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.
Lakes & Rivers
Located north of Alma Aquatic Park. Floating pier, walking trails and disc golf.
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.
This pristine lake at the base of Mount Magazine offers visitors swimming, boating, camping and fishing. Near Paris and Booneville.
Beginning southeast of Mena, the Cossatot flows south for about 26 miles to Gilham Lake. The river features Class III, IV and V rapids. This river is not for beginners. For river level information, call 479-387-3141.
Fourche La Fave River
Smallmouth bass fishing near "Y" City.
Starting in the Ozark National Forest and flowing westward, it delivers whitewater canoeing and rafting during early spring and fishing in late spring and early summer. A National Wild and Scenic River. White water rafting and canoeing at its best. The approximately 55-mile long Mulberry River is definitely one of the state's wildest rivers during spring. The stream is clear and cool! In 1985, the General Assembly declared the Mulberry to be "a scenic river of the State of Arkansas" and in 1992 was designated a National Wild and Scenic River.
Lake Fort Smith
Mountainburg area lake featuring good fishing for bass and panfish.
Lake Jack Nolen
This lake, built in 1990 by the Game and Fish Commission, is well stocked with several varieties of fish. Chisomville Road, Greenwood.
Lakes Hinkle, Waldron, and Sqaure Rock
Near Waldron, all three are great for catches of bass and panfish.
Created by Ozark Lock and Dam on the Arkansas River, also features Aux Arc Park with campsites available. South of bridge on Hwy. 23. The Lake covers 10,600 acres of water area; the shoreline extends for a distance of 173 miles with a land area of 6,349 acres surrounding the lake. Major recreational activities include sightseeing, camping, boating, swimming, skiing, hiking, fishing, hunting, picnicking, scuba diving, and more.
Petit Jean River
Located south of Booneville, the beautiful Petit Jean River is home to great fishing and canoeing.
Located near Mulberry, this 82 acre-lake is known for excellent fishing, swimming, hiking and picnicking.
Parks & Recreation Areas
Aux Arc Park
A Corps of Engineers Campground, offers 84 shaded sites with electric and water hook ups, 4 sites with no electric or water, and three group shelters. Additional amenities include a dump station, two playgrounds, hot showers, and a boat ramp. 479-667-1100
One of the area’s highest lookout points. Playgrounds, picnic tables, nature trails disc golf, and a new rock promenade. Located at North Main, Greenwood. 479-996-4119.
Ben Geren Regional Park
700 acres of fun including a golf course, softball fields, tennis courts, a swimming pool, fitness course, Go-Karts, soccer fields and miniature golf. 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 is annually stocked with rainbow trout. A wildlife check station has licenses and supplies for hunting and fishing. Near Mena.
Cossatot River State Park - Natural Area
Stretches 12 miles long and offers facilities such as picnic sites, a nature trail, river access and a pedestrian walkway. Located at 1980 Hwy. 278 W., Wickes. Phone: 870-385-2201.
Ride the mini-train at the expansive Creekmore Park for 25 cents. Park includes playgrounds, a train, mini-golf, swimming, tennis, pavillions, and excersize trail and a community center. Call (479) 784-2368 or visit the Web site at www.fortsmithparks.com
Fort Smith River Park
New complex fronting the Arkansas River features an ampitheater, events building and a pavillion with an open-air style market. A mile-long, paved River Walk connects to the Fort Smith National Historic Site. Call (479) 784-1006 or visit the Web site at www.fortsmithparks.com
Lake Fort Smith State Park
Located on the western side of 1,400-acre Lake Fort Smith, eight miles north of Mountainburg. Features all new facilities including campsites, a group lodge with kitchenette that can accommodate up to 32 people, picnic sites, a pavilion, swimming pool with adjacent wading pool and a splash pad, marina with boat rentals, boat launch ramp, hiking trails, playground and a visitor center with exhibits, meeting rooms and an outdoor patio with fireplace and lake views. 479-369-2469.
Goose Harbor Marina
Full-service marina on the Arkansas River. Boat and slip rentals, fuel, boat accessories, and motor repairs. Mike Meyer Riverfront Park, Van Buren.
