bull shoals lake resorts in the arkansas ozark mountains offering boating fishing guides lodging cottages near mountain home arkansas ozarks

The Four Season Resort on Bull Shoals Lake in the Arkansas Ozark Mountains

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bull shoals lake resort

Nature & Outdoor Activities
By Season

at Bull Shoals Lake Resort

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A Guide to the Arkansas Ozark Mountains Seasons
Some 50 percent of all Americans now take vacations lasting 7 days - or less. But they are making more frequent trips throughout the year. To help you plan your year around trips, a guide to the seasons of the Ozarks follows below. First a few general pointers.

The reason most people travel to the Ozarks is for outdoor recreation. However, there are also some interesting ways to combine the Great Outdoors with the "Great Indoors", which many of our guests do! One day they take day hikes, fish, or otherwise enjoy outdoor recreation. The next day they'll take a day trip to Branson for some of America's best live musical entertainment. Or they travel to Springfield for a day of shopping. You are not limited to just outdoor activities!

If you are an outdoor enthusiast consider using Bull Shoals Lake Resort as a "base camp" from which you can engage in several activities - both indoors and out. The obvious choices are summer activities like water skiing, swimming, and boating. But when the weather is too cool for these warm weather activities, you'll discover a whole long list of other outdoor activities not possible in warm weather.

The Bull Shoals area is one of the most biologically diverse regions of America. With 115 different Eco Land Types (ELTs) in the area, you and your camera will stay busy. A "discovery" usually happens several times per hour when out hiking. Birds, mammals, insects, amphibians, some 240 tree species, and over 300 species of wildflowers - all occurring in some fascinating karst geology - keep your attention in high focus. This a macro photographer's paradise!

If you are a mountain biking enthusiast you'll appreciate the Pigeon Creek National Recreational Trail System that is 20 minutes from Bull Shoals Lake Resort. This system of stacked looped trails offers a full range of easy-to-difficult terrain under the canopy of the Ozark forest. Some 20 miles of trails please both bikers and day hikers. Just 10 minutes from Bull Shoals Lake Resort is Bull Shoals State Park. There you'll find interpretive trails as well as nature-related programs put on by the State.

Fishing on Bull Shoals lake is good almost all year, but the best action occurs in March, April, and May. It slows in hot weather, then picks up again in the cooler fall months. Largemouth, smallmouth, and Kentucky bass are the primary sportfish. Bull Shoals also has an excellent population of walleye and crappie.

When it comes to river fishing you have a choice of fishing for four species of trout -rainbow, cutthroat, brown, and brook - in the White and North Fork Rivers. These two premier trout fishing rivers are some of the best in the world. Indeed several World Line Class records have been set on the White and North Fork, including two of the three largest brown trout ever caught anywhere in the world!

Regardless of what you enjoy about the outdoors, you can do it from a boat in the Ozarks. Rent one of our deck boats and explore the lake. There are thousands of public lands all around the lake's shoreline. You can fish, photograph, and explore from a deck boat and cover more area in a day than by any other means.

You can also drive to many different forests, rivers, and streams where you'll find more public lands. We are centrally located so that no matter which direction your travels take you, returning at the end of the day is that much faster.

Whatever your interests, ask us for help in planning your next trip to the Ozarks - regardless of the season we are here for you!

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Spring - March 15 to May 14 (61 days)

bull shoals lake spring

Dogwoods in bloom

By March 15th, any snow has melted.  Daytime temperatures warm up to well above freezing. Fishing remains good. The bald eagles and osprey which wintered in the area have migrated back to their summer grounds. By the end of the month the first wildflowers begin to bloom. Wildlife activity picks up as birds start returning from South America and begin establishing their local territories. Animals are actively seeking dens and feeding heavily on fresh greenery. This is a good time of year to day hike, fish, bicycle, and explore the lake by boat.

By April the redbud trees begin to bloom. If winter and early spring rains have been normal, the redbuds display large amount of dark pink blooms and can be seen almost everywhere in the understory of the Ozark forests. One of the best ways to enjoy redbuds is by boat, or by driving country roads. The peak bloom normally occurs around the 10th of the month. If you have never seen this native tree of the Ozarks in bloom you'll want to see it!

