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.
As you might expect by the name, the hike climbed up hill. We enjoyed the white wildflowers along the path.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Devil’s Den State Park is in West Fork, Arkansas which is a 35-minute drive from our home in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Devil’s Den State Park’s visitor center, picnic areas, and cabins are open all year. Overnight accommodations include full-service cabins, camper cabins, as well as a variety of camp sites. Visitors can check availability online. Devil’s Den State Park also features unique hiking trails that showcase the caves, bluffs, mountain views, and historic architecture within the state park. (Devil’s Den Map)
We wanted to take our puppy on our hike, so we picked a trail that was easy. The Lake Trail in Devil’s Den State Park was the perfect choice. It is a one-mile hike (out and back) on flat terrain.
The trail ultimately leads to Area E Campground. We turned around at this point and returned the way we came.
3 great trails at devil’s Den state park
This is our third hike in Devil’s Den State Park. Lake Trail was the easiest and shortest hike we’ve done. I also highly recommend Devil’s Den Self-Guided trail which is 1.5 miles and rated as moderate.
I’m sad to admit that we’ve been in a hiking slump ever since the temperatures started rising in Arkansas. Summer can mean less comfortable conditions including poison ivy, humidity, pesky bugs, and snakes. The excuses can add up, but I’m happy to report we took advantage of the long holiday weekend to go out on a family hike.
The Pigeon Roost trail takes you through lush woods until you reach a point that looks over Beaver Lake. We sat on the benches and enjoyed a snack along with the views. You can go much further, but we kept the hike short (approximately 1 mile each way) and returned the way we came. We left with a feeling of accomplishment and renewal.
I recently read an article in the New York Times about ‘Nature Deficit Disorder‘ and how the pandemic has had a negative impact on children who don’t have the opportunity to spend much time outdoors. After reading it, I felt grateful for our access to forests, rivers, waterfalls, and lakes here in the Natural State.
I also had a conversation with a neighbor who explained she is taking her three kids on a hiking excursion once a week this summer. I love this idea! I’m starting to research new hikes we can explore before school starts next month.
It’s good to have reminders that the positives of getting outside far exceed the challenges that come along with the summer heat. If you need ideas, I put together a list of hikes we’ve enjoyed so far in Northwest Arkansas. You can read more about them on our Arkansas Hiking and Biking page.
When is the last time you smiled so much your face hurt? For me it was Father’s Day weekend when we got to explore one of the beautiful natural attractions in Northwest Arkansas – Beaver Lake.
Our girls woke my husband and me up at sunrise, bounding into our bedroom already dressed in their swimsuits. They excitedly helped us pack a cooler of snacks and drinks. We stuffed another bag full with beach towels and sunscreen.
They had been counting down the days ever since we announced our plan to rent a boat. We made an online reservation at Lost Bridge Marina in Garfield, Arkansas for a 19 foot ski boat which was the perfect size for our family of four (full capacity is six people).
Besides ski boats, Lost Bridge Marina also rents a variety of pontoons and fishing boats. We added a tube to our rental for an extra $10 per hour.
You can rent boats for a half day or full day. A half day (four hours) was the perfect amount of time for our three and five-year-old daughters to enjoy boating, tubing, snacking, and swimming.
Once you are on the boat, being out on the lake is a great activity during this crazy time when we are all dealing with COVID-19 concerns. At the marina social distancing can be a bit harder, but I thought the marina staff did a great job at balancing good customer service and safety. You can check their website for availability and more information. Reservations fill up quickly.
Another marina on Beaver Lake that offers boat rentals is Starkey Marina in Eureka Springs. Starkey’s rental fleet includes pontoons and tritoons. Prairie Creek Marina in Rogers, Arkansas also rents pontoons and deck boats. Float Eureka isn’t a marina, but they rent stand up paddle boards, kayaks, and canoes.
Even though the grey clouds above warned of rain, we were lucky that the storms held off. The water in Beaver Lake is incredibly clear. My husband was amazed at how far down into the water he could see the anchor when he was dropping it in the cove where we swam. The temperature was also pleasant. This was our first excursion to Beaver Lake. We can’t wait to return!