Nestled between the Ozark National Forest to the north, and the Ouachita National Forest to the south, Mount Magazine State Park boasts the highest point in the state of Arkansas: Mount Magazine at 2753 feet. Located just 100 miles northwest of Little Rock, this area has been a recreation destination since the late 1800s. Recreation at Mount Magazine really started booming in the 1930s and 40s with the construction of a lodge, campgrounds and trails. Visitors came to beat the heat of the surrounding valleys, as well as to enjoy the panoramic views, abundant wildflowers, autumn color, and numerous opportunities to play outdoors. The area finally became a state park in 1998.
Whether you prefer a posh lodge or cabin, a fully-equipped RV pad, or a rustic campsite, there’s a place for you to stay and play at Mount Magazine. The park’s campground offers 18 spacious sites with full or partial hookups. Amenities include flush toilets, hot showers and a dump station. Campers are required to store food and trash properly to minimize black bear encounters. For more luxuriant accommodations, the park’s lodge offers 60 guest rooms and spa suites with a variety of comforts, as well as 13 full-equipped cabins with up to three bedrooms. Not in the mood for hot dogs over the campfire? The large dining room at the Skycrest Restaurant serves daily meals while overlooking the Petit Jean River Valley.
When you’re ready to play on Mount Magazine, you can do it by foot, wheels or wings. Hikers have access to 14 miles of trails, ranging from 1 to 3 miles, with connecting options for going farther. The 34-mile Huckleberry Mountain Trail is great for mountain biking and horseback riding. For gravity-defying activities, the park offers more than 100 climbing routes on its southern bluff, as well as a hang gliding launch point over the Petit Jean River Valley. Less strenuous activities include bird and wildlife watching, guided ranger walks, historic site tours and various interpretive programs and outdoor skills workshops. There’s also spectacular leaf-peeping in the fall when the forest takes on its vibrant autumn transformation.
Mount Magazine is a mountaintop oasis in NW AR. It is definitely NOT a family SP. It is structured for adults to enjoy a peaceful, tranquil, serene campground. The campground is small and has a typical setup with 30/50A, water, fire ring and picnic table. There are only 18 sites and are booked WELL in advance. We had to book our site almost a year in advance.
There is not much to do in the campground. There is access to hiking trails and to Signal Hill (the highest point in AR). The lodge is gorgeous and the restaurant has a buffet on Friday nights that is very good. There was an annual yoga retreat the weekend we were there which crowded the lodge, but the cabins and lodge have beautiful views of the valley.
Mt. Magazine is an amazing park (for adults), and make an effort to get there!
I went to Mt Magazine in the fall and it is truly a spectacular park. For anyone with kids, I would say at the outset that this isn't a very kid-friendly park. No playgrounds, very, very mountainous, and generally just not a park for kids. With that said, if you're a hiker, photographer or someone who can't wait to chase down the spectacular view, this park is for you. Also, Magazine is one of the few parks that offers climbers great opportunities to work their skills. The park essentially sits on top of a bluff that is nearly surrounded on all sides by straight rock face. There is ample opportunity for anyone into repelling or climbing to indulge themselves.
Magazine is one of the smallest parks I've been to. There aren't many camping sites at all. Each site is large and the camping area is spread out quite a bit. It's a great place to achieve some seclusion. To that end, there ins't much at the park. It's definitely a place where you need to pack well and plan to cook. It isn't easy to get anywhere at all. That's particular true if you don't have a vehicle that handles elevation well. Further, due to the elevation and drastic temperature change from the base of the mountain and the campground, it frankly isn't safe at all to drive on the mountain in the early morning or evening. I've included a picture to give you an idea of the type of fog I had to drive through on my way to the campsite at about 11:30 in the morning. One evening on our trip, we were stupid enough to attempt the trek at night and I seriously couldn't see 1 foot in front of my truck. My advice, stay on the mountain. The campground is like most Arkansas parks. It's very well kept and clean and the bath house was very nice as far as state parks go. You can't go wrong.
Apart from the campsites, I would add another note for anyone with a spouse like mine who would prefer to stay in places that look like ski lodges instead of our PUP. This place fits the bill and some. The lodge on top of the mountain is spectacular and looks like something you would see in the mountains of Colorado. During our trip, my brother and I ate dinner one night at the lodge and went with the surf and turf buffet - good choice, Donny; very good choice. There's also a bar in the lodge, among other things. The view off the back porch of the lodge is one of the best I've seen save for maybe Petit Jean. Apparently Mt Nebo is better but I haven't been yet. I am going this fall so I may have to update this post if it is. Either way, the back porch of the Lodge is equipped with several large rocking chairs and it is definitely a place to catch up on some tranquility and peaceful gazing. Most of the rooms in the lodge have private balconies that look out over the mountain as well. If your significant other isn't a "camper," they will definitely be pleased with the accommodations at the lodge.
Overall, if you want a place to escape for a weekend and get the feel of a high-end ski lodge for half the cost, this is your place. It's essentially camping in the heavens with the spectacular views and sunsets from all angles. The only thing I would add as a last note of advice is this: the temperature is literally about 10-15 degrees cooler on the mountain than below. One night we were there it got down to mid teens. So unless you're going in July, I would recommend you pack a pair of pants, long sleeves and maybe even a light jacket. You will probably be cold otherwise.
If you are ever driving through Arkansas a trip to Mount Magazine State Park is a must. Mount Magazine is the state’s highest point topping out at 2,753 feet and delivers sweeping views of broad valleys, lakes, winding rivers, and distant mountains. The rugged rock outcroppings protrude from the densely wooded forests. What makes this park even more spectacularly beautiful is that it is surrounded by National Forest lands encompassing glorious acres of woods.
