Can You Disperse Camp in Ouachita National Forest?

The Ouachita National Forest, located in the southern half of Arkansas and southeastern Oklahoma, is a great place to visit for camping, hiking, and even mountain biking. The forest provides many acres of beautiful scenery for outdoor enthusiasts. But can you disperse camp in Ouachita National Forest?

The short answer is yes. Dispersed camping is allowed in the Ouachita National Forest as long as it complies with the rules and regulations set by the Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service. This includes having a valid camping permit and following all other applicable laws.

When dispersed camping in Ouachita National Forest, you must stay at least 100 feet away from any water sources like streams or lakes. Campers must also refrain from gathering firewood within the forest boundaries and should practice Leave No Trace principles whenever possible. Additionally, dispersed campers should always use previously established sites to reduce their impact on the land.

Additionally, campers must be aware that dispersed camping areas can fill up quickly during peak season. It’s important to show up early if you want to find an available spot. You should also be aware that some areas may not be suitable for dispersed camping due to steep terrain or lack of access to water or firewood.


Dispersed camping is allowed in Ouachita National Forest with a valid permit and by following all applicable laws. Campers should show up early during peak season, practice Leave No Trace principles, and avoid gathering firewood or setting up camp too close to water sources like streams or lakes.

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Samantha Mckinney