Devil's Den State Park

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Devil's Den State Park
Devil's Den Waterfall.jpg
Waterfall in Devil's Den State Park
USA Arkansas location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location of Devils Den State Park in Arkansas
Location Washington County, Arkansas, United States
Coordinates 35°46′28″N94°14′30″W / 35.77444°N 94.24167°W / 35.77444; -94.24167 Coordinates: 35°46′28″N94°14′30″W / 35.77444°N 94.24167°W / 35.77444; -94.24167
Area2,500 acres (10 km2) [1]
Elevation1,020 ft (310 m) [2]
Established1933 [1]
Named forDevil's Den cave
Governing body Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism
Website Devils Den State Park

Devil's Den State Park is a 2,500-acre (1,000 ha) Arkansas state park in Washington County, near West Fork, Arkansas in the United States. The park was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps, beginning in 1933. Devil's Den State Park is in the Lee Creek Valley in the Boston Mountains, which are the southwestern part of The Ozarks. The park, with an 8 acres (3.2 ha) CCC-built lake, is open for year-round recreation, with trails for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. Devil's Den State Park also has several picnic areas, a swimming pool and cabins, with camping sites ranging from modern to primitive. Fossils of coral and crinoids can be found along the banks and within Lee Creek at Devil's Den State Park. [3]

Washington County, Arkansas County in the United States

Washington County is a county located in the northwest part of the U.S. state of Arkansas. As of the 2010 census, the population was 203,065, making it the third-most populous county in Arkansas. The county seat is Fayetteville. It is Arkansas's 17th county, formed on October 17, 1828, and named for George Washington, the first President of the United States. Washington County is part of the Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, AR-MO Metropolitan Statistical Area.

West Fork, Arkansas City in Arkansas, United States

West Fork is a city in Washington County, Arkansas, United States. The population is 2,317 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Fayetteville–Springdale–Rogers, AR-MO Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Arkansas State of the United States of America

Arkansas is a state in the southern region of the United States, home to over 3 million people as of 2018. Its name is of Siouan derivation from the language of the Osage denoting their related kin, the Quapaw Indians. The state's diverse geography ranges from the mountainous regions of the Ozark and the Ouachita Mountains, which make up the U.S. Interior Highlands, to the densely forested land in the south known as the Arkansas Timberlands, to the eastern lowlands along the Mississippi River and the Arkansas Delta.



Devil's Den State Park, in the Lee Creek Valley, protects the largest sandstone crevice area in the United States. [4] The valley is littered with numerous sandstone caves, bluffs, ravines, rock shelters and crevices that provided an excellent hiding place for outlaws on the Butterfield Stage Line, from 1858 until the beginning of the American Civil War in 1861. With the onset of the war, the rocky area was used by bands of Confederate guerillas as a hideout and staging area for conducting raids on the Union Army's supply lines as well as civilian targets. [4] The roads of the Butterfield State Line were also used by regular troops during the Civil War. Confederate and Union forces used the road during the Battle of Prairie Grove and for the Raid on Van Buren. [4] The former town of Anna is contained within the park. It was destroyed by a flood in 1893. All that remains of the town is a cemetery, a well, and some foundations. The remnants of Anna can be seen along the Butterfield Hiking Trail near Junction Camp. [5]

Outlaw person, that is declared as outside the protection of the law

In historical legal systems, an outlaw is declared as outside the protection of the law. In pre-modern societies, the criminal is withdrawn all legal protection, so that anyone is legally empowered to persecute or kill them. Outlawry was thus one of the harshest penalties in the legal system. In early Germanic law, the death penalty is conspicuously absent, and outlawing is the most extreme punishment, presumably amounting to a death sentence in practice. The concept is known from Roman law, as the status of homo sacer, and persisted throughout the Middle Ages.

