Vacation and Recreation
Almost 40 years ago, President John F. Kennedy stood on a flag-draped platform overlooking the just-completed Greers Ferry Dam and spoke of the prosperity the lake would bring to the region. It was his last major appearance before his ill-fated trip to Dallas a few weeks later. His prophecies about the Greers Ferry Lake and Little Red River region have come true perhaps beyond anyone's wildest dreams. The millions who visit annually recognize it as one of the cleanest and most scenic places in the mid-South. They come to fish, swim, camp, sail, hike, sightsee, shop and enjoy the Ozark foothills country.
A good first stop for travelers is the Wm. Carl Garner Visitor Center, along Ark. 25 at the western end of Greers Ferry Lake Dam. The 6,000-square-foot stone and redwood structure houses an information center, exhibit hall and public restrooms. And a 96-seat theater at the center features a 20-minute presentation, "The Saga of the Little Red River: A Tale of Two Centuries," which relates the history of the region prior to and through the construction of the dam.
It also chronicles President Kennedy's dedication of the $46.5 million project on Oct. 3, 1963.The center is open daily April through October, plus Saturdays and Sundays in March and November. It is closed December through February. All programs and exhibits at the center are free and open to the public. (Note: Public tours of the Dam and Power Plant have been suspended until further notice due to national security. The closures affect all federal power dams in the nation.)
Hikers can enjoy two award-winning national nature trails located near the Welcome Center. Mossy Bluff extends along a tree-covered bluff overlooking the Little Red River, immediately below the dam. It ends almost one mile away at a rustic shelter, which offers a panoramic view of the river and dam. Nearby is Buckeye Trail, a short barrier-free, paved pathway designed for the physically challenged. Guide maps for both trails are available at the center. Sugar Loaf Mountain, located off of Hwy 110 E provides a more challenging climb to reach the summit. The historic mountain rises 690 feet above a panoramic Little Red River Valley. Collins Creek offers the perfect family outing. A scenic waterfall and stream are located at the end of this short hike from Hatchery Rd. You will want to bring your camera!
The Greers Ferry National Fish Hatchery located below the dam, offers free tours. Built in 1965, the hatchery produces about one million rainbow trout yearly for restocking the Little Red and other Arkansas streams. The visitor center contains exhibits on the life cycle of trout and a brief history of the hatchery. Nearby, cold water raceways hold thousands of fish in various growing stages, including some monster-sized lunkers. The hatchery is open from 7 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. daily.
With two world-record catches on Greers Ferry Lake and one world record on the Little Red River, it's understandable why anglers are attracted to the region. The Little Red is famous for johnboat trout angling and great fly fishing, and there are numerous outfitters, marinas and resorts along the river and lakeshore.
Aside from Fishing on Greers Ferry Lake, many scuba divers also find the lake to be home to many interesting observation points on it's floor as well as many varieties of interesting fish and aquatic life.
Some of The Natural State's premier resorts are located on the wooded shorelines of the lake and river. Championship golf courses, tennis centers, nature trails, world class lodging and luxurious dining are some of the reasons people return year after year to vacation in the region. Of course, there are plenty of smaller resorts, secluded cabin rentals, bed and breakfast inns and motels. If shopping is your thing, you will feel right at home in Heber Springs. Click here to access our members directory and plan to visit some of our unique shops while you are in the area. Heber Springs is home to many unique shops ranging from flowers and gifts to sporting goods.
Private and public campgrounds are scattered throughout the foothill country, plus the Corps of Engineers operates 14 parks, which provide picnic areas, lake and river access and more than 1,300 campsites. The Corps has a camp reservation service that covers 60 percent of its sites. The remaining 40 percent are on a first-come, first-serve basis. For campsite reservations, phone 1-877-444-6777 or visit www.reserveusa.com.
A wintering population of Trumpeter Swans descends on Magness Lake, located east of Heber Springs, each year. It's a scientific mystery why more than 100 of these birds flock to Heber Springs from their Midwestern homes, but their arrival makes for an exciting birding experience. Their stay extends from late November through late February.
Festivals & Events
Heber Springs is home to many unique Festivals and Events that are sure to entertain the entire family. In April Springfest, vendors and crafters setup their stands in Spring Park located in the heart of Heber Springs and sell their handmade arts and crafts, visitors also enjoy world class performers on the main stage, butterfly pavilion and much more. The Annual World Championship Cardboard Boat Race held in July has grown into one of the most popular events in the Natural State.
The Annual Heber Springs Fireworks Extravaganza held on Greers Ferry Lake during the Independence Day holiday and coordinated by the Heber Springs Chamber of Commerce is one of the largest in the state and attracts thousands of onlookers, from both land and on water.
During the fall and winter months, Heber Springs is alive with fall color that sets the scene for excellent day trips throughout the Greers Ferry Lake Area. During the Christmas Holiday Season, the Cleburne County Courthouse located in the heart of Downtown Heber Springs comes alive for the Arkansas Trail of Lights.