- The St. Francis Ranger District is the furthest removed from the rest of the forest in the state. Sitting on the eastern edge, close to the Mississippi River sits a little slice of mountain top (actually a plateau) that holds two lakes, Bear Creek lake and Storm Creek Lake. Both are beautiful and large enough to get away from everyone you don't take with you. There are hundreds of inlets and coves for pulling into with your boat and fishing or just relaxing.
In addition to the lake opportunities there are also several campgrounds available for use as well as a couple of picnic grounds with running water, bathrooms and a fishing pier assessable by the handicapped.
Recreation - The recreation opportunities are endless here. Fishing, Camping, swimming, boating, picnicking and many others are just the start of a great vacation time here. Boating is available at all of the areas and most have a boat ramp. Fishermen can look forward to catching Largemouth Bass, Red-eyed Bream and Channel Catfish. The fishing pier is also wheelchair friendly.
Climate - The Ozark Region has four distinct seasons with a temperature range from 10-15 degrees below zero to over 100 degrees F. Winters have occasional cold periods of brief duration with daily temperatures near zero in January and February. Annual precipitation measures around 50 inches, but the range may vary considerably from this average. Snowfall occurs in the forest covering the ground from a few hours to occasional extended periods of up to several days. The area can offer snow-free outdoor recreation opportunities during the winter months. Be prepared however, for occasional cold weather during the winter, especially at the higher elevations of the Forests.
St. Francis National Forest is located in the far eastern portion of Arkansas, at one point bordering the Mighty Mississippi. Access to the lakes from the north is best achieved through the Town of Marianna and traveling south to the St. Francis Ranger Station on Hwy. 44.
From the east, in the town of Walnut Corner, travel on Hwy. 49 east to West Helena and go north on Arkansas Hwy. 242 then right or east to PH217 and that will plant you firmly on the St. Francis Scenic Byway. The St. Francis Ranger Station is on Arkansas Hwy. 44 at the northern entrance to the park.