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Beaverfork Lake is at the gateway of the Ozarks in the Central tourism region of Arkansas. It is a great place to catch a breeze and windsurf or throw out a line in search of a trophy bass. Located in the collage town of Conway, Beaverfork Lake is a favorite of residents and college students alike who are looking for fun on the water.
Owned by the City of Conway, 960-acre Beaverfork Lake is dwarfed by Conway's other lake: Lake Conway. The 6700-acre lake is one of the largest ever created by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and known for excellent fishing. Beaverfork Lake, on the other hand, is better know as the local hotspot for water recreation. Besides providing drinking water to the city, the lake's 25-acre Beaverfork Park is the city's largest park and offers plenty of recreational activities for city residents.
Beaverfork Park is located on the west end of the lake on Highway 25. The 1,200-acre park is packed with fun stuff to do. There is s swimming area, concession stand and three large bathrooms. The picnic area includes grills, and there are two pavilions: one large and one small. A new playground was just installed. The sanded volleyball courts are popular in the spring, as is the lighted softball field in summer. There is a fee to use the boat launch. Check with the city parks and recreation department for hours and cost. Beaverfork Lake is between 12 and 15 feet deep in most places. Bass, bluegill, catfish and crappie swim in the waters. In 2008 a fisherman pulled out a catfish that was 41 inches long and weighed 32 pounds. The breezy lake attracts windsurfers and swimmers.
Private homes occupy most of the land around Beaverfork Lake. Several parks in the area provide visitors with the opportunity to pitch a tent or park an RV. Conway is located about 30 miles northwest of Little Rock. It is home to three colleges (University of Central Arkansas, Hendrix, and Central Baptist), so you do not have to travel down to Little Rock for some excitement. There is always a play, art exhibit, concert or a nationally known speaker in town to give a talk. There are also ample restaurants and shops around town.
There is no camping on Beaverfork Lake, but there are several opportunities nearby for campers. Toad Suck Park in Conway is a great place for a family vacation. The RV park is run by the Army Corp of Engineers and includes drinking water, toilets, boat launches and picnic areas. A ferry used to operate there; now there is a bridge crossing the Arkansas River. From the bridge you can watch the boats traveling through the lock and dam system. The lock and dam system travels 80 miles up the Arkansas River. There are 19,000 acres of water to delight boaters and anglers. All of Arkansas' native fish can be found in the Arkansas River, including bream, crappie, white bass, largemouth bass, hybrid bass and striped bass. Scenic views of the mountains and lush crop land on the river's banks soothe the soul.
Cadron Settlement Park is about five miles west of Conway. The Tollantusky Trail is located along the Arkansas River in the park. a 1.3 mile hike. The trail is named after a Cherokee Chief who lived in the area and traveled to Washington, DC as a representative for the Arkansas Cherokees. The Butterfield Overland Mail Route trail is nearby; both it and the Tollantusky Trail are part of the Arkansas Historic Trails System. The park includes Cherokee Trail of Tears exhibits, interpretive signs and markers and a boat launch, . There is also the Blockhouse restoration. The structure, built in the 1800s, was used as a trading post, residence and public gathering place.
The Harris Brake Wildlife Management Area near Perryville is just a short drive from Beaverfork Lake. It was developed in the 1950s and is home to ducks, deer, turkey, songbirds and raptors. It is 2,788 acres, including a 1,200-acre lake. The area is popular with both anglers and hunters. Near the WMA is Petit Jean State Park. The park was Arkansas' first state park. It is home to one of the largest and most significant Bluff Shelters in the state. The bluff was once home to Native Americans more than a thousand years ago. The Rock House Cave Trail gives visitors access to the bluffs. The park is named after a young French woman who dressed as a man to travel with her fiance to explore the new world. Disguised as a cabin boy, she called herself Jean. The sailors on the ship her fiance captained called her Petit Jean, which is French for Little John. Her identity was discovered when she became fatally ill. She requested to be buried on the mountaintop overlooking the river. That place is now called Petit Jean's Grave.
The Ouachita National Forest is southwest of Beaverfork Lake. Ouachita is located in the Ouachita Mountains spanning the Arkansas and Oklahoma border. The scenic drives feature exhibits about the area's rich history and unique prehistoric, mineral and botanical resources. An extensive trail system is available to hikers, mountain bikers, horseback riders and for off-highway vehicles. Campers can either rough it on the rustic tent pads or pull in their RVs at the full-service hook-ups. Hunting and fishing using non-motorized boats are popular with visitors as well.
Beaverfork Lake is located in the heart of an area full of outdoor fun. The colleges located in Conway provide arts and culture for people who want to spend part of their vacation on land.
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