In the late 1800’s, the railroad made travel easier and people were drawn to the area for its cooler weather and awe-inspiring scenic beauty. Resort lodges and restaurants sprang up and the resort “Town of Mount Magazine” began. Soon a post office, parks, streets and a dance pavilion dotted the town. The town took a turn when drought, erosion, and the Great Depression brought the town to collapse. The 1934 Resettlement Act purchased all the private land on the mountain and was shortly transferred to the U.S. Forest Service. In the late 1930’s and 40’s, the Works Progress Administration built campgrounds, trails, cabins, and a lodge were constructed. A fire destroyed the lodge in 1971. In 1998, Arkansas State Parks entered into a cooperative agreement with the USDA Forest Service to develop Mount Magazine State Park. The lodge reopened in 2006 and graces the same beautiful setting as the original structure.
We found this park very relaxing which is kind of amazing because there is so much for outdoor enthusiasts to do making it hard to sit still. There are miles and miles of hiking trails, horseback riding, hang gliding launches, cycling, and some of the most dramatic locations for rock climbing and rappelling. The diverse mountain ecosystem offers amazing bird watching and wildlife viewing and provides habitat for over 90 species of butterflies. Many were brightening the woods when we were there. We were there at a time when wildflowers were blooming so the forest floor was lit up with color. The higher altitude and cooler weather on the mountain meant that trees had not leafed out yet but a look down in the valley was a stark contrast with trees fully leafed out. The park has a relatively small campground with a meek 18 sites with full hook-up (two of which are 50 amp). Campsites are well-spaced with gravel pads and patios with fire pits and picnic tables. We so enjoyed hanging around our campsite but for those that don’t camp you will be perfectly comfortable in the lodge or cabins.
The Lodge at Mount Magazine has breath-taking views and some rooms have spa tubs on their balconies to enjoy the view. Thirteen cabins dot the ridge line offering the same awesome views and Jacuzzi tub options on your balcony. At the lodge is The Skycrest Restaurant which is a nice treat for those not wanting to cook. We decided to have drinks one evening on the veranda enjoying the setting sun lighting the valley. The next day we popped in for lunch where $6 got a plate of open-face prime rib sandwich, mashed potatoes, salad, and squash casserole. Pretty good deal if you ask us.
This state park so worked for us. It was the combination of the reading in a quiet wooded campground, being able to go to the lodge for a drink, lunch and great view and spending hours walking in the woods. The park is a good 30 minutes drive from the nearest town so you may want to stock up so you can just relax on the mountain.
I grew up in Arkansas but had never been here until this past winter. It's an absolutely beautiful place.
I can't wait to return here for summer activities. Awesome lodge with great food, the best view I have seen in ages. The park staff was also great and very helpful. One day we were there the visibility was nil, turns out we were in low clouds, not fog. Pretty cool.
Beautiful camping experience! There were a very limited number of RV sites, but they were all very private feeling and nicely maintained. The bathrooms and showers were immaculate! Hiking was right next to the campground, so this made for a very fun, relaxing weekend! We are definitely going back soon!
We went up for the day to hike. Amazing trip wouldn’t miss it. Stop by the visitor center.
Mount Magazine is a beautiful State Park with great hiking trails. We hiked Signal Hill (highest point in Arkansas) and the North Rim Trail. Both were beautiful. This is a great place for families to camp. There is a welcome center with a small gift shop. Our campsite was spacious with water and electric although we were tent camping. Shower and bathroom facilities were nice and clean. They also had a place to hang glide. We checked out some of the cabins for future options, and they looked amazing with beautiful views.
Magazine Mountain is the highest peak in Arkansas at 2,753 feet. Mount Magazine SP sits at the top of Magazine Mountain. It has 18 RV campsites of varying length, all with water and most have sewer. Two have 50 amp service with the rest having 30. All of the campsites have a large level tent pad, table, fire ring, and plenty of shade. The restrooms/showers are a 4.5 out of 5 for state park facilities.
Mount Magazine SP also has a lodge with a restaurant and and 13 cabins if camping is not your thing.
The park has about 15 miles of hiking trails. The trails are mostly shaded and well defined. Remember you are on a mountain so there will be elevation changes as you walk. We hiked about half of them.
Mount Magazine boasts as one of the top spots for fall foliage. Our visit was in late August so something we will have to come back for, but with the many species of trees I have no doubt it would be beautiful.
Other amenities of the park are multiple picnic areas and a hang glider launch area. Picnic areas are nice. We did not partake of the hand glider launch. No I am not afraid to die, just see no need to rush into it.
Just outside the SP is the Ozark-St. Francis National Forest with 170 miles of OHV trails. Rubi (our Jeep) had fun. Ok we did too.
Mount Magazine SP is a very nice place to visit and one we look forward to coming back to.
Pretty good tow up the mountain. Limited number of sites. Full hookup. A lot of trees. Great lodge if you want to stay there. Restaurant. Great views of the valley below.
We stayed at an RV site at Cameron Campground, #2. Nice shady spot with a picnic table, grill and fire pit. Was also a space for a tent. The picnic table had a few steps up to it.
This site is at the entrance, we might have preferred something at the back. Everyone coming in or out drove by our spot. But the neighbors were all very quiet.
The bathhouse had two showers, several toilets.
Several signs up say beware of bears, but we didn't see any.
We saw LOTS of deer.
Be prepared for a long winding road up the mountain. It's not overly steep, but it takes a while to get ANYWHERE in this part of Arkansas.
Went to Cove Lake (11 miles away, about a 20 minute drive) to fish, but didn't stay long, and didn't catch anything. Cove lake has camping but no hookups.