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Lake Ouachita

About Lake Ouachita

The largest lake in Arkansas located entirely within the state’s borders

Lake Ouachita is well known as being the largest lake in Arkansas located entirely within the state’s borders. It is often quoted as being over 40,000 acres with over 700 miles of undeveloped shoreline with over 100 islands, at pool level. Perhaps less well known is how the size and shape of Lake Ouachita really compare to other area lakes and how this impacts recreation activities on the lake. To get a little perspective on the size of this lake, with regard to surface area, consider the following; If you were to combine the other four lakes comprising the area’s “Diamond Lakes”, Lake Hamilton, Lake Catherine, Lake Greeson, and DeGray Lake, into one big lake, it would still be 10,000 acres smaller than Lake Ouachita. It’s important to note that all this water, while providing plenty of area for the lake’s many visitors to explore without crowding each other also allows for the wind to pick up speed which can create waves and rough water, sometimes nearing open water conditions. 

For a little more perspective on Lake Ouachita’s lengthy shoreline, consider this. Following paved highways, it takes over two hours to drive the 100 mile route around Lake Ouachita. However, Lake Ouachita’s 700 miles of shoreline are equal to the straight line distance from Little Rock, Arkansas to Jacksonville, Florida!


The intricately meandering shoreline of Lake Ouachita is a result of the manner in which the lake was created. Formerly part of the Ouachita River basin, the lake was created in the 1950’s by the construction of the Blakely Mountain Dam by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.


For a man-made lake, Lake Ouachita feels incredibly natural due to it’s undeveloped shoreline and protected location within the Ouachita National Forest. The lake is well stocked with game fish and attracts a variety of wildl