More Things To Do
By Linda Gabric, Owner of Hummingbird Hideaway Resort
So much to do, so hard to choose.
Lacking the crowds and swarming tourists of other lake destinations, the Norfork Lake area offers visitors a unique opportunity to explore the tranquility of a giant Ozark Mountain lake habitat and community.
The Norfork Lake area is loaded with action-packed entertainment, spectacular scenery, natural beauty, and lots of old-fashioned Ozark Mountain charm and hospitality.
If you are looking for the perfect vacation retreat, Norfork Lake is the place… It’s the Mid-South’s favorite choice for year round recreation and relaxation.
For a day “Off of the Lake” the Norfork Lake Tourism has several suggestions.
For the Nature Lover
Pick your own or buy fresh fruits and vegetables at a local farm, or visit the Mountain Home Farmers Market on the square Wednesday and Saturday mornings.
Wildlife Viewing – Take a leisurely drive to look for the abundant wildlife that calls the Ozarks home. Deer are plentiful and frequently seen in groups of 8 to 12. Look for them in quiet areas and back roads. Many are accustomed to people and will return about their business! The Norfork Lake area is a bird watchers paradise. Water birds, eagles, owls, several types of woodpeckers, hummingbirds, road runners and songbirds grace the area.
Visit the Clysta Willet Interpretive Trail in Twin Lakes Park. This easy stroll through the woods lets you see native plants in all their glory.
Tour local garden centers. Our local centers can help you find out the name of the beautiful plants you’ve seen blooming in the Norfork Lake area. They can help you decide what is right for your area. Maybe you would like to take a little bit of the Ozarks home with you!
Spring comes quickly to the Norfork Lake area. Wild flowers and flowering trees are spectacular and continue to please during the summer months.
Fall foliage typically peaks in late October. Leaf color is enjoyable for several weeks before and after peak color. You owe it to yourself to make the trip at least once. Your Norfork Lake Tourism member can help you plan a drive that will emphasize the colors that are peaking at the time of your visit.
Hiking Norfork Lake
Take a Hike – Quarry Park, Panther Bay, Robinson Point, David’s Trail or Pigeon Creek Trail System. For a more un-structured hike, how about a walk along some of Norfork Lake’s 500 miles of pristine shoreline. No need to worry about private property. The shoreline is owned by the US Army Corps of Engineers and is open for you to enjoy.
Pigeon Creek Trail System – After your ride, enjoy a cool refreshing dip in Norfork Lake. Just ride right in if you like.
Day Trips for the Nature Lover
Buffalo National River- hiking, quiet floating, scenic bluffs. The Buffalo River is America’s first National River. It flows 150 miles and is divided into 3 operational sections. The lower Buffalo River is closest to Norfork Lake.
Sylamore District of the Ozark & St. Francis National Forests – You will find extensive hiking and mountain biking opportunities just south of Norfork Lake.
Canoe or kayak on one of our area rivers – the White River, North Fork, or Buffalo are all easily accessible. Choose your river based on whether you want a calm ride or a ride with some white water. All of our rivers offer breathtaking scenery.
The area parks offer an assortment of playgrounds, ball fields, skate/bike areas, hiking trails, ponds, nature areas and other activities. Mountain Home and the US Army Corps of Engineers have an abundance of parks to choose from.
Bowling – Need a break from the sun? How about a little family competition. You could be starting a tradition that can easily carry on for generations! There is a bowling alley/arcade just minutes from Norfork Lake.
Cinemas – Mountain Home has 2 cinemas to choose from. Both are open 7 days and feature current release movies.
Ziplining – they say a family that plays together stays together, and this fun, team building experience, within comfortable driving distance is no exception.
Stock Car Racing on the action packed dirt oval. Late model and super late model racing from March into October, Ozark style. The perfect family Friday night outing.
Norfork Trout Hatchery – The federal hatchery at the Norfork Lake Dam raises rainbow, brown and cutthroat trout for release into the North Fork and White Rivers, both world class trout fisheries.
Dry Run Creek – One of the most unique fisheries in the nation, Dry Run Creek offers catch and release trout fishing opportunities for disabled anglers and youths 16 and under. This special facility is handicap accessible and is located at the Norfork Lake Dam.
Big Spring Park in Cotter – Home of the famous “Swing at the Spring”. Take the cold water plunge from a rope swing into an old time swimming hole.
Horseback Riding – Families enjoy the guided trail rides through the Arkansas Ozark Mountains offered by area operators.
For the History Buff
Rapps Barren Settlement at Cooper Park in Mountain Home is an easy nearby way to view life in the 1800s. The buildings are landscaped with native plants that are typical of the time.
Rainbow Arch Bridge in Cotter was dedicated in 1930 and beautifully refurbished and rededicated in 2004. The bridge is on the National list of historic places. Under the bridge is Big Spring Park with scenic walking trails beside the White River.
Wolf House – the Jacob Wolf home was built in the early 1800’s and is believed to be the oldest log structure in Arkansas. It overlooks the White River in Norfork.
Antique shops are throughout the Norfork Lake area. Take a stroll and you may find an old time treasure.
You may enjoy exploring the small towns that are near Norfork Lake. Mountain Home, Calico Rock, Gassville, Yellville, Mountain View, Salem, and Hardy are all just a short scenic drive away from the lake. You will find town squares, small independent businesses for shopping and mom and pop diners. Arts and crafts shops, quilt shops, antique stores, old time hardware stores and much more are waiting for your visit. Several towns plan festivals throughout the year. You may be lucky enough to be around for an outhouse race, fireworks display, or a turkey calling contest.
Within an Hour
Want to combine history with amusements? One hour from Norfork Lake but well worth your travel time if you thinking about a day trip.
Ozark Folk Center State Park, Mountain View, Arkansas
Ozark music, crafts, pottery making and other pioneer skills.
Blanchard Springs Caverns – The park is operated by the U.S. Forest Service. Tours for all ages and abilities are available. Located southeast of Norfork Lake.
Silver Dollar City – A theme park based on life in the 1880’s. Thrill rides, shows, foods and crafts in an Ozark Mountain setting.
Friday Night on the Square in Mountain Home. Each Friday during the summer Mountain Home visitors and residents are entertained by a variety of musical groups.
Theater – Twin Lakes Playhouse provides an entertaining schedule of theatrical performances.
Mountain View – several musical venues available plus impromptu gatherings of musicians each evening at the courthouse square.
Mountain Home- live entertainment is available at several different locations each week.
There are 2 golf courses in the Norfork Lake area. Big Creek Golf and Country Club was recently awarded 5 stars by Golf Digest Magazine for the second time! Twin Lakes Golf Course is a beautiful 18 hole- par 70 course with rolling tree-lined fairways and bent grass greens.
Antiquing – A popular pastime for her while he is fishing. The Norfork Lake area features a unique variety of Ozark antique, art, souvenir, craft and specialty shops.
Junking – A form of shopping similar to antiquing but for the more value minded. Locations change frequently so grab a sack lunch, hit the road, and enjoy the scenery while exploring.