The Coastal Plain Trail at White Oak Lake State Park is an easy-to-moderate trail. The three mile loop will take about an hour and a half to complete. The length alone may make the trail a little challenging for beginners, but families with children of all ages can often be seen on this trail. There is also a picnic area located about halfway along the hike if you'd like to bring in lunch or simply take a break.
The highlights of the trail are two peaks along the shoreline of the lake. You're welcome to take your dogs, but they must be leashed at all times. Parking is handy at the visitor's center, located in front of the trailhead. You'll also find water fountains, snacks, and bathrooms there, but not on the trail.
Coastal Plain Trail at White Oak Lake State Park starts with four other trails near the visitor’s center, then picks up at the southeast corner of Beech Ridge Trail. The three-mile trail treks through terrain that exemplifies the name of the trail. By definition, a coastal plain is a flat piece of land along an ocean’s shoreline. While the ocean is now miles away, it wasn’t always. The land was once under the Gulf of Mexico; some of its sand is still visible along the trails.
The Coastal Plain Trail is home to a variety of trees, hardwoods and loblolly Pines. The forest is home to deer, squirrels, and other wildlife and is a favorite trail among birdwatchers. The variety of trees along the trail attracts a wide sampling of birds. The trail leads hikers near the shoreline for easy viewing of waterfowl, especially during the winter months.
While the length of the trail may prove to be challenging for some, there is a resting point near the halfway mark. Take along a picnic lunch or simply stop for a break if needed. Also be sure to take plenty of water for the hike since there are no fountains along the path.
This quiet state park is situated on White Oak Lake, a popular fishing lake. Watchable wildlife and birding opportunities also abound here. Park facilities include 45 campsites (four Class A, 37 Class B, and four tent sites), a newly renovated private bathhouse, visitor center with exhibits, store with fishing supplies, marina with boat rentals, launch ramp, pavilion, picnic sites, and playground. Hiking trails and a mountain bike trail lead through marshlands and up to tree-lined ridges. Bicycles can be rented at the visitor center. In the summer, enjoy interpretive programs. Poison Spring Battleground State Park is just eight miles away. Its interpretive display is located in the White Oak visitor center.
White Oak Lake State Park was created in Ouachita and Nevada counties in 1967 as a recreation and conservation project of the Arkansas State Parks Division (ASPD) and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC). Work on the lake began in 1961 which includes a 1,031-acre upper lake and a 1,735-acre lower lake. The lake was officially approved as a state park in 1969.
In addition to the park’s four trails, facilities include a visitor’s center that doubles as a store, boat rentals, a campground, playground, and a picnic pavilion. Each spring, White Oak Lake State Park hosts French Colonial Days, a time during which costumed re-enactors camp throughout the park to demonstrate the area’s early settlers in the late 1700s. The state park hosts a variety of interpretive programs year-round.