04 Nov Piney bay campground
Liz and I were invited to meet up with friends Jack and Ellen Gage a few weeks back – they follow our blog and saw that we were heading back east. We were excited to join them as we were cutting down back through Arkansas in mid-October – we were all hoping for cooler weather and fall colors and did have a little luck but the season was clearly not “there” yet.
Jack is one of my old buddies from days with The Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, CO. He’s very anal and I DO mean that only in the most endearing way….I remember in the office he was always the first one in always arriving to a sparking clean/clear desk with three pencils all lined up and sharpened the day before he left to go home! He was a tactician and as such was always on his sales goals! Terrific guy and like me very damned glad to be retired and out doing what we love.
Unlike the PipesTraveler.com team Jack is a superb planner so when he said he “had a plan” we bought in without question to join them.
We initially met them at Waveland Park near Havana, Arkansas for a couple of nights, then over to Brady Mountain Campground near Hot Springs and then to Piney Bay Campground near London, AR. I generally have to say: “near” before putting in the name of town cause thankfully none of these spots are in town. That’s the way we like it…getting the heck out of town away from civilized folk.
This post deals with the last stop of our travels with Jack and Ellen as the campground, and side activity was so fun and memorable. Oh, yeah AND where I actually captured a few pics.
All three of these campgrounds were Corps of Engineers campgrounds and as such we were able to get the 50% discount with our National Parks Sr. Pass – at Piney Bay Campground we paid only $9.00/night for water and electric which is just a bargain! Consider this – a beautiful site with a lake view, picnic table, fire ring, paved drive and level parking area, run the AC all we want, showers every day, wash the truck, rinse off gear, spray down the camper, etc. for NINE BUCKS per day. Another way to think about it – you and your family a full week long vacation of fishing, hiking, exploring, etc. for a whopping $63!! Hard to beat.
The campground is situated on Lake Dardanelle an impoundment of the Arkansas River that offers up over 40,000 acres of a watery playground. The river area is well known for huge catfish and the native white bass but the Lake has been stocked over the years with largemouth bass, crappie, and bream – its a very healthy fishery.
Jack suggested a fun day trip that was enjoyable for all four of us. We took a drive about an hour north to Sand Gap, AR (see the map above) and explore the Pedestal Rocks Loop Trail. It was an easy 2.4 mile loop that started out somewhat boring but quickly became noteworthy. On the opposite end of the hike was a sheer cliff with a waterfall and very impressive eroded pedestal rock formations along with views for miles! Check it out here.
After Liz tried to push me off the top we made our way into Jasper, AR to the Cliff House Inn for an amazing lunch….even if I wasn’t starving which I was – the meal would have remained an absolute highlight! I ordered a strawberry chicken salad and the presentation along with the taste was as fine as any salad I’ve ever been served. The service was friendly and quick. We enjoyed the views from our dining perch of the vast Grand Canyon of Arkansas. For a peek of their website click right HERE
We arrived back at the camp for a nice fire overlooking the lake and enjoyed quiet conversations, drinks with lots of lies tossed in for entertainment value.
This campground gets a 4.5 Pickle review and we encourage you to visit them! A fun trip for certain.
Piney Bay Campground – 189 Private Road, London, Arkansas 72847 (479) 885-3029 Website here