Queen Wilhelmina State Park is a state park in the northwest corner of the U.S. state of Arkansas, located almost entirely in Lee County with a small portion extending into Phillips County. The park includes 1,569 acres (635ha) and has an entrance fee.
It contains two lakes, Big Lake and Little Lake, both of which are stocked with bass, crappie, catfish, bream, perch, and sunfish. Other facilities include cabins, campsites, boat rentals, playgrounds, swimming beach, hiking trails, mountain bike trail, picnic areas, and nature center. There also is a visitor’s center that features displays on area geology and history.
The park offers 27 miles (42km) of marked trails open year round to hikers, bicyclists, and horseback riders. Mountain biking is allowed during hunting season in some parts of the park. The park has four designated wilderness areas totaling 230 acres (93ha), which offer primitive backcountry camping sites and require advanced reservations made through the park reservation system. Two of these areas have no access to modern amenities.
The park has 32 cabins and 46 campsites available for use. Half of the campsites are available year round, while the remainder are available May through October. All other terms and conditions apply and subject to availability. Cabin locations vary throughout the park. Some cabins share walls with other cabins, others have private bathrooms. Most cabins are between 2 and 4 people capacity.
Some amenities also include:
- Boat dock
- Open fishing pier
- No electricity or water Reservation required
- Access to trails & road Modern restroom & showerhouse
- Primitive group tenting area Group shelter activity center
- Year-round group shelter activity center
- Modern comfort station with showers and restrooms
- Year-round comfort station with showers and restrooms
- Waterfront property Summer seasonal waterfront cafe
- Winter seasonal waterfront cafe
- Picnic table with charcoal grill Picnic table with charcoal grill Shelter/Group
- Tent Area Spring and Fall semester only – $20/night
- Spring and summer semesters only – $30/night
To reserve a cabin, you must have your driver’s license on file with the park reservation system. Cabins without internet access may be reserved via fax or phone. If a cabin becomes available less than 24 hours before check-in time, it will go on sale to the general public.
Prices increase according to date of reservation. Check-in time is 3pm, unless otherwise noted. Checkout time is 11am. Pets are permitted in certain cabins and campsites. Free Wi-Fi is accessible in most public areas. The park has several different parking lots, each with varying levels of privacy. RV and tent camping is accommodated in specified areas of the park.
These sites do not contain sewer or electrical hookups. Advance campsite reservations can be booked through the park reservation system. Walk-in sites are accepted, however space is very limited and permits are issued on a first come, first served basis. Reservations are not accepted for the Wilderness Areas. Backcountry camping is allowed in the non-reservable portions of the park. 16 of the 46 campsites are specifically designed for RVs, with pull-through services and dumping stations available. 5 sites are dedicated bicycle campsites. One site is intended for horses, although there are no equestrian facilities. Horses are not permitted in the wildlife refuge.
Fishing is another popular pastime at Queen Wilhelmina State Park. Bass, crappie, catfish, bream, perch, and sunfish may be caught in either Big Lake or Little Lake. Fishermen may also enter the adjacent White River National Wildlife Refuge if they have proper registration with any state.
Hunting is permitted within certain parts of the park. Deer and wild turkey may be taken with a bow and arrow. There also are over 270 bird species identified here, many of which are common birds sighted every spring and fall.
Queen Wilhelmina State Park was named for Queen Wilhelmina of Sweden, who reigned from 1887 to 1905. She was the daughter of King Frederick William III of Prussia and his first wife, Louise Amalie of Baden. Her son, Prince Wilhelm of Sweden, became king as Wilhelm II.
Wilhelmina married in 1863, at age 48, Baron Adolphus Frederic Louis d’Albert de Gebelin, a widower 47 years her senior. He had served as prime minister of Belgium three times and represented Germany twice at the peace conference following World War I. They were the parents-in-law of Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany.
Their only child, Princess Victoria Louise Amelia Cecile Gabrielle Charlotte Albertine Wilhelmine Amelie, born in Berlin on July 17, 1886, died at age 56 on February 9, 1948, in Paris. At age 93 she was buried next to her husband at Montparnasse Cemetery. Following the death of her grandson, Wilhelm II, in 1918, the German Empire fell apart; he was succeeded by the Republic of Weimar, then the Third Reich under Hitler.
In 1945, Allied troops occupied Berlin, ending World War II. On April 30, 1946, President Harry Truman announced that he would not be granting any more war claims against Germany, so all its territory was returned to American control. This included the former Duchy of Brunswick, including what later became Queen Wilhelmina State Park. It was renamed after him in 1950, becoming known as the “President Dwight D. Eisenhower State Park.” A new lodge opened in 1972, followed by campgrounds in 1973.
The original lodge burned down in 1978, but was quickly rebuilt. Campsites were added at the other end of the lake in 1982. A second lodge building replaced the one destroyed in 1988. That structure burned down again in 1997, and was replaced by the current lodge.
Other animals seen in the park include: