If you find yourself in Northeast Arkansas a trip to Crowley’s Ridge State Park is in order. Great camping with so many things to do at the park! Camp Arkansas had the chance to catch up with Heather to learn some insights about the campground, how she likes to spend her time at the park and what the best campsites are.
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Heather’s Favorite Thing To Do In The Park
Hike on one of the trails. Dancing Rabbit Trail is 1.25 miles and has moderate terrain.
Heather’s Favorite Campsite
Campsite #8. Although, our campsites are all together, site 8 is at the end of a cul-de-sac.
Get To Know Crowley’s Ridge State Park
When was Crowley’s Ridge State Park founded? How did it start?
The park is here due to a grassroots movement by the community. The community wanted to have a park on this site because it was the homestead of Benjamin Crowley, the man the ridge was named after. At first, the state legislature said no to the proposal. They believed that the amount of land being donated was too small. The other problem was that the land being donated had been extensively farmed, except for a section that was swamp. The state did not think that this was the type of land that should be used for a park. Rather than give up, the community started fundraising campaigns to purchase more land and letter writing campaigns to the state government. They were led by a woman named Belle Hodges Wall, then secretary of the local Chamber of Commerce. Mrs. Wall believed in the idea of a park so much that she not only hired a landscape architect to draw plans of how to turn the land into a park, she also wrote the her local representatives a letter each day. Her efforts were rewarded when the state established Crowley’s Ridge State Park in 1933. Once established, Civilian Conservation Corps companies did the work. The park officially opened in 1936, but work continued until 1938.
What are the most popular activities in the park?
Swimming, hiking, and fishing are the most popular. The park also offers boat rentals and interpretive programs.
Where is Crowley’s Ridge State Park located? What are some other attractions in the area worth checking out?
Crowley’s Ridge State Park is located in northeast Arkansas between Paragould and Jonesboro. In Paragould, there is the Greene County Museum, the Collins Theater, and the historic Linwood Cemetery. In Jonesboro, there is the ASU Museum and the Forrest L Woods Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center. Jonesboro is also home to Arkansas State University. Further away, but still close enough for a daytrip, are the Southern Tenant Farmers Museum at Tyronza, the Hemingway-Phieffer Museum at Piggott, and the Dyees Colony, the boyhood home of Johnny Cash.
Which one of those is your favorite?
I really enjoy the Nature Center in Jonesboro. They have interesting exhibits on the area, a fantastic short film on the history of Crowley’s Ridge, native plant gardens, bird feeding areas, and a hiking trail.
What type of campsites does Crowley’s Ridge State Park have? Are they more open or secluded?
The park has 26 campsites. 18 of those have water and 30-amp electric hookups. The other 8 sites are tent sites; there is no electricity and water spigots are shared. All campers have access to the bathhouse, which includes restroom facilities and showers. The park also offers an overflow camping area that is available for large groups. The 26 regular sites are all together, but the overflow camping is set apart from the main campground. All of the sites are shaded due to being at the edge of the woods.
If you could only spend one hour in the park, what would you do?
I would hike on one of the trails. Dancing Rabbit Trail is 1.25 miles and has moderate terrain. It offers a good view of the plant and animal communities that make up Crowley’s Ridge. Or, if someone wanted a little more on the park history, they could walk around Lake Ponder Trail, a .46 mile paved barrier free trail. This trail features wayside exhibit panels that tell about the history of the park and also passes two structures that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
If you could spend just 1 night in Crowley’s Ridge State Park, which campsite would you choose – and why?
I would stay in campsite 8. Although, our campsites are all together, site 8 is at the end of a cul-de-sac, creating some space between it and the sites to either side. There is also access to Dancing Rabbit Trial behind that site.