Butterfield Overland Mail

Butterfield Overland Mail was a stagecoach service in the United States operating from 1858 to 1861. It carried passengers and U.S. Mail from two eastern termini, Memphis, Tennessee, and St. Louis, Missouri, to San Francisco, California. The routes from each eastern terminus met at Fort Smith, Arkansas, and then continued through Indian Territory (Oklahoma), Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Mexico, and California ending in San Francisco. On March 3, 1857, Congress authorized the U.S. postmaster general, Aaron Brown, to contract for delivery of the U.S. mail from Saint Louis to San Francisco. Prior to this, U.S. Mail bound for the Far West had been delivered by the San Antonio and San Diego Mail Line since June 1857.

American Civil War Civil war in the United States from 1861 to 1865

The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States from 1861 to 1865, between the North and the South. The most studied and written about episode in U.S. history, the Civil War began primarily as a result of the long-standing controversy over the enslavement of black people. War broke out in April 1861 when secessionist forces attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina shortly after Abraham Lincoln had been inaugurated as the President of the United States. The loyalists of the Union in the North proclaimed support for the Constitution. They faced secessionists of the Confederate States in the South, who advocated for states' rights to uphold slavery.

Lee Creek Valley was identified during the Great Depression as a site for a state park. Construction on the park began in 1933. [1] Devil's Den State Park was built by young men working for the Civilian Conservation Corps, which was established during the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt to provide work for unemployed men throughout the United States. The young men of the CCC lived in military-style barracks and constructed many of the recreational facilities at the park, including pavilions, trails and the dam and spillway on Lee Creek that forms Lake Devil. [6] The park underwent an extensive renovation in the 1970s when the CCC-built structures were refurbished. [1] [7] Devil's Den State Park is recognized as one of the best preserved CCC projects in the United States. [4] It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1994 for its CCC-related Rustic architecture. [8]

Lee Creek (Arkansas) river in the United States of America

Lee Creek is a 64.6-mile-long (104.0 km) river in Arkansas and Oklahoma which starts near West Fork in Washington County, Arkansas and flows south to the Arkansas River passing through Crawford County, Arkansas and Sequoyah County, Oklahoma. Lee Creek flows from Arkansas into Oklahoma, then returns to Arkansas before its confluence with the Arkansas River near Van Buren.

Great Depression 20th-century worldwide economic depression

The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression that took place mostly during the 1930s, beginning in the United States. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations; in most countries it started in 1929 and lasted until the late-1930s. It was the longest, deepest, and most widespread depression of the 20th century. In the 21st century, the Great Depression is commonly used as an example of how intensely the world's economy can decline.

Civilian Conservation Corps public work relief program

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was a public work relief program that operated from 1933 to 1942 in the United States for unemployed, unmarried men. Originally for young men ages 18–25, it was eventually expanded to ages 17–28. Robert Fechner was the first director of the agency, succeeded by James McEntee following Fechner's death. The CCC was a major part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal that provided unskilled manual labor jobs related to the conservation and development of natural resources in rural lands owned by federal, state, and local governments. The CCC was designed to provide jobs for young men and to relieve families who had difficulty finding jobs during the Great Depression in the United States. Maximum enrollment at any one time was 300,000. Through the course of its nine years in operation, 3 million young men participated in the CCC, which provided them with shelter, clothing, and food, together with a wage of $30 per month.


Devil's Den State Park is in the Lee Creek Valley of the Boston Mountains, which are part of The Ozarks. The area is a high and deeply dissected plateau in northern Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma. The rocks of the region are essentially little disturbed, flat-lying sedimentary layers of the Paleozoic age. The highest ridges and peaks are capped by Pennsylvanian sandstone and shale. The deeply eroded valleys are cut into Mississippian limestones, and below that layer, Ordovician dolomites. [9]

Boston Mountains

The Boston Mountains is a Level III ecoregion designated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the U.S. states of Arkansas and Oklahoma. Part of the Ozark Mountains, the Boston Mountains are a deeply dissected plateau. The ecoregion is steeper than the adjacent Springfield Plateau to the north, and bordered on the south by the Arkansas Valley. The Oklahoma portion of the range is locally referred to as the Cookson Hills.

Dissected plateau Plateau area that has been severely eroded so that the relief is sharp

A dissected plateau is a plateau area that has been severely eroded so that the relief is sharp. Such an area may be referred to as mountainous, but dissected plateaus are distinguishable from orogenic mountain belts by the lack of folding, metamorphism, extensive faulting, or magmatic activity that accompanies orogeny.