Historical Forrester Park
"The Town That Moved Away." In 1940, this town had a population of 1,306 and was self-sustaining. Area has picnic facilities with covered pavillion, photos, information and maps of the town as it once was.
Jack Creek Recreation Area
Located about 10 miles south of Booneville, Jack Creek offers beautiful hiking trails, bluffs, and picnic and swimming areas.
Beautifully landscaped 10-acre historic park in the heart of downtown Mena. Ideal location for family picnics and strolling or relaxing beside two natural bodies of water with flowing fountains.
Knopper Ford Recreation Area
Features scenic bluffs, picnic areas, campsites and the Sugar Creek Equestrian Trail. 12 miles south of Booneville in the Ouachita National Forest.
Park consists of an Olympic-size pool, baseball fields, picnic areas and tennis courts. Mena.
Mount Magazine State Park
Highest peak in the state at 2,753 feet providing glorious views. Thirteen cabins, 60-room lodge, restaurant, conference center, swimming pool, exercise room and gift shop. Camping and RV hookups on-site. Excellent hiking, hang gliding and rappelling. Located at 16878 Hwy. 309 S., Paris. 877-665-6343.
Queen Wilhelmina State Park
Perched atop rugged Rich Mountain at 2,681 feet above sea level, the lodge has guest rooms, private meeting rooms and a restaurant. The park offers camping, hiking trails and interpretive services. 3877 Hwy. 88 W., Mena. 800-264-2477.
Reed Mountain Park, Overlook and Nature Trail
A 7/8 mile trail with magnificent views of the city, Ozark Lake and Arkansas River.
Shady Lake Recreation Area
Includes a 25-acre lake, beach, fishing, swimming, picnic and camping sites, a boat dock, fishing dock, hiking trails and an amphitheater. Near Mena.
U.S. Corps of Engineers park adjacent to the Arkansas River. Camping, fishing, boating, boat ramps, playgrounds, pavilions, restrooms and showers. Located 1.5 miles north of Barling on Ark. Hwy. 59.
The Park at West End
Ride on a vintage carousel or Ferris wheel. Dine in an antique rail car or enjoy concession from a classic double decker bus. A fun "retro" amusement park. Hours vary according to season.
Truman Baker Park
This park features an eight acre lake and pavillions, and was voted most photogenic park in the U.S. Located on Hwy. 71 south of Waldron.
Features the Creekmore Park train, mini-golf, tennis courts, swimming pool, community room, pavilions, playgrounds, exercise trails. During the winter holidays, the park is decorated with dozens of shaped holiday light displays. Rogers Ave. & S. 31st St. 479-784-2368. FortSmithParks.com
Carol Ann Cross Park
Park and picnic facilities surround a pond with ducks and geese, with a walking trail around the pond’s parameter. Paddleboat rental, fishing. 1601 S. 74th St. 479-784-2368. FortSmithParks.com
Fort Smith Dog Park
38 fenced acres of fields, paths and a small pond for dogs and their owners to enjoy off-leash play. Separate area available for small dogs. Doggie water fountain, Mitt Station, benches. Massard Rd. & Louisville St. 479-784-2368. FortSmithParks.com
Fort Smith Park
Boating and fishing on the Arkansas River, performance area, basketball courts, soccer field, picnic areas, pavilion, restrooms, walking trail. 5301 Clayton Expressway. 479-784-2368. FortSmithParks.com
Eight full-sized baseball and softball fields for competitive play. Reservations required. Old Greenwood Rd. 479-785-4225. FortSmithParks.com
Martin Luther King Jr. Park
Skatepark, Sprayground, playground, soccer fields, basketball courts, baseball fields, walking trail, restrooms, picnic facilities. Greenwood Ave. & N. O St. 479-784-2368. FortSmithParks.com
Playground, historic cannon, wading pool, 9-hole disc golf course, basketball courts, volleyball, tennis courts, picnic facilities, walking trail, concessions. 479-784-2368. FortSmithParks.com