoods ablaze with crimson and gold.

Bird Watching
Crowley's Ridge State Park is a great place for birders. Exotic birds such as the great blue heron, belted kingfisher, and various species of waterfowl can be seen from the Walcott Lake Trail atop the sprawling fishing lake levee. Wild turkey and white tailed deer are often spotted, as well as woodpeckers and Carolina Chickadees along the Spider Creek Trail. The Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism maintains a checklist for birds that can be seen in the park.

Visiting Crowley's Ridge State Park
     March 1 - December 23
          Tuesday - Saturday  9am - 5pm
          Sunday 1pm - 4pm
          Closed on Mondays

          Closed on most holidays
There is no charge to visit the Crowley's Ridge State Park.

Crowley's Ridge State Park is located 15 miles north of Jonesboro on AR-141 and AR-168 North or nine miles west of Paragould on US-412, then two miles south on AR-168.

GPS Coordinates
6° 02.673'
W 90° 39.961'

Learn more about the Paragould area.

Crowley's Ridge State Park
The official website of the Crowley's Ridge State Park.

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