Majestic mountains, vast forests, famous streams and rushing waterfalls are some of the many memorable sights in Western Arkansas’ Mountain Frontier. Scenic highways and byways cut across the region’s mountainous terrain. Notable scenic spots include Artist Point north of Mountainburg on Scenic Byway 71 and Ozark Bridge on Scenic Highway 23.
State parks offer outstanding outdoor opportunities. Lake Fort Smith State Park near Mountainburg; Mount Magazine State Park near Paris; and Queen Wilhemina State Park near Mena are worth visiting time and time again. Mount Magazine State Park and Queen Wilhelmina State Park boast first-class lodging and dining. Lake Fort Smith State Park features group lodging, camping and fishing.
Recreation areas boast excellent hunting, fishing and wildlife watching. Camp Albert Pike Recreation Area near Mena is located on the Little Missouri River and is stocked annually with rainbow trout. Local and state parks are great for picnicking, nature walking, geocaching and sports, such as softball, tennis, swimming and miniature golf. Locate 18-hole golf courses throughout the region for picture-perfect play.
Lakes and rivers are a sportsman’s paradise with fishing and canoeing for all skill levels. The Buffalo, Mulberry and Petit Jean rivers are all popular places to canoe and kayak. The Cossatot River boasts Class III, IV and V rapids for advanced floaters only. Resorts and outfitters are located throughout the region to supply all of your outdoor needs.
Alma Lake – Located north of Alma Aquatic Park. Floating pier, walking trails and disc golf.
Cossatot River – Beginning southeast of Mena, the Cossatot flows south for about 26 miles to Gillham Lake. The river features class III, IV and V rapids. This river is not for beginners! River level information, (479) 387-3141. Park information, (870) 385-2201.
Mulberry River – Designated a National Wild and Scenic River in 1992. Delivers white-water canoeing and rafting during early spring. The river is approximately 55 miles long and is an excellent choice when angling for bass or sunfish in late spring and early summer. It’s also great for swimming. (479) 667-2949.
Paris City Lake – Located on Hwy. 309 on the way to Mount Magazine. Covers 175 acres and has hosted generations of local fishermen.
Petit Jean River – Located south of Booneville, the beautiful Petit Jean River is home to great fishing and canoeing.
Bell Park – Located north of downtown on Main Street, Greenwood. The large park offers two ball fi elds, a playground, picnic facilities, a volleyball court and horseshoe pits. Amphitheater and events building designed for open-air or closed seating for 300. Famous for its natural beauty, the park offers a bird’s-eye view of the town and valley surrounding the city. Information (479) 996-4119.
Ben Geren Regional Park – This county park has 1,300 acres with everything from the largest disc golf course in the region to more than 12 miles of walking and biking trails. The park also offers sports facilities, a public golf course, picnic areas and a playground. It is also home to the new Parrot Island Water Park. 7200 Zero St., Fort Smith; (479) 646-2444.
Camp Albert Pike Recreation Area – The Little Missouri River is used for canoeing, tubing and swimming, and annually stocked with rainbow trout. A wildlife check station has licenses and supplies for hunting and fishing. Near Mena.
Constitution Park – Picnic and play area, pavilion, tennis court and street hockey court. Behind city hall in Mansfield.
Cossatot River State Park-Natural Area – Facilities include picnic sites, a nature trail, solar-powered restrooms, a pedestrian walkway, an outdoor amphitheater, a playground, exhibit gallery, 22 campsites and 20 miles of hiking trails. 1980 Hwy. 278, Wickes; (870) 385-2201.
Cove Lake Bath House – Located on the 160-acre lake near Mount Magazine. Bathhouse, picnic areas and campsites. Swimming, canoeing, boating, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, horseshoes, mini golf and volleyball. Open yearround. Paris. (479) 963-6421.
Dry Creek Wilderness Area – 6,300 acres featuring secluded forest, flowing streams and sandstone bluffs. Offers a wide variety of scenic resources. ATV trails at Sugar Creek Multi-use Trail. Near Waldron.
Fort Smith River Park – Fort Smith’s riverfront features additional venues for work or play at the River Park complex including an amphitheater, events building and pavilion.
Greenwood Lake Trails and Recreation – Located on Mt. Harmony Road. Offers fishing, canoeing and kayaking. Also includes three miles of multipurpose trails around the lake. This is the city’s water supply source, so no motors are allowed on the lake.
Jack Creek Recreation Area – Jack Creek offers beautiful hiking trails, bluffs, and picnic and swimming areas. About 10 miles south of Booneville and 20 miles east of Waldron.
