Cane Creek State Park is one of the best state parks in the state of Arkansas for nature lovers. This is a park with diverse ecosystems, varied landscapes and abundant nature.
There is camping, trails that wind through lush forests and wetlands, and lovely vistas.
You can fish, or paddle through the lily pads on the lake. You can also explore nearby Bayou Bartholomew, which happens to be the world’s longest bayou.
Cane Creek State Park is the perfect place to immerse yourself in nature, to participate in outdoor activities, or just to relax.
Explore Cane Creek State Park
This is one of our favorite of the state parks. We especially enjoy the kayak trail which you can take over the lake winding through stands of dead trees, live cypress trees, and glorious lily pads.
This is a fun place with so much to experience and explore!
It is an easy drive just over an hour south of the capitol city of Little Rock, Arkansas.
The Address of the Park is:
Cane Creek State Park
50 State Park Road
Star City, AR 71667
Contact Cane Creek State Park
You can contact the park via phone or email. Do remember that campsites must be reserved in advance.
Telephone: (870) 628-4714
Unique Geography of Cane Creek State Park
One of the most unique things about Cane Creek State Park is that is sits right where the coastal plain of Arkansas meets the Mississippi Delta region. You get to experience both at the lush state park.
The park has over 2,000 acres of woodlands on the shores of Cane Creek Lake. The wooded portion lies within the coastal plain while the lake lies in the Delta.
We have a post where you can read more about the interesting geography of Arkansas.
How Much Does it Cost to Visit Cane Creek State Park?
There is no fee for day use for any of Arkansas state parks!
Of course there will be charges to camp at the park or for kayak rental, etc.
Many of the state parks in Arkansas have a visitor center and this should also be your first stop. They are a wealth of information about the park.
Campers definitely have to stop here in order to check in for their campsite. But really this is a great stop for everyone.
The Visitor Center at Cane creek has not only the park offices, but also a gift area and a small section with exhibits.
The exhibits with help you to become familiar with some of the plants and wildlife that you might see in the park as well as the cultural history of the two distinct natural geographical divisions represented in the park.
This is also where you will rent kayaks and bikes and there is a small bait shop if you plan to fish.
What are the Park and Visitor Center Hours?
The Visitor Center hours are as follows:
During the peak season of March-November it will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
During the Off-peak Season of December-February the hours will be:
Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Saturday-Sunday 1 p.m.-5 p.m.
The Visitor Center is closed New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
The Campground and Picnic Area are open all year.
What is the Best Time of Year to Visit the Park
This is a tough question!
Autumn is always beautiful, but I’m going to have to give the slight edge to spring and early summer. This is mostly because of the waterlilies that bloom on the lake during this time.
Winter is also a stunning time to be in southeast Arkansas. The weather is usually fairly mild and the park is home to migrating eagles and other migratory birds that overwinter here. Winter is also one of the most peaceful times in the park.
Another advantage of winter is…no mosquitoes!
When is the Best Time to See the Lily Pads Bloom?
Of course it varies depending on the weather but typically the best time is the last couple of weeks in May or the first part of June.
You can always call the park visitor center to ask how the bloom is progressing!
Camping at Cane Creek State Park
The park has 29 campsites with electrical hookups and water. These are located in a lovely wooded area and most are nice and level and very shady. You will also have a table, grill, and lantern hanger at your site.
You will probably want to make reservations especially during the high season. They can be made a year in advance.
There is even a dump station at the park entrance and a bathhouse. From the campground there is a nice curving paved trail that leads to the lake and boat launch area.
I have not actually camped here myself but the reviews are very good and many of the reviews especially praise the staff for their helpfulness and courtesy.
If you don’t have your own camper there is one 30 foot, permanent, air-conditioned RV available for rental. It even has a built in deck overlooking the woods. If you choose to rent this RV you will have to bring your own bedding and linens, but it does provide a coffee pot and cooking utensils.
Things to do at Cane Creek State park
Stop by the visitors center
As mentioned above one of the first things you will want to do is stop by the park’s visitor center. You can pick up maps, rent bikes or kayaks, and get all kinds of information about the park’s amenities and wildlife.
