Lake DeGray Resort and State Park in Bismark Arkansas is one of our favorite places to vacation or spend a weekend. Kayaking Lake DeGray is well worth considering. The resort is inexpensive and the camping is nice. There are campsites in wooded areas or on the lake. One of the reasons that we enjoy camping there is because the restrooms are so clean! At night the skies are dark making DeGray a good place to bring a telescope for some star and planet viewing. This time we brought the kayak camping with us and we requested a water front campsite so we could launch close to where we camped.
We had beautiful weather all weekend. And the park was nearly empty. I am not sure why, maybe because Labor Day has past. Either way, the peace a quiet of the outdoors is something we really enjoy. So much the better without a lot of jet skis and power boats.
First. The lake is beautiful. Clear water. And the land surrounding the lake is protected from commercial development. The lake was established in 1977 and provides hydroelectric power. So the level of the lake can fluctuate 20 feet. It is still a very deep lake even if it is low.
This is definitely large lake paddling. If you paddle into the coves you will see some pretty greenery and large hills. But you will have to paddle some good distances to get there. Pay special attention to where you put in or launch. Finding your way back can be hard because the shoreline all looks the same from a distance.
There are several islands that you can paddle to. We stopped and ate lunch on one which was not far from the DeGray Resort and the DeGray Marina. This photo shows the lake about 12 feet lower that normal.
There is a boat ramp in Camping Area C the Day Use area. This is a typical concrete ramp. There is also a boat ramp by the marina and in DeRoche Ridge camping area.
There is a new paddling trail called: Islets Cove Paddle Trail that begins at the boat ramp by the marina. This is something that was started in August or September of 2015. The trail is 3 miles long and will take about 2-3 hours. We unfortunately did not paddle this trail because we did not know about it until we were leaving. So we’ll try on our next trip to DeGray.
DeGray has a sunset kayak paddling event if you don’t have your own kayak. You can also rent kayaks and other boats at the Marina.
Lake DeGray Resort and State Park should be on your list of places to go. Take your kayak and explore the lake. Waterproof fishing / lake maps are available at the Welcome Center. It is worth having one if you plan on exploring islands and coves. Here is a high resolution PDF Corps of Engineers map of lake DeGray. Click to enlarge.