ARKANSAS’ HIDDEN TREASURE
See the bluffs rising from the lake; experience the beauty of a secluded and natural Ozark forested shoreline; admire the deep blue clear waters, and take in the utter peace and serenity of this Ozark jewel. Just a short 15-minute drive from Mountain Home, Norfork Lake is located in north-central Arkansas and extends into south-central Missouri. With up to 550 miles of completely un-commercialized shoreline, the lake has a varying water level that fills the basin with up to 30,700 surface acres of pristine water within its 40 mile length. As part of the White River system of flood control lakes, Norfork Lake was created from the impounded waters of the North Fork River.
Norfork was the first lake to be created on the White River system. Constructed between 1941 and 1944, this has given Norfork a unique position among its sister lakes. All of the land surrounding Norfork Lake is the property of the US Army Corps of Engineers, builders of Norfork Dam and powerhouse. Commonly called “The Corps Strip” or “The Government Strip”, this buffer of land is not determined by any particular distance from the shoreline but is actually based on elevation above mean sea level. This makes for an area of completely undeveloped land that varies from a few hundred feet to more than a half mile away from the lake’s normal shore. With this number based on elevation, the pristine shoreline is all natural Ozark forest. The only structures to be seen are a few fine homes sitting high atop bluffs, the occasional small family/fishing resort, or one of the 10 commercial marina and public park facilities strategically located about the lake.
The ancient Ozark Mountains are old enough that much of the topsoil has eroded away, leaving bare rock and gravel for rainwater to percolate and filter through. This natural filtration combined with the fact that no other lakes or major rivers empty into Norfork Lake makes its waters incredibly clear. This same cleanliness also makes water sports, scuba diving, and fishing the lake’s top activities. People travel from miles around to play in or on this incredibly clean, clear lake.
For lake-goers looking for a body of water with unrivaled natural beauty, Norfork Lake definitely stands out among Ozarks lakes. Norfork Lake is not very crowded because there are no major metropolitan population centers within close proximity. This leaves Norfork Lake secluded and pure from the commercialization plaguing many other Ozark lakes. Since the lake is not nearly as crowded as others, fishermen, water sports enthusiasts, and nature lovers enjoy this big lake’s vast expanse of openness and hundred’s of secluded coves to fish, hang out or just hide out in.