The Lake Dardanelle State Park Visitor Center near Russellville provides a beautifully picturesque view of one of the nation’s most popular fishing points. There’s also a lot of fun stuff to do! (Just don’t tell the kids what a great learning experience it is.)
The more than ten thousand square foot visitor center overlooks the 34,000 acre lake created by the Great Arkansas River. Inside the center, you can see a sample of the lake’s largemouth bass, crappie, catfish, bream and other lake inhabitants in over 7,000 gallons of freshwater aquariums. One of the hottest spots in the state for bass fishermen, Lake Dardanelle is host to several yearly national bass fishing tournaments.
Parents will be glad to see the numerous educational opportunities all around the Lake Dardanelle State Park. The park schedules weekly programs for both kids and adults. These events will be listed, weekly, in the “Event Blog” section of ArkansasRiverValley.com.Near the park’s unique 1,861-square-foot fishing tournament weigh-in pavilion, you’ll find the covered, barrier-free fishing pier, popular for both fishing and viewing of the lake and beautiful mountain ranges surrounding the region. Kayak and bicycle rentals are also available. You can cool off in the park’s swimming area and play volleyball on the beach. Privately-owned marinas and boat docks are also available.
Across the parking lot from the visitor center, you’ll find the butterfly garden, where a variety of butterfly-attracting plants and flowers are maintained. The garden, installed by the Master Gardeners of Pope County, also features several plants native to the area. to the park.
Climb aboard and enjoy the abundant wildlife, amazing history, and astounding views on the park’s tour boat. Other seasonal programs are held both outdoor (weather permitting) and inside the visitors center’s classroom/theater. Learn about vultures, owls, honeybees, fish, and more…and enjoy a relaxing trail walk hosted by one of the park’s many well-informed interpreters.
Off-season programs and hikes are also availble, and groups may request special programs for specific interests throughout the year.
The Russellville area park features 57 campsites and is open year round. The campground features dual-voltage hook-ups, water, and modern bathhouses. A sanitary dump station can be found in the central part of the park. Naturist visitors can enjoy a pleasant walk down the nearby Meadowbrook Self-Guided Trail, which is an easy 7/10ths of a mile hike. A variety of birds and “critters”, even a few deer, have been known to share the trail area.
To get to the Russellville area Lake Dardanelle State Park, take Highway 64 west of Russellville to Highway 236, then turn south on 326.