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Camping at Steel Creek Campground

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Overview of Steel Creek Campground

Steel Creek Campground is a picturesque camping spot located along the Buffalo National River in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. It's known for its beautiful setting, with towering bluffs and the meandering river providing a stunning backdrop for camping, picnicking, and outdoor recreation.

Location and Accessibility

Steel Creek Campground is situated in the upper district of the Buffalo National River, near the small town of Ponca, Arkansas. The campground can be accessed via Highway 74. The road leading into the campground might be steep or rough, and it's recommended to check current road conditions, especially after severe weather events, as they can change rapidly.

Campground Features

The campground features individual campsites that are typically equipped with:

  • Picnic tables
  • Fire rings
  • Access to vault toilets
  • No water or electrical hookups (it's important to bring your own water)

It is designed to accommodate tents and small camping trailers. Due to the nature of the roads and the campground layout, large RVs and trailers are not recommended.

Reservations and Fees

Traditionally, campsites at Steel Creek Campground have been available on a first-come, first-served basis. However, always verify the current reservation policy before planning your trip, as policies can change. There's usually a nightly fee for camping, which can also be subject to change, so confirm current rates before going.


The area offers a variety of outdoor activities, including:

  • Hiking: Several trails start or are accessible from Steel Creek, offering scenic hikes with varying levels of difficulty.
  • Canoeing and Kayaking: The Buffalo National River is a popular destination for water sports, with canoe and kayak rentals available from nearby outfitters.
  • Horseback Riding: Certain trails around the campground are open for horseback riding.
  • Fishing: The river is known for smallmouth bass fishing.
  • Wildlife Viewing and Photographing: Wildlife is abundant, and the area's natural beauty provides ample opportunity for photography.

Rules and Regulations

When camping at Steel Creek Campground, you should adhere to the park's rules and regulations to protect the environment and ensure a safe experience for all visitors. These might include:

  • Observing quiet hours.
  • Keeping pets on leashes.
  • Following fire safety guidelines.
  • Practicing Leave No Trace principles to minimize your impact on the environment.

Seasonal Considerations

The campground is generally open year-round, but certain services might be reduced in the off-season (winter). Always check the current operating status and weather conditions before your trip, as spring floods or winter storms can affect accessibility.

Local Attractions

There are numerous attractions in the surrounding area, such as the Lost Valley Trail, which leads to a beautiful waterfall and Eden-like valley, and the Hawksbill Crag (Whitaker Point), a renowned rock formation offering one of the most iconic views in Arkansas.

Contact Information and Further Research

Before heading to Steel Creek Campground, it's a good idea to contact the Buffalo National River visitor center or visit the National Park Service's official website for the most current information on campground status, rules, and alerts.

Location of Steel Creek Campground
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