By mid April fishing action picks up even more as the fish sense the arrival of fresh food supplies coming into the lake from creek waters. By mid April the redbuds begin to fade and the white dogwood trees start blooming. This area is famous for its spectacular dogwood displays! As with redbuds, you can view dogwoods from a boat or car in the forest understory. The dogwood bloom is over by the end of April.

The first two weeks of May can either be the last of a late spring or the first of an early summer. In this transition period some of the most beautiful weather of the year occurs. It usually is warm enough to swim a little but not too hot to hike.


Summer May 15 through September 9  (118 days)

bull shoals lake Scuba diving
Scuba in Bull Shoals Lake is popular, PADI shop close by

The last two weeks of May and the first two weeks of June continue to offer some of the most beautiful weather imaginable. Day time temperatures are in the 70's and 80's. The atmosphere is clear and not humid. If rain falls are normal, this is the time of year when trees and grass are a deep rich green. Any activity you can think of involving outdoor recreation is excellent this time of year. Wildflower walks, bird watching , wildlife spotting, fishing, day hiking, this is the time to do it before hot weather.

The last two weeks of June, then all of July, all of August, and the first two weeks of September are our true summer season. The air gets humid, but no worse than many areas of northern United States. Daytime temperatures stay in the 80's and 90's, and rarely drop into the 70's. This is the time of year that serious water sports enthusiasts most enjoy. Water skiing, wake boarding, swimming, scuba diving, and boating are all at their peak activity levels. Fishing is okay, but not as good as it is in the cooler months. It is too hot to go on day hikes and otherwise explore the flora and fauna of the Ozarks. People are either on the water or in air conditioning - that's it! 

Wildflowers continue to bloom, but not as heavily as in spring, early summer, and fall. It's too hot for animals to move around much except around 3am. Around August 15 the activity levels drop as children and teens return to school and college. The weather remains very warm and summer-like to about mid September. If you want summer recreation with few people around come after August 15!



Fall  September 10 through December 9 ( 91 days)

bull shoals lake arkanas fall
foliage on the bluffs

Fall starts in mid to late September, then lasts through October into the first two weeks of November. Some of the best weather of the year for outdoor recreation occurs in September, October, and even into November. The weather cools into the 70's, the atmosphere clears, then shorter daylight hours trigger fall wildlife activity and wildflower blooms. Fishing action picks up again. Fall is an excellent time to day hike, fish, observe wildlife, and photograph wildflowers, which bloom through the last of October. Bald eagles and osprey begin appearing on Bull Shoals Lake and the White River in mid October.

The fall foliage display usually begins around October 15 and peaks around the first of November. Ozark foliage is different than New England foliage because it normally occurs in stages rather than a burst of color. This is due to fluctuations from cool to warm temperatures during mid October, then a final swing back to cool temperatures around November first. In a spectacular year all the trees turn at once, which happens about once every five or six years. In most years the hickory and gums turn yellow and red first, then about two weeks later the oaks turn red, yellow, and orange. By the time the hickory and gum peak has come and gone, many of the oaks have not started to turn. Temperatures during foliage displays remain warm, the humidity is low, the skies deep blue. This is an extremely enjoyable time of year to be in the Ozarks.


Winter December 10 to March 14 ( 95 days)

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bald eagles winter on Bull Shoals lake

Winter really starts anytime between the last of November and mid December. Both November and December have several days when temperatures climb into the low 60's. But weather can change quickly and drop much lower, typically in the low 30's. This is the best time of year to hike in the Ozarks. Cooler weather makes the hike much easier. Most of the leaves have fallen so observing views and wildlife is much more rewarding than any other time of year. If you enjoy watching bald eagles you'll see them wintering on Bull Shoals lake and the White River. They winter here due to the plentiful supply of fish, rodents, and small game.

January and February are the coldest months. Daytime temperatures tend to stay around the 30's and 40's, but may well drop as low as 0 degrees for a few days. While we get little snow each year, it will generally fall heaviest in February. Fishing is good this time of year as cooler waters bring fish closer to shoreline rock formations. Except when snow is on the ground this is an excellent time of the year to go on day hikes and observe nature. Our average annual snow fall is about seven inches and snow rarely stays on the ground for more than a week or two.

Regardless of what time of year you are thinking about vacationing in the Ozarks, give us a call or email us with your interests. We can help you plan your favorite outdoor activity!

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