CAMPING IN PETIT JEAN STATE PARK CAMPGROUND
Camping at Petit Jean State Park is a beautiful way to enjoy the park. With both open and more tucked in sites, there's something for every outdoor enthusiast.
Petit Jean State Park Campground can be your “home away from home” while you explore all the wonderful trails and waterfalls that exist in the park, like Cedar Falls Trail, Bear Cave Trail, and Seven Hollows Trail to the Natural Bridge.
While we usually prefer dispersed camping out on our own, we're still on the lookout for good dispersed camping in Arkansas. But for a developed campground, Petit Jean really does have different types of sites for any outdoor lover.
It somewhat reminded me of Cosby Campground in the Great Smoky Mountains.
We lucked out this time by reserving a site right next to a bubbling stream. I'll tell ya, there's nothing like sleeping in a tent to the sounds of a bubbling brook; never mind a sore back from sleeping in the tent, it's still some of the best sleep you'll ever get.
There's only one campground on Petit Jean Mountain. While you can reserve a cabin, a yurt, or a room in Mather Lodge, we usually prefer camping because it's more affordable.
We were excited to unplug and explore Petit Jean. Out of all the Arkansas state parks on our list, this is one park we'd been wanting to visit for a very long time.
WHERE EXACTLY IS PETIT JEAN STATE PARK CAMPGROUND?
The campground is right smack dab in the middle of Petit Jean State Park on top of Petit Jean Mountain near Morrilton, Arkansas. At about 1180′ in elevation, the park is about an hour west of Little Rock.
While you can find some food and supplies on Petit Jean Mountain, you can also make the drive into Morrilton where you can find hotels, gas, and food. If you want a larger town, Conway isn't too far down the road.
WHAT'S PETIT JEAN CAMPGROUND LIKE?
Petit Jean Campground has a total of 125 campsites, including 26 that are pull-thru sites. 35 sites have 50 amp electrical, water, and sewer hookups; the other 90 sites have 30 amp electrical and water hookups.
All of the sites can be reserved through Reserve America.
You can choose from Loop A, B, C, or D; they have a group camping area, as well. You can choose between more open sites, more wooded sites, or sites with a view of Lake Bailey.
Every loop has one bathhouse with flushable toilets and hot showers. Trash and recycling receptacles are also available outside the bathrooms.
Just a short drive in either direction from the campground, you can explore the Visitor's Center, the Petit Jean Country Store, various overlooks and trails, Mather Lodge, the Museum of Automobiles, and more.
When we arrived, we registered at the Visitor's Center, a must do for anyone camping at Petit Jean. Then we made our way to Site 74.
Our site gave us enough room to back our 4Runner and camping trailer back in, set up our rooftop tent, and set up a tent for our older boys on the provided tent pad.
We really enjoyed being next to a small little brook that bubbled and babbled all night long. And while we were fairly close to the site on our right, there were still lots of trees to kinda give us a bit of the solitude we so crave when we're camping.
OUR PETIT JEAN CAMPING EXPERIENCE
Campfires at night, exploring by day… Does life really get any better than that?
It's so easy to get busy and to not get that time together as a family that's really necessary in order to thrive. If you think about it, with today's technology, the world is not just at our doorstep but literally in our homes every second of every day.
Nights in the campground were a time for us to roast marshmallows, chat around the fire, chase Zeke, and finally get that time together we so desperately needed.
The campsite was spacious enough that we had room for both our rooftop tent and the boys' ground tent.
We set up our picnic table with a tablecloth and our box of camping cooking gear ready to do some outdoor cooking that night. We gathered firewood for the campfire and set out our camping chairs.
There was a bathroom right down the road, maybe a 2 to 3 minute walk from our site. Although we didn't need to use it because we brought Randy, our faithful portable toilet (yes, the kids have named him, but that's another story for another day).
And even though we had water at our site, we're just so used to carrying our own water that we did, along with Campsuds. Since our trip was shorter, we decided to take along our favorite homemade no rinse wipes instead of worrying about the outdoor shower this trip.
Our first night was pretty quiet and peaceful, but as we got closer to the weekend and the campground started to fill up, it got a little louder. Most everyone that was there looked like they were escaping life for a few days, as well, just enjoying the peace of a campfire or the fun of a bike ride around the campground.
WILDLIFE IN OUR CAMPSITE
For the most part we enjoyed a really peaceful camping experience at Petit Jean. While wildlife is abundant in the park, we didn't see a whole lot of animals in the campground.
We did have a cat that was trying to get into our trash. And then our second night, we had a family of raccoons come calling.
Being fall, we heard a lot of crows cawing and a lot of squirrels chattering as they gathered up stores of nuts for the winter.
PETIT JEAN CAMPGROUND AMENITIES INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING:
- Camp host
- Restrooms with flush toilets and hot showers
- Drinking water
- Dump station
- Fire rings – perfect for campfire cooking with the kids
- Picnic tables
- Tent pads
- Lantern poles
- Information/Contact Station
- Trash and Recycling Station
- Fly-in tent sites at Petit Jean Airport
Learn more about Petit Jean and things you need to know before camping there. You can also check out our camping checklist for things you might need for your own camping trip.
If you’ve never camped before, I highly encourage you to do so. Camping is an experience that will definitely change your life for the better, and you may even fall in love with it.