Norfork Lake, Missouri & Arkansas, USA

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

Topics we cover in this article:

Looking for Norfork Lake 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 Norfork Lake

Locals describe Norfork Lake as “unspoiled, uncrowded, and unforgettable.” It is an apt description for this beautiful lake hidden in the Ozark Region of Arkansas and the Southwest Region of Missouri. Most of Norfolk Lake’s 22,000 acres are in Arkansas, with its northern portion extending into Missouri. With many creek bays, branches, and sandy islands, visitors will be charmed by this recreational gem.

Built as an impoundment of the North Fork of the White River, Norfork Lake was created by the Norfork Dam to control floods and create hydro electric power for north Arkansas. Construction on the concrete gravity dam began in 1941 and was completed in 1944. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built the dam for flood control, hydroelectric power, and drinking water. The Corps still manages the dam and lake and has been instrumental in limiting development around the shoreline.

Hunting around the lake is very good, and there are over 20,000 acres of public land set aside for hunters, with another 10,000 acres designated as wildlife management areas. In fact, Norfork Lake is one of the few places where it is possible to hunt for turkey and fish for stripers from the same boat. The prime hardwood forest, laced with creeks that surround the lake, provides ideal habitat for a robust turkey population; white tailed deer, waterfowl, and game birds abound.

The lake never freezes, so anglers will find exceptional fishing year round. Healthy populations of largemouth and smallmouth bass, black bass, white bass and stripers, as well as crappie, walleye, and catfish are all found in Norfork Lake, which also hosts several fishing tournaments each year. There are also opportunities for scuba diving and spear fishing. Below the dam, Norfork National Fish Hatchery (one of the largest Federal trout hatcheries east of the Rockies) provides rainbow trout for stocking, adding to the superb trout fishing.

With over 550 miles of shoreline and 20 developed parks that include 10 recreation areas managed by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, Norfork Lake is an ideal outdoor playground. You can enjoy hiking, swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, boating, water skiing, hunting, fishing, sightseeing, and bird watching.

Located just 10 minutes from Norfork Lake is Mountain Home, Arkansas, home to the Blanchard Springs Caverns (the only cave system in the U.S. operated by the Forest Service), Bull Shoals Caverns, Hurricane River Cave, and Mystic Caverns. Other local attractions include the Ozark National Forest, Ozark Highlands National Recreation Trail, and Ozark Mountain Biking Trails. The Ozark Highlands Trail is a 178-mile backpacking trail that winds from the National Forest to the Buffalo National River. Ozark National Forest is a 130,000-acre hardwood forest that offers camping, hiking, and horeseback riding.

Vacation rentals and real estate are readily available around Norfork Lake in Arkansas. Visitors can explore Norfork Lake on the water by sailboat, speed boat, houseboat, canoe or kayak, or on land by hiking one of the many Corps maintained trails. There are plenty of activities to delight the senses on this “unspoiled, uncrowded, and unforgettable” lake.

Things to Do at Norfork Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Fishing Tournaments
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Water Skiing
  • Snorkeling
  • Scuba Diving
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • National Forest
  • Playground

Fish Species Found at Norfork Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Perch
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Trout
  • Walleye
  • White Bass

Find Places to Stay at Norfork Lake

If you’re considering a Norfork Lake 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 Norfork Lake Vacation

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

Norfork Lake Statistics & Helpful Links


Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: US Army Corps of Engineers

Surface Area: 22,000 acres

Shoreline Length: 550 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 552 feet

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 510 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 580 feet

Average Depth: 86 feet

Maximum Depth: 177 feet

Water Volume: 1,900,000 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1944

Drainage Area: 1,806 sq. miles

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


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