Part of the reason I love the Arkansas State Parks systems so much is that it does a great job of showcasing each ecosystem the state offers. In Cane Creek State Park you get two ecosystems in one – the Arkansas Mississippi River delta and west gulf coastal plain.
Cane Creek State Park is also a great park for the adventurer. It’s one of the few state parks that offers backpacking. It boasts an exceptional mountain biking and hiking trail system as well as flat water kayaking.
I love backpacking and kayaking; mountain biking I’m warming up to. So this is one of my favorite parks.
The one thing I don’t like about the park – mosquitoes. Because part of the park showcases the delta region of Arkansas, you get bugs which are more numerous in the delta area.
The park’s website can be found by clicking here.
My family, friends, and I camped at the park on Labor Day weekend this year. Labor Day in Arkansas is usually hot. We get a cold snap in September that can lower temperatures into the mid-70’s, but it is usually later in the month.
My parents brought a netted canopy to place over the picnic table, but for some reason it was hotter under the it. So you had to take your chances with the mosquitoes, or sweat under the canopy.
The first day at camp we lounged around the campsite. I brought my hammock, so I really enjoyed swinging under the trees and reading. The mosquitoes were not too bad while the sun was out. We ate dinner and played games until we were too tired and headed to bed.
Cane Creek Kayak Trail
I love Cane Creek State Park because of the adventure activities it offers. On our second day at the park, we began with a paddle on the 1,675-acre Cane Creek Lake.
Cane Creek Lake is one of my favorite places to paddle because of the interesting vegetation the water trail takes you through. And there is also an abundance of wildlife to see. Last winter I had the privilege of seeing a bald eagle perched atop one of the many trees in the water.
Not sure where to go on the lake, the park offers a water trail that showcases the best parts of the lake. The Cane Creek Kayak Trail, takes paddlers through many areas of the lake. The Gulf Coastal Plain and Mississippi Alluvial Plain (delta) meet at the lake, which is man-made. When paddling on the lake you can see the difference in the two ecosystems.
The water trail meanders through stands of dead trees that were there before the lake was made. It is in this stand where I saw the bald eagle.
The trail also takes paddlers through fields of water lilies in the summer months. I love kayaking through vegetation, especially lilies and lily pads. My sister, Leah, does not like water vegetation of any kind, and did not like it when the lilies got thick. It was a little hard to get your paddle through them. I also got mud on me a few times when water lily roots stuck to my paddle.
The part of the lake near the delta side has stands of cypress trees. Cypress trees fascinate me, and I love kayaking through them. You can also view beaver dams, or homes, along the cypress trees.
Maps are available at the visitor center for the trail.
Delta View Tail
After kayaking, we hopped on our bikes and rode off to tackle a mountain biking trail.
The Delta View Trail is the shortest of the biking or hiking trails at Cane Creek State Park. It is a 2.5-mile loop. I mistakenly assumed because we were in South Arkansas, it would be a flat and easy trail and free from rocks and roots.
Well it wasn’t. The trail starts out relatively flat through beautiful timbers and grassy understory. But at the first steep hill, I hopped off my bike and walked down it. I still haven’t honed my mountain biking skills to where I feel secure in speeding down a steep, rocky hill.
The trail splits into loop quickly. It doesn’t matter which way you go. My nephew, Noah, went to the left, while my sister, Leah, and I went to the right. It didn’t take long before I met Noah on the trail because he was peddling much faster than me.
Soon after the split to the left, the trail follows a deep creek that is really beautiful. The trail then makes a curve to the left, and you can see glimpses of the lake.
When I finally finished, Noah announced that I was full 10 minutes behind him. I didn’t care. I only wrecked once and made it out without broken bones.
Cane Creek Lake Trail
For those wanting a longer hike or bike ride, the Cane Creek Lake Trail is 15.5 miles long and encircles the park and the lake.
Backcountry camping is allowed at the Cane Creek Lake Trail Camping Shelters. Permits are required for camping and can be obtained at the park’s visitor center. The shelters are located along a half-mile spur trail after mile six.
Three suspension bridges give the trail a unique and fun bonus. The trail also showcases the two ecosystems in the park.
Cane Creek State Park for the adventurer
If you are a mountain biker, kayaker, hiker, angler, or camper Cane Creek State Park is a great place to check out. If you have a love for adventure, the park will not leave you bored.
The summer is a great time to kayak in the park because the water lilies are so beautiful. Autumn when the foliage is at peak is also a great time to visit the park. Fall is my favorite time of year for hiking or mountain biking.
The park does not have a swim beach. A park ranger we visited with told us that they hope to put one soon.