They also have several events and interpretive programs that you might want to participate in.
Kayaking, Hiking, and Biking
One of the best things about the park are the trails! There are both water and land trails here.
If you have your own kayak you might want to bring it. If not they are available for rent. We paid $25 for a tandem kayak for a half day.
Biking is allowed on the land trails. You can bring your own or rent bikes here as well.
- Cane Creek Kayak Trail – This “trail” is marked by yellow blazes on the trees or by yellow bouys in the water. You will be able to kayak through stands of dead trees as well as live cypress trees. During the spring and summer summer the lake is covered with water lilies. You will see a variety of birds depending on the season and perhaps a Beaver dam or two. NOTE: Check at the Visitor Center to see if there is a guided kayak tour while you are there.
- Cane Creek Lake Trail – This is a 15.5 mile trail. Many people choose to mountain bike this one! You may be surprised by the ridges that roll steeply during the first part of the trail. They aren’t high but perhaps you were expecting the land to be flat! The scenery is beautiful with both forest and lake views. There are even three suspension bridges on the trail. Camping is allowed at the Cane Creek Lake Trail camping shelter (about 6 miles in) but a permit is required.
- The Delta View Trail – This is a 2.3 mile loop that is generally considered to be easy. It has gently sloping hills and leads to some great views of the lake.
TIP: Always check the trail conditions at the Visitor Center. As the time of our visit the Cane Creek Lake Trail was still being repaired from damage cause by the previous winter’s harsh ice storms. The trail had many spots that bikes had to be lifted over trees, etc. They are in the process of being repaired but it is always a good idea to ask about trail conditions before you head out on the trails.
Cane Creek Lake is a fishing ‘hot spot” in Southeast Arkansas! The lake is shallow and has many areas that are filled with standing dead trees and timber. This is the perfect habitat for warm-water fish such as crappie, bream, and bass.
There is a free launch ramp with no charge for parking. Every time we visit we see anglers out on the lake! If you don’t have a boat there are fishing piers at both the boat launch area and at the south end of the park.
Pavilions, Playgrounds, and Picnicking
- The park’s picnic area overlooks the lake. It has tables, grills, water spigots, and restrooms.
- There are two pavilions in the park which can be reserved for a fee. You will need to call in advance to reserve them for group activities. One is located near the boat launch and the other by the picnic area.
- There is a children’s playground near the picnic area as well as a horseshoe pit and a sand volleyball court.
Watching the Wildlife and Viewing Nature!
The unique geography of Cane Creek State Park makes it a perfect place to see wildlife and enjoy nature.
My favorite thing is the abundance of lilies that grow on the lake in late spring. We were recently there on a perfect day in late May and the lilies were in full bloom all around the edges of the lake. They were stunning.
Watch both in the woods and along the shoreline for for deer, turkey, raccoons, opossum, snakes, waterfowl, turtles, frogs, and beavers.
In the winter, this is a wonderful area to view eagles, hawks and other migratory birds.
Can you swim in Cane Creek Lake?
No. Swimming is not allowed. Cane Creek State Park is not a swimming lake. The lake was primarily built to be a fishing lake.
It is really not safe for swimming due to the many dead trees and underwater stumps. In addition there are snakes in the lake as well as alligators that live both in the lake as well as in nearby Bayou Bartholomew.
The water can even become a bit stagnant during times with little rainfall and low water.
Even though you can’t swim here, Cane Creek State Park is a gem of a park for nature enthusiasts, those who love to fish, and anyone just looking to relax. Whether you’re a local wanting a weekend escape or are a traveler passing through, you will love the serene beauty of Cane Creek State Park.
Discover the magic of this wonderful Arkansas sanctuary.
Here are some of the other state parks that we love in Arkansas!
- Pinnacle Mountain State Park
- Petit Jean Mountain State Park
- Mount Magazine State Park
- Lake Catherine State Park
- Queen Wilhelmina State Park
- and more…
Thanks for stopping by!