Lake Hamilton, Arkansas, USA

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Lake Hamilton — things to do, where to stay, fun facts, history, stats and more. Let’s dive in!

Topics we cover in this article:

Looking for Lake Hamilton cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore our comprehensive list of favorite travel partners.

All About Lake Hamilton

Located on the southern edge of Hot Springs, Lake Hamilton is a premier vacation destination. This beautiful lake was formed in 1932 with the construction of the Carpenter Dam on the Ouachita River. The Dam is named after Flave Carpenter, the pioneer peace officer who discovered the site while tracking down outlaws along the Ouachite River. Ouachita is a Native American word that means “good hunting grounds and sparkling silver water.” The only hunting that happens at Lake Hamilton today is for treasures in one of the many area shops, but the “sparkling silver water” still draws visitors from all over.

Lake Hamilton has almost 200 miles of shoreline characterized by small coves and inlets, and is almost entirely surrounded by homes, restaurants, and resorts. The lake covers 7200 acres and stretches out over 18 miles in length. Arkansas Scenic 7 Byway crosses over the lake. In addition to relaxing at one of the many resorts, visitors can enjoy all types of watersports. Speed boats, sailboats, canoes and kayaks share the waters of Lake Hamilton.

Fishing is also a popular pastime, and Lake Hamilton’s mix of water temperatures support habitats for a variety of fish. The Arkansas Fish and Game Commission operates the Lake Hamilton Fish Hatchery, and releases fingerlings into the lake each year. Angling opportunities include striped, spotted, white and smallmouth bass; black and white crappie; flathead, blue, channel, and bullhead catfish; walley and chain pickerel. The Commission also stocks the lake with rainbow trout. Lake Hamilton has hosted several fishing tournaments, and with the fishing resources being managed by the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission, it is sure to host many more.

Seven public recreation areas provide ample opportunities for nature lovers. Three islands dot Lake Hamilton: Rabbit Island, Little Goat Island, and Big Goat Island. Also known as Electric Island, the 118 acre Big Goat Island may be enjoyed for hiking, picnicking, and wild life viewing. Bald eagles spend winter months on the island. Garvan Woodland Gardens is a 210 acre botanical garden accessible by boat and car. The Gardens are home to flowers, bonsai, and a spectacular spring daffodil display. Visitors can also cruise the lake on a riverboat offering sightseeing, lunch, dinner and dance cruises.

Lake Hamilton is a reservoir created for hydropower generation and municipal water supply. Power generation and water levels are controlled by Entergy Arkansas Inc. (previously Arkansas Power & Light). The power company lowers water levels three to nine feet in the winter for shoreline maintenance and control of nuisance aquatic vegetation. Arkansas Power & Light constructed Carpenter Dam to provide power for the resort community of Hot Springs. Hot Springs Reservation, now Hot Springs National Park, was created over 100 years before the Dam to protect the natural springs that flow from Hot Springs Mountain. Hot Springs National Park is the oldest and smallest area in the national park system. Visitors to the Springs can touch the 147 degree thermal water, tour the historic Fordyce bath house, or hike one of the many trails.

With all the amenities of a premier resort community and sparkling silver waters, Lake Hamilton is sure to delight all the senses.

Things to Do at Lake Hamilton

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Fishing Tournaments
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Hunting
  • Birding
  • National Park

Fish Species Found at Lake Hamilton

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bullhead Catfish
  • Catfish
  • Chain Pickerel
  • Crappie
  • Pickerel
  • Pike
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Trout
  • White Crappie

Find Places to Stay at Lake Hamilton

If you’re considering a Lake Hamilton lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.

Recommended Sites to Book a Lake Hamilton Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Lake Hamilton lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

Lake Hamilton Statistics & Helpful Links


Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: Entergy Arkansas Inc.

Surface Area: 7,200 acres

Shoreline Length: 198 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 400 feet

Average Depth: 25 feet

Maximum Depth: 60 feet

Water Volume: 183,160 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1932

Drainage Area: 1,441 sq. miles

Trophic State: Mesotrophic

We strive to keep the information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. However, if you’ve found something in this article that needs updating, we’d certainly love to hear from you! Please fill out our Content Correction form.

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Captain / First Mate Custom 20 oz Tumbler

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Personalized My Boat My Rules Unisex T-Shirt

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On Lake Time Custom Coffee Mug – 11oz or 15oz


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