Oklahoma State of the United States of America

Oklahoma is a state in the South Central region of the United States, bordered by Kansas on the north, Missouri on the northeast, Arkansas on the east, Texas on the south, New Mexico on the west, and Colorado on the northwest. It is the 20th-most extensive and the 28th-most populous of the fifty United States. The state's name is derived from the Choctaw words okla and humma, meaning "red people". It is also known informally by its nickname, "The Sooner State", in reference to the non-Native settlers who staked their claims on land before the official opening date of lands in the western Oklahoma Territory or before the Indian Appropriations Act of 1889, which dramatically increased European-American settlement in the eastern Indian Territory. Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory were merged into the State of Oklahoma when it became the 46th state to enter the union on November 16, 1907. Its residents are known as Oklahomans, and its capital and largest city is Oklahoma City.

The caves, ravines and crevices were partly formed by slippage in sandstone formations. [3] The Devil's Ice Box, one of the most visited caves in the park, is named for the cool air that rushes out of the cave. Air enters the cave at a point higher on the mountainside and is cooled as it passes through the mountain to the mouth of the cave. [3]


Cabins and camping

The park features 17 full-service cabins and 143 camp sites. The cabins are along Lee Creek. All are "rustic", with fully equipped kitchens plus heating and air-conditioning. The cabins, with stone fireplaces, are open year-round. Devil's Den State Park is home to 146 campsites of various type. Many have electric hookups and running water; others are little more than a cleared and level patch of ground on which to set up a tent. [1]


Pedal boat dock on Lake Devil Devil's Den State Park suspended in space.jpg
Pedal boat dock on Lake Devil

Devil's Den State Park is home to approximately 64 miles (103 km) of trails that are open to hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding, with 20 miles (32 km) of trails that are designated horse trails. Each horse trail begins and ends at the Devil's Den State Park horse camp on the southern end of the camp in the Lee Creek Valley. Two of the trails cross into neighboring Ozark National Forest.

The CCC overlook Devil's Den State Park CCC-ing thru the fog.jpg
The CCC overlook

Closure of Caves

Due to the spread of White Nose Syndrome, a fungal infection caused by the Geomyces Destructans fungus in bats, including the Ozark Big-Eared Bat, Indiana Bat, and Gray Myotis (Arkansas’ three endangered bats), as well as the Brown Bat and Tri-colored Bat, the park's caves have been temporarily closed to the public since April 16, 2010, to help slow its spread. [14]

Devil's Den State Park from Yellow Rock.jpg
Devil's Den State Park from Yellow Rock

See also

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  2. "Devils Den State Park". Geographic Names Information System . United States Geological Survey. April 30, 1980. Retrieved 2009-12-18.
  3. 1 2 3 National Geographic Guide to the State Parks of the United States. National Geographic Society. 2008. ISBN   978-1-4262-0251-3.
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  7. "Articles - Devil's Den State Park". Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. Retrieved 2009-12-22.
  8. "NRHP nomination for Devil's Den State Park Historic District" (PDF). Arkansas Preservation. Retrieved 2015-03-18.
  9. "Physiographic divisions of the conterminous U. S." U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved 2009-12-23.
  10. 1 2 3 4 "Horse Trails at Devil's Den State park" (pdf). Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. Retrieved 2009-12-22.
  11. Waterman L. Ormsby, Lyle H. Wright, Josephine M. Bynum, The Butterfield Overland Mail: Only Through Passenger on the First Westbound Stage. Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery, 2007. pp. viii, 167, 173.
  12. "Butterfield Hiking Trail (Side 1)" (pdf). Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. Retrieved 2009-12-22.
  13. 1 2 3 "Hiking - Devil's Den State Park". Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. Retrieved 2009-12-22.
  14. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-08-07. Retrieved 2011-06-15.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) Three Arkansas State Parks Caves to Close as Federal and State Natural Resource Agencies Work to Slow the Spread of White-nose Syndrome in Bats