Saturday, June 14, 2008

Devils Den Sate Park

Nobody knows for sure why it’s called Devils Den. Everybody will tell you it’s been called Devils Den long before they heard of it. Most people say it has something to do with a particularly odd cave in the area, and some will say there have been mysterious sounds or mysterious disappearances related to the cave.

All we know is that Devils Den State Park is a great place for RV visiting! Unless you come in from Exit 46 off of I-540, then you’re in deep trouble if your vehicle is over 26 feet long. We came in the other way, which was typical Ozark country highway, Arkansas State Highway 170, twisty, turny, steep, and beautiful.

Devils Den was one of the projects of the Civilian Conservation Corps back in the days of the Depression. There is a statue of a CCC Worker, dedicated to the honor of the men who worked those hard years.

Their stone and heavy wood buildings, the trails and roads they carved, and the dam they built across Lee Creek are still there.

The camping sites are a variety of styles, but most will accept RVs of nearly any type and size. Our site was big enough for the biggest of motorhomes, with space to park a car beside it. There was also room for a large tent for the in-laws (we didn't have any in-laws with us). We had full hookups, 50amp electric, water and sewer, a picnic table, a fire pit and a barbecue. It was level and paved, and the surrounding area was grassy with lots of trees.

Side note: One thing we noticed: there were lots of trailers and fifth-wheels in the park. There were lots of tents and tent trailers. There were even several older motorhomes like ours (it’s seven years old now). But there were absolutely none of the big fancy expensive motorhomes, the ones that cost upwards of $350,000, up to a million plus. Then we realized we hadn’t seen any of those in any of the Arkansas parks we had visited. They were sure plenty of them around Branson, Missouri!

Arkansas has a variety of State Highways. This one is Arkansas 220. It branches off AR 170 about ¼ mile from our campsite, and runs westward into Oklahoma. It’s about a lane-and-a-half wide, graded dirt and gravel. We followed it just a short distance, crossing Lee Creek and passing a section of the Devils Den State Park called the Horse Camp. This area was restricted to campers (tent, RV, whatever) bringing their own horses with them. There were at least 40 sites for horse campers, and every one of them was full.

Also along AR 220 we passed an area that is being restored as prairie. That is a big interest here in the Ozarks and in the “prairie states.” Prairie isn’t just open land without trees. There are native plants such as tall grass that have nearly disappeared with human progress. These restorations are bringing such plants back. If you saw the movie Dancing With Wolves, you saw Kevin Costner walking through tall grass and running his hands along the top of it.

What was missing at Devils Den? Well, we didn’t have any phone reception. We couldn’t get the Internet. Not even television news. So in this modern electronic age we felt isolated. The plan was that we would spend four nights here, because we wanted to visit Prairie Grove State Park (a Civil War Battlefield site) a short distance away. We planned to visit the third of three glass chapels for our blog story, maybe drive the Boston Mountain Scenic Byway (one of our hobbies is following the named scenic byways), get some homework done, and rest.

Our mail was due to arrive at a nearby post office; we had hoped it would be there on Friday. Friday we drove to the nearby post office and found it was the wrong one! We had to go into Fayetteville, about 10 miles farther north. Problem is, the two clerks at the smaller post office couldn’t tell us how to get there! They had a general idea (it was on Dickson Street, and there was a drug store nearby). We found the post office after a while, and the mail wasn’t there either. A phone call to our mail forwarding service assured us the box had been sent Priority Mail Tuesday, and the General Delivery address he had used was definitely correct.

Saturday morning we drove up the hill to get phone service, then called the post office. The box hadn’t arrived yet. We extended our stay at Devils Den by two days.

Monday we drove up the hill to get phone service, then called the post office again. The box hadn’t arrived yet. We extended our stay at Devils Den one more day, making it a full week.

Tuesday was do-or-die day. We drove in to Fayetteville to the post office, ready to give them a one-time change of address in case the box hadn’t arrived. But there it was! It had taken a full week to get from Oregon to Fayetteville, when it was usually about a three-day jaunt. Even the postal clerk was surprised.

Wednesday morning was pack up and move day. We had visited the Prairie Grove Battlefield, we had seen the chapel (we described the Three Chapels in our most recent posting), Suzy sewed some souvenir patches on our jackets (Suzy points out that the front section displayed is the part she finished.), I did some computer graphic work that was needed. We didn’t travel the scenic byway, but we had a good time.

But, with no phone service, no Internet hookup, no TV news, and the great delay in getting our mail, we had felt cut off from the world. But now we’re back in touch and carrying on … Our Life on Wheels.


  1. Imagine the anticipation of the Pony Express . . . back in the day. Glad to have you guys back in contact with the rest of the world.?

  2. Did you enjoy your stay in Branson? I enjoyed some of the shows there! I'd say the Shoji and the Showboat Branson Belle was another.

  3. Just stopped by your site after it came up
    from a google search "will I be able to drive
    my RV to devil's creek state park"- lol! Thanks for the tip about taking 170. And for your review! We are looking forward a week there for Thanksgiving. I may not tell
    my husband and father in law about the phone and Internet situation:).

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Okay, so looking at mapquest (we are coming from MS), it has us traveling 140 miles
      on I- 540, but from there the last 25-30 miles
      are on the road that turns into 170. Is that last stretch treacherous as well? We will have a 35 foot rv
      and a 26 foot pull behind. Sorry for the multiple posts:).


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