Janssen Park – Beautifully landscaped 10-acre historic park in the heart of downtown. Peace and tranquility abound. Ideal location for family picnics and strolling or relaxing beside two natural bodies of water with fl owing fountains. Mena.
Knoppers Ford Recreation Area – Beautiful bluffs, picnic and camping sites, and Sugar Creek Equestrian Trail. About 12 miles south of Booneville in the Ouachita National Forest.
Lake Fort Smith State Park – Features 10 fully equipped cabins, group lodging, campsites, picnic sites, a pavilion, marina, swimming pool, walking trails and visitor’s center. Eight miles north of Mountainburg; (479) 369-2469.
Lee Creek Reservoir Recreation Area – Boating ramps, fishing pier, hiking trails, wildlife areas and public restrooms. Van Buren. (479) 784-2248.
Little Pines Recreation Area – Camping facilities for RVs and tents, picnic area, swimming, fishing, boat ramp areas, restrooms and dump station. West of Waldron on Hwy. 248 near Lake Hinkle.
Mansfi eld City Lake Park – A nineacre park with covered picnic tables, a pavilion, camping area and 40-acre fishing lake with boat launching ramp. East of Mansfield.
McMillan Park – Park consists of an Olympic-size pool, baseball fields, picnic areas and tennis courts. Mena.
Mount Magazine State Park – Campsites are available all year. A very impressive lodge at Mount Magazine and fully equipped cabins. Atop Mount Magazine.
Ouachita National Forest – 1.6-million- acre forest has picnic areas, campgrounds and trails. West central Arkansas; (501) 321-5200.
Ozark Highlands Hiking Trail – One of the longest hiking trails in the country. Extends 180 miles from Lake Fort Smith State Park to the Buffalo National River, passing through eight public campgrounds. Local access is 17 miles north of Ozark on Scenic Highway 23. (479) 667-2949.
Ozark National Forest – 1.2-millionacre forest has campgrounds, picnic areas, lakes, trails and cabins. Take the picturesque drive from Ozark via Scenic Highway 23 (The Pig Trail). (479) 667-2949.
Poteau Mountain Hiking – Miles of trails on Poteau Mountain (USFS) just south of Mansfield. Hiking, ATV and equestrian trails.
Queen Wilhelmina State Park – Perched atop rugged Rich Mountain nearly 3,000 feet above sea level, the lodge and restaurant are open following a $9.7 million renovation. The park has camping, a miniature railroad, miniature golf and hiking trails. 3877 Hwy. 88 West, Mena; 1-800-264-2477; www.queenwilhelmina.com.
Shady Lake Recreation Area – A 25-acre lake is the centerpiece of this playground in the Ouachita Mountains. Beach, fishing, swimming, picnic and camping sites, a boat and fishing dock, hiking trails and an amphitheater. Near Mena and enjoying the scenery that surrounds.
Sodie Davidson Park – Includes swimming pool, ball fields, soccer fields, a tennis court and pond for fishing. Waldron. WAMF 30918 pg48-53.indd 33 5/17/17 3:46 PM 52 . WESTERN ARKANSAS' MOUNTAIN FRONTIER
Springhill Park – U.S. Corps of Engineers park adjacent to the Arkansas River. Camping, fishing, boating, boat ramps, playgrounds, pavilions, flush toilets and showers. 1.5 miles north of Barling on Ark. Hwy. 59.
Wolf Pen Gap ATV Trail – The 50- mile trail is the first formal trail system specifi cally for four-wheelers and dirt bikes in the Ouachita National Forest. Near Mena; (479) 394-2382.
Arkansas River – Fishing opportunities abound on the river. Recreation areas feature picnic facilities and boat launching ramps.
Blue Mountain Lake – A favorite spot for fishing and water sports. Five Corps of Engineers recreation and camping sites around the lake. 17 miles east of Booneville on Hwy. 10.
Charleston Lake – Located at the end of South School Street off Highway 22, this lake offers fishing by boat or pier, as well as RV camping and a pavilion.
Cove Lake – Swimming, caneoing, boating, fishing, camping, hiking, horse shoes, volleyball, putt putt and great concessions will keep you busy for a weekend or a week at beautiful Cove Lake. (479) 963-6421; www.recreation.gov.
Fourche La Fave River – Great for canoeing and smallmouth bass fishing. Near “Y” City south of Waldron.
Lake Fort Smith and Shores Lake – Lakes feature good fishing for bass andpanfish. Mountainburg area near White Rock Mountain.
