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Camping Devils Den State Park in Arkansas

Camp Arkansas recently spoke with Tim Scott from Devils Den State Park. He told us about his favorite cabin, the caves and crevices and why no one knows the origin of the park’s name. Listen to our full interview here:

Devils Den State Park Camping

Camp Arkansas: I’m talking today with Tim Scott. He’s the Assistant Superintendent at Devils Den State Park in Arkansas. How’s it going, Tim?

Tim Scott: Oh, it’s going just fine. How are you doing?

CA: Having a pretty good day. So, let’s start with how long Devils Den State Park has been there and how it got started.

Tim Scott: Well, Devils Den was originally a CCC Camp, starting in 1933. So, actually, this year the camp will be 80 years old, or the park will be 80 years old.

CA: Wow, congratulations.

Tim Scott: Well, you’re welcome. And you know, it was originally developed as a State Park by the Civilian Conservation Core, and they built the park and actually many of the structures and engineering features you see today were constructed during that timeframe – 1933 to 1942.

CA: What are the most popular activities in the park?

Photos courtesy of Friends of Devils Den State Park
Photos courtesy of Friends of Devils Den State Park

Tim Scott: Well, there’s a variety of things that are really popular. Of course hiking our trails is one, but also camping is one of the most popular activities too. So, and you know, a lot of times people combine those obviously.

CA: Yeah, and what types of camping do you guys offer there?

Tim Scott: Well, we pretty much run the whole gamut from just tent camping areas to campgrounds that have water sewer and electric, and pretty much everything in between.

CA: Okay. Now, if I were camping there for the weekend and wanted to venture out of the park to check some things out, what are some other attractions in the area that you might recommend?

Tim Scott: Well, once you’ve hiked the trails at Devils Den or rode the mountainbike trails, or enjoyed the park itself, there’s a lot of activities outside the park area to enjoy too. Actually, not too far away is Lake Fort Smith State Park, about a half hour away, which you can enjoy many of the same activities that you can here, but just in a little bit of a different area of the Ozarks. Fiat Fold, which is home University of Arkansas, is also about thirty miles away, and it offers everything a college town has to offer in the way of entertainment. And then, north of that area a little bit is the Town of Bentonville, which there is a brand new museum, which attracts some of the top quality art in the world, called Crystal Bridges. And it is an attraction that’s been there – I believe it’s in about its second year of opening, and that’s attracted people from all around the country. And not only the country, but around the world.

CA: Okay. I have to ask. Devils Den is a bit of an interesting name. What’s the origin there?

Tim Scott: Well, that is a very good question; and when you find out, let us know.

CA: No one knows.

Tim Scott: No one really knows. The park has been known as Devils Den even before it was a CCC camp.

CA: Interesting.

Tim Scott: So, we are home to one of the largest sandstone crevice areas in the US, and it’s probably named for the ruggedness of the area and the caves and crevices.

CA: Sure. Sure. Now tell me a little bit about the caves. Are there some that you can actually hike into?

Tim Scott: Well, yes, but that was true up until about four years ago. The caves and crevices were open to the public to explore, but approximately four years ago, we have closed the caves and crevice. You can hike by them, but you can’t go in because of a fungus that has been affecting the bats. So, basically the Eastern half of the United States seems to be spreading West, which has a real high mortality rate if it does get into your cave, and the potential of being transferred by people is there, but it’s mostly probably transferred by bats. But we’re still trying to be proactive and protect the cave as much as possible.

CA: Okay, two more questions for you. If you could spend just one hour in Devils Den State Park, how would you spend your time?


Tim Scott: Well, what I would probably do is I would definitely hike the Devils Den trail. And it’s not a long trail. It’s only a mile and a half, but it does go through the cave and crevice area. And it’s just not only a real interesting trail geologically, but it’ll have a whole variety of plant life, depending on what time of year you’re here. And it’s one of our most scenic trails, so I’d probably do that.

CA: Okay. And if you could spend just one night in Devils Den State Park, which specific spot would you stay and why?

Tim Scott: Well, I would probably stay in one of our cabins.

CA: Which one is your favorite?

Tim Scott: That’s a good question. I’d probably say Cabin 6. It’s a little bit more isolated of the cabins that we have, but they’re all great.

CA: Okay. Well, hey, thanks for taking some time out of your day, Tim, to chat with us. That’s a lot of great information we’ll be able to pass on to our visitors.

Tim Scott: Well, I appreciate you all getting in touch with us.

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