Shady Lake is a recreational area located in the Ouachita National Forest and can be accessed via Forest Road 38 in Scott, Arkansas. This 25 acre recreational impoundment is also served by an accompanying U.S Forest Service recreation area. Visitors driving to the lake should take U.S. 70 four miles west from Glenwood, then Ark. 84 west 21 miles to Athens before turning northwest on Ark. 246 for two miles, and then north for approximately five miles on Forest Service Road 38.
The recreation area includes more than 90 campsites, a swimming beach, playground, hiking trails, picnic shelter, a grass boat ramp and other recreational facilities. Camping is restricted six people per site, with a maximum stay of 14 days and RV's and trailers up to 40 feet can be accommodated here. Restrooms have accessible flush toilets and showers and there are also electric and water hook-ups at some of the campsites too.
Angling is very popular on the lake although only rod-and-reel and pole fishing is permitted and anyone using a boat may only use electric motors. Game fish found in the lake include largemouth bass, catfish and sunfish species. Daily limits of five catfish and a bass minimum length of 15 inches or longer are enforced here too as the lake has only been stocked since 1998 after dam repair.
The lake is also a good place to take the family for a getaway break and relax with a special area roped off for swimming and fishing as well as hiking trails, ping pong and a playground. The lake is part of the Ouachita National Forest, which covers 1.8 million acres in central Arkansas and southeastern Oklahoma. The forest is headquartered in Hot Springs and is managed for many different purposes such as timber and wood production and is also an important natural habitat for wildlife and fish species.
There are designated picnic areas at the campsites but if visitors wish to dine elsewhere due to bad weather for example, then there are some eateries situated in Scott. Cotham's Mercantile is on Highway 161 and serves primarily fried foods: fried green tomatoes, homemade onion rings, chicken fried steak, and the signature Hubcap Hamburgers and Cheeseburgers. The success of the restaurant was said to be as a result of Bill Clinton discovering the Hubcap Hamburgers while serving as Arkansas Governor.
There are a number of other attractions in Scott that visitors to the area may like to try, especially if staying at the Shady Lake campsites on a cloudy or wet day. The Plantation Agriculture Museum is at the junction of U.S. 165 and Arkansas 161 and has several exhibits and displays, providing visitors with a detailed history of cotton agriculture practices between 1836 through to World War II. Toltec Mounds State Park is another interesting place located on Toltec Mounds Road and is home to the three Native American mounds, which are the tallest in Arkansas including one at 49 feet high.