Lake Jack Nolen – East of Greenwood off Highway 10 and Chisomville Road. Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Lake with two paved parking areas and concrete boat ramp. No skiing or swimming allowed.
Lakes Hinkle, Waldron and Square Rock – All three are great for bass and panfish. Near Waldron.
Mansfi eld City Lake and Park – Fishing, camping, covered picnic tables and a pavilion. Off Broadway Street east of Mansfield.
Ozark Lake – Created by Ozark Lock and Dam on the Arkansas River. “Aux Arc” Park with full camping facilities. South of bridge on Hwy. 23.
Truman Baker Lake and Park – Four-acre lake with pavilions. Great for picnics and fishing. On Haw Creek near Waldron.
Artist Point – Scenic Byway 71, eight miles north of Mountainburg. Officially known as the “Grand Canyon of the Ozarks.” Voted one of the most photographic spots in America.
McClure Amphitheater – Outdoor amphitheater at Chaffee Crossing with stunning views of the city of Fort Smith. (479) 784-2368.
Mountainburg Area/Scenic Byway 71 – Shopping, antiques, crafts, lodging, restaurants and outdoor activities from Rudy to Winslow. Former Butterfield Stagecoach Route. Great opportunities for scenic drives and sightseeing.
Natural Dam – Located approximately 15 miles north of Van Buren in the Boston Mountain range of the Ozarks. All natural rock wall spanning 200 feet wide. Excellent place for a picnic with beautiful mountain views.
Ozark Bridge – Has been called one of the 16 prettiest bridges in the nation. Now lighted. Scenic Hwy. 23.
Reed Mountain Park – Overlooks the Arkansas River and the Ozark-Jeta Taylor Lock and Dam. Hwy. 64 east of Ozark.
St. Mary’s Mountain – Take Altus exit 41 off I-40 to Hwy. 186 for a drive past vineyards, wineries and St. Mary’s historic church. Take in the views of Mount Magazine, the state’s highest point.
Trail of Tears Overlook – Located at Belle Pointe, the site of the fi rst fort, and what is now preserved as part of the Fort Smith National Historic Site, this scenic spot overlooks the convergence of the Arkansas and Poteau Rivers. When Native Americans were forcibly removed from their homes into what is now Oklahoma, Fort Smith was the “end of the trail” as it stood on the edge of Indian Territory.
White Rock Mountain – This Franklin County peak near Scenic Hwy. 23 is one of the tallest in the area. North of Mulberry and east of Mountainburg.
Highway 282 – Begins in Mountainburg at its junction with Scenic Byway 71 and continues eight miles to rejoin 71.
Mount Magazine Scenic Byway – Ark. Hwy. 309, a National Scenic Byway, winds to the top of Mount Magazine. Overlooks show the valleys and lakes of Logan and Yell Counties.
Scenic Byway 10 – This stretch of state scenic highway begins in Ola and travels through Magazine and Booneville northwest to the Oklahoma state line. The portion west of Greenwood is known as the Sugar Loaf Mountain Scenic Byway.
Scenic Byway 71 – Travels north from Mena across the Boston Mountains – highest peaks in the Ozark Mountains – through Fort Smith.
Scenic Highway 22 – Beautiful route takes you by Subiaco Academy and other points of interest as it travels west from Dardanelle through Paris and Charleston into Fort Smith.
Scenic Highway 23 – A National Scenic Byway connecting from Scenic Byway 71 south of Booneville, northward from Ozark to its junction with Ark. Hwy. 16. The Byway is known as “Pig Trail” to Razorback football enthusiasts.
Scenic Highway 186 – Off I-40, this scenic highway travels through Arkansas Wine Country with a gorgeous overlook on St. Mary’s Mountain before connecting with U.S. Hwy. 64 in Altus.
Poteau Mountain Scenic Byway 96 – This Arkansas scenic highway begins in Mansfi eld and heads west across the rolling hills of the northern Ouachita Mountains to Oklahoma, with an additional stretch extending south from Hartford to Square Rock Lake and Scenic Byway 71. The forest road section of this byway is known as the Poteau Mountain Rustic Byway.
Talimena Scenic Drive – This National Forest Scenic Byway winding 54 miles from Mena to Talihina, Oklahoma, offers breathtaking panoramas of the surrounding countryside from peaks of nearly 3,000 feet.
U.S. Scenic Highway 64 – The route runs parallel to I-40 from near Johnson County line east of Clarksville to Ozark in Franklin County.