Natural Falls State Park in Oklahoma

Last weekend the weather was dreary and overcast. We were tempted to stay at home, but I’m glad we decided to venture out to explore a new state park. The trip was even more fun because my sister hiked with us.

dripping springs trail

Natural Falls State Park is located near the border of Oklahoma and Arkansas. The park is only an hour away from our home in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The main attraction is a 77-foot waterfall which you can enjoy from observation platforms above and below the falls along the Dripping Springs Trail.

View from above waterfall
Waterfall view from below falls
Bridge crosses over the waterfall
Autumn color in the forest.
There is a small fishing area and a picnic table along the trail.
The girls love playing with ‘gross’ things. Photo credit – my amazing sister.

The one mile trail is rated as moderate on AllTrails.com. There are a couple steep sections. There is also a short, narrow section that was a little slick because of the weather, so we held onto the girls’ hands to make sure they wouldn’t slip.

Uphill section of the trail

5 things to know before you go

  1. There is a parking fee.
  2. You can rent a yurt if you want to spend the night.
  3. Amenities include a playground and a restroom.
  4. Here is a park map.
  5. You can learn more about the park at travelok.com.

Things to Do Near Mount Magazine State Park in Arkansas

We recently took a trip to Mount Magazine State Park in Arkansas. I’ve written about the wonderful cabin and the great hikes. For my last post about this trip, I want to share about some of the restaurants and attractions near Mount Magazine that we enjoyed.

On our way into the park, we decided to stop about half way to eat dinner in Ozark. We were happy to find a Mexican restaurant named Mi Casita that overlooked the Arkansas River. We arrived early on Friday evening (around 5:45 pm) and had the outdoor patio to ourselves.

Mi Casita in Ozark, AR. Riverviews of Arkansas River. Places to eat in Ozark.
View from Mi Casita in Ozark, AR

Country Monks Brewing at Subiaco Abbey

Once we got to our cabin at Mount Magazine, it was hard to leave it. We wrote all about the cabin here. But, we wanted to explore the area, so we took a trip out to Country Monks Brewing at Subiaco Abbey.

Subiaco Brewery, Subiaco Arkansas. Monk Beer Arkansas

There were several picnic tables outside of the tasting room which was located in the middle of beautiful farm land. (405 North Subiaco Avenue in Subiaco, Arkansas) It was a 30 minute drive from Mount Magazine State Park. The tap room is open on Saturdays from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.

According to their website,  “It is a ministry for us, because it allows us to welcome guests to our monastery as Christ Himself would be welcomed (part of our Rule of St. Benedict, chapter 53). Likewise,  the profits generated go to the continuous care of our elder monastic brothers in our Health Center.”

We felt welcomed and we thought the beer was great too. We also enjoyed a walk around the abbey gardens. I would definitely recommend the trip to Subiaco.

Subiaco gardens, Arkansas monastery
Subiaco Abbey, Arkansas monastery

Altus and Wiederkehr Village

The next day was our final day of the trip. We decided to drive back home through Altus and Wiederkehr Village. The towns are known for wine making and German-Swiss heritage. We had lunch at the Weinkeller Restaurant, a ‘hand-dug 1880 wine cellar featuring award-winning continental cuisine and on National Register of Historic Places.’ (according to Arkansas.com)

We sat at a table with a red checked table cloth outside of the charming restaurant. It felt like we were far away from home (in a good way)! Our lunch was traditional swiss food. It was the perfect ending to our Arkansas adventure weekend.

Weinkeller Restaurant near Altus, Arkansas. Arkansas wine.

Arkansas has so many hidden gems, and I’m glad we had the chance to support these local restaurants on our trip.

Fires in Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park is closed due to spreading wildfires in and around the park. We are praying for rain and snow to help slow the fires down. Our thoughts are with the fire fighters and the communities affected by the fires, especially Estes Park, Colorado and Grand Lake, Colorado. Both places hold special places in our hearts.

You can find out more information about the closures on the national park’s website, here.

We are also keeping updated by following the Estes Valley Fire Protection District on facebook as well as the official page for the Cameron Peak Fire.

NASA also has a near real-time heat map that you can view here.

Mount Magazine State Park Hikes and Overlooks

Mount Magazine State Park is in Paris, Arkansas which is two hours south of our home in Fayetteville, Arkansas. We recently booked a cabin for a weekend stay which I wrote about here.

There is a lot to do and see in Mount Magazine State Park. Of course one of our favorite activities is hiking. This area is also a great place to go on an afternoon drive to take in the mountain views.

Highest Point in Arkansas: Signal hill – 2,753 ft.

Our cabin was located right across the street from the Signal Hill trail head. I expected more views on this trail, so I was slightly  disappointed, but it is still fun to say that we hiked to the highest point in the state of Arkansas. The hike is 1.5 miles in length.

Mount Magazine Signal Hill

As you might expect by the name, the hike climbed up hill. We enjoyed the white wildflowers along the path.

Mount Magazine Signal Hill hike

old lodge trail: Danger high cliff

This trail is not listed on the park’s hiking brochure, so I’m not sure if I should even recommend it. My husband and I took turns going on the Old Lodge Trail without our children. The trail was not well maintained, but it is short, and the overlook is impressive.

Mount Magazine Old Lodge Trail
Mount Magazine Old Lodge Trail

benefield trail

This hike is divided into two loops. The East Loop is 1.1 miles long and has views of Bear Hollow, the Ouachita Mountains, and the Petit Jean River Valley. The West Loop is .9-miles and connects to the Mossback Ridge Trail.

Mount Magazine State Park Arkansas Benefield Trail

petite jean valley overlook

Down the road from the Benefield trails, there is a pull off on Highway 309 with incredible views of the Petite Jean Valley. The pictures were taken on a foggy day, so I imagine that the views are typically even more impressive.

Mount Magazine State Park, Petite Jean Valley Overlook

Cameron BlufF Overlook Drive

The overlooks on Cameron Bluff Drive were breath taking. This spot has me dreaming about going back to Mount Magazine later this fall. I bet the autumn colors in this area are amazing!

Mount Magazine Cameron Bluff Overlook Drive
Mount Magazine Cameron Bluff Overlook Drive
Mount Magazine Cameron Bluff Overlook Drive
Mount Magazine Cameron Bluff Overlook Drive

All the hikes we chose were short and fun. I liked the mini hikes because it allowed us to explore several different trails. We balanced hiking with other fun activities like swimming and going to a local brewery. I’ll write more about that on my next post.