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HomeBear Creek Lake, AR

Bear Creek Lake, AR




Mississippi River State Park in St. Francis National Forest

6821-6957 State Hwy 44, Marianna, AR

GPS Coordinates for the park are 7236034.709262, -90.698045

71.3 miles, 1 hour 23 minutes from Benjamin Hooks Library, 3030 Poplar Ave. Memphis, TN

Marianna, AR is a town of about 3600

The 625-acre Bear Creek Lake was constructed atop Crowley's Ridge in east central Arkansas in 1938. It lies within the north end of theSt. Francis National Forest, and two national scenic byways - the Great River Road and the Crowley's Ridge Parkway.

Power boats are permitted, but limited to 10 hp.

It’s a pleasant area and might work well as a training site.

Minimum  Levels for safe paddling

Depth of the lake is controlled by a dam.  

When we visited, the water was drawn down 4 feet for maintenance but the lake was still accessible and usable.

Put-Ins, Take Outs


It is ok to put-in from the sand beach at the swimming area.  The park also rents kayaks that put-in at that location. Parking is nearby.

There is also a concrete boat ramp near the Bear Creek Lake Dam

Places to Stop or Camp on the Lake

On the north end of Mississippi River State Park is the Beech Point Campground in the Bear Creek Lake Recreation Area. Accessed from Ark. 44, this campground is situated on a wooded peninsula in the lake. The campsites offer views of the lake and are surrounded by prime wildlife and birding habitat. Two courtesy docks provide campers with additional access to this lake known for its bream and bass fishing. The campground features 17 campsites [14 Class AAA with water/electric/sewer hookups and three Class D Walk-in Tent Sites]. Each paved site includes an adjacent, extended hardened living area with picnic table, grill, lantern hanger, and tent pad. A barrier-free bathhouse is centrally located.

In a separate location on the lake, the park's Lone Pine Campground offers 14 Primitive RV/Tent Sites (no hookups) and vault toilets nearby, and the Maple Flats Campground.

Services Available near the Lake

There is a variety of stores in Marianna including grocery, pharmacy and gas stations.  Services are focused on the agricultural industry..

Potential Danger Spots

None noted, although the dam spillway might be an issue at high water levels

Places to eat

Ameca Mexican Restaurant

362 W Chestnut St

Marianna, AR 72360


Cajun Express

5298 Hwy 78

Wheatley, AR 72392


MJ's Grill

381 W. Chestnut

Marianna, AR 72360


Pizza Pro

460 S. Alabama St.

Marianna, AR 72360


Sonic Drive-In

86 Hwy 1 Bypass

Marianna, AR 72360


Southern Catfish

Marianna, AR



440 Forest Ave.

Marianna, AR 72360


Other things to do

There is a very nice park visitor center, jointly staffed by Arkansas State Parks and U.S. Forest Service staff. It features exhibits interpreting the Mississippi River, Crowley's Ridge, and the Delta. The visitor center includes a large, multi-purpose area for hosting meetings, family reunions, and other group events.

The Bear Creek Lake Nature Trail, a one-mile loop, provides close access to the unique flora and fauna of Crowley’s Ridge. This kid-friendly trail winds through groves of large native trees, many which are identified. A great way to explore the forest regardless of the season.

Trotting Fox Trail is a 1/2-mile, barrier free path.

Hornor Neck Lake is a short wildlife viewing trail.

Base Line Trail is four-miles roundtrip.

Roads south along Crowley’s Ridge  into the St Francis National Forest provide scenic overlooks of the Mississippi Delta and access to additional trails.   

Medical Facilities

Marianna Medical Clinic

15 N Poplar St, Marianna, AR

(870) 295-3430

Forrest City Medical Center

1601 NEwcastle Road

Forrest City, AR 72335

Helena Regional Medical Ctr

1801 Martin Luther King Drive Helena, AR 72342

Phone: 870-338-5800

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