Visitors Guide to
Crowley's Ridge State
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
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.
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.
Department of Parks and Tourism
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
Directions: 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.
Learn more about the
Crowley's Ridge State Park
The official website of the
Crowley's Ridge State Park.