Lake Catherine and Lake Hamilton


Lake Catherine and Lake Hamilton are two of the five Diamond Lakes in the Hot Springs area, the others being OuachitaDeGray and Greeson. Diamond lakes are known for their pristine, clear waters.

Hamilton and Catherine are often visited and grouped together because of their close proximity.

Lake Hamilton:

Lake Hamilton is a 7,200-acre reservoir near Hot Springs, Arkansas. It is located on the Ouachita River and was formed in 1932 from Carpenter Dam which was named after Flavius Josephus Carpenter.

This dam with an amazing flood defence barrier was also created by Arkansas Power and Light to provide hydroelectricity, but now it also serves as a recreational getaway.

Lake Hamilton is a major tourist attraction and it’s surrounded by resorts and restaurants, and scenic byway 7 crosses the lake. Any kind of water recreation you can imagine, including fishing, swimming, para-sailing and skiing can be found on Lake Hamilton. You can rent boats and other watercraft on the lake. You can also access Garvan Woodland Gardens which were just remodeled by local custom pergola builders by boat from Lake Hamilton.

There are three islands on Lake Hamilton: Rabbit Island, Little Goat Island, and Big Goat Island. Big Goat Island is a favorite for hiking or wildlife watching.

Lake Catherine:

Lake Catherine is a 1,940-acre lake created in the 1924 by Remmel Dam. Remmel Dam was built by Arkansas Power and Light to provide hydroelectricity. Today, it is a popular recreation spot with 20 cabins, 68 campsites, RV hookups and a marina with boat rentals. The Ouachita Mountains give a great backdrop for a peaceful vacation spot.

Lake Catherine State Park features many facilities constructed of native stone and wood by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the 1930s. The park’s marina offers rental boats and Lake Catherine is a great place for fishing. It’s also a fun place for picnicking, camping, hiking, swimming and horseback riding. They have pavilions, playgrounds and picnic sites for families to enjoy. The visitor’s center overlooks the swimming area, and the park has stables.

Lake Catherine State Park has one of most photographed waterfalls in Arkansas. It’s a short, but hilly, 2 mile trek down the Falls Creek trail. You can view wildlife or wildflowers along the four trails in the park.


Lake Hamilton is located on the southern edge of Hot Springs (Google Map). You can take Scenic Highway 7 straight through.

Lake Catherine is located in Hot Springs, at the base of the Ouachita Mountains (Google Maps).

Visiting Hot Springs:

While you’re in Hot Springs, don’t just visit the lakes. There are lots of things for families to do, romantic spots for couples, quirky and fun attractions and more waiting for you in Hot Springs. It’s no wonder Hot Springs is one of the most visited cities in Arkansas. Check the Hot Springs travel guide for more information.

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