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63 In Arkansas/ Hiking + The Outdoors/ Travel

A Tale of Two Trails – Mount Magazine State Park

Every year my dad and I take a father/daughter hiking trip together. This year we stayed in the Ozarks, but went to a place neither of us have been. So, we wound up at Mount Magazine State Park. This is where the tallest point in all of Arkansas is. When researching the trip, we found that they had several trails, so we knew it would be a successful hiking trip.

Taking the Pig Trail:

The Pig Trail is one of the National Scenic Byways that cuts through the beautiful Natural State. My dad was really excited to take this drive because when he worked in Arkansas, he used to love taking this route. It’s called the Pig Trail because it looks like a pig’s tail. Here are couple of photos I got to take along the gorgeous drive.

One of the Overlooks Along the Way

Taking on Some of the Super Tight Turns

Cove Lake Trail/Mount Magazine Trail [9.5 miles]

Mount Magazine

We landed on doing the longest trail in the park – it starts in the state park and then continues over nine miles into the Ozark National Forest. That was about the extent of our planning.  The trail takes you from the Mount Magazine Campground – where we were staying – down the mountain and ends at Cove Lake. Sounds amazing and scenic, huh?

Mount Magazine

Mount Magazine State Park has a shuttle service that will take you to one end or the other (you can even leave your car at a specific end). When we asked the park ranger when we got into the shuttle if he had done the hike he said yeah, “It’s a great way to stretch your legs.” We sort-of laughed and rode on to the trail head. The State Park was out of maps for the trail so we took some photos of it on our phones from the big map at the trailhead.

 

So, you know how I said that this hike sounds like it would be scenic? Well, it wasn’t. It was 9.5 miles in a green tunnel. Normally something like this would really bother me, especially if it was a short hike. However, when you’re planning on seeing something beautiful for 9.5 miles, it’s sort-of a disappointment. Plus, you wanna know a little secret? I’m insanely out of shape! Ha! Matt and I usually did several miles of hikes in a week, but since we’re saving money for our big trip, we’ve not been going very often. I also learned that it is time to replace my hiking boots. I haven’t replaced mine since 2014 and I got loads of blisters. The good thing about this hike, even though it wasn’t the beauty I was expecting was the company. I loved being able to spend time with my dad.

Mount Magazine Mount Magazine Mount Magazine Mount Magazine

This was the best mountain view we got along the whole trail!

One lesson I learned, though, was to ask more questions about trails. Don’t just assume the longest trail is the best. Sometimes it’s just the longest.

The Unofficial Sunset Trail

This was our favorite trail and we didn’t even get to see all of it! This trail is 2 miles each way, out and back, and it’s really flat, easy to hike (which was good for our aching muscles) and exceptionally beautiful! We started out intending to go all the way to the end, which is referred to as ‘Sunset Point’, but we were sore and going to be heading home later that night, so we stopped at around a mile and went back to a beautiful spot to catch the sunset. Plus, it had a ton of bluffs and such that we could climb out on and explore while we waited for the sun to set. It was super stunning.

       

How to Find this Unofficial Trail:

 

While it sounds super exclusive or hidden, the rangers and employees of Mount Magazine State Park that we spoke to are all in agreement that it’s their favorite trail. Because of this, maps have been made as well! So, you simply go to the Picnic Area at Brown Spring (which is a beautiful view as well) and look for a sign that says, Danger High Cliff! The trail starts just beyond there. It’s easy and stunning, and once you start the unofficial trail it’s well-marked. There are multiple wet-water-waterfalls (marked with signs) + rock formations along the way. Don’t forget many of the waterfalls in Arkansas only flow in times of lots of rain. So, if you’re going waterfall hunting in the Ozarks, research whether or not it’s a wet-weather waterfall or not.

A Few Tips for Visiting Mount Magazine State Park:

Where to Stay?

A Couple of Photos from Inside the Gorgeous Lodge

You can stay at the beautiful lodge that overlooks a lake and more mountains. There are loads of chairs that you can sit on to take in the view on the back deck. There’s a common room that has the same view with a large fireplace – I’m sure it’s perfect  in the fall.

While the lodge is awesome, it was more than we were wanting to spend on a father/daughter hiking trip. So, we sprung for the campground. We stayed in the section that has an awesome bathhouse, there’s electricity, which was nice for phone + camera charging at night, a fire pit and a perfect spot to pitch a tent, or bring your camper. There’s also a very basic campground that costs even less, but it has no bathhouse, just simple toilets and no electricity.

Eating at the Skycrest Restaurant in the Lodge:

I cannot emphasize enough how delicious the Skycrest Restaurant is. We were there over the weekend which meant we got to take advantage of their Sunday breakfast buffet. I’m not typically the biggest fan of buffets because they’re often bland and full of mediocre foods. That was not the case here. Everything was incredibly delicious and included a made-to-order omelet! Their biscuits + gravy, home fries and cinnamon rolls were among my favorites. We went back here for dinner and found that their burgers were very reasonably priced and their portions are massive. If you get a side, get their fried okra. It was delicious.

 

We didn’t get to explore all of the beautiful trails in Mount Magazine state park, but we enjoyed our time together. Time together is the best part of these father/daughter trips. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to get to see this beautiful country with my dad. I had a blast on this one and I can’t wait to see where our next one takes us!

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63 Comments

  • Reply
    Tania Mukherjee
    July 25, 2017 at 10:59 pm

    Sometimes the best of the views are found enroute hidden trails. I am glad that you enjoyed the view in the unofficial trail. I liked the picture of the turtle very much; the part of the world I am in, we get to see them only in a zoo.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      August 8, 2017 at 8:35 am

      The unofficial trail was definitely my favorite! That’s so interesting! If you ever come to the Ozarks in the summer, you’ll see tons of turtles! We have a mama turtle who nests in my parents’ backyard every year and then there are tons of baby turtles!

  • Reply
    Sandy N Vyjay
    July 26, 2017 at 12:57 am

    It always pays to veer off the beaten path and take the path that is less trod. The trails of Mount Magazine state park look really exciting. The fact that you were with your father would have made it really special.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      August 8, 2017 at 8:37 am

      They are really pretty, except for the most-less trodden trail. That long trail was pretty tough!

  • Reply
    Danni L
    July 26, 2017 at 5:34 am

    What a lovely bonding experience! The camping seems really comfortable with electricity etc versus places I have stayed. The idea of 9.5 miles in a tunnel made me laugh, but you clearly had fun and saw awesome things in any case!

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      August 8, 2017 at 8:38 am

      We did manage to see some other great things in addition to that green tunnel. It was all about the company, right?!

  • Reply
    Vibeke Johannessen
    July 26, 2017 at 9:26 am

    Such a great way to spend time with your dad. My dad would never go on hikes like that. This one looks so beautiful and so nice you saw a deer and a turtle. Seems so calm as well. My kind of hikes. 😃

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      August 8, 2017 at 8:39 am

      It was extremely calming. The hikes are stunning and we saw so many deer! My dad is quite the trooper! We’ve done so many amazing trails together!

  • Reply
    Bucket List Journeys
    July 26, 2017 at 10:26 am

    OMG! What an incredible memory/ experience with your father!

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      August 8, 2017 at 8:40 am

      It was a great time with my dad. He’s the best!

  • Reply
    Patricia Steffy (@PLSteffy)
    July 26, 2017 at 10:58 am

    I love that you take yearly hikes with your dad! Even though the trail was more than 9 miles of green tunnel, the time spent with him is priceless. Plus, you found out you need new hiking boots! 🙂 I would have disappointed in the hike, too, particularly something that long. But I would have loved the sunset trail, and you did get some amazing photos. Of course, all I could think about was “man, I need to get back into shape.”

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      August 8, 2017 at 5:20 pm

      It’s a tradition that I love more than anything. I definitely did find that out. Too bad I didn’t figure it out on a shorter hike, huh?! Haha! But we did get to take in some spectacular sights! Haha!

  • Reply
    Candy
    July 26, 2017 at 1:19 pm

    I love that you get to spend so much quality time with your father. I wish I could spend more time with my parents. Such a bummer that the route wasn’t scenic and9.5 miles of green tunnel. I don’t do long hikes, so this would have been such a disappointment for me 🙁 In the end, it looks like you still had an awesome time and managed to capture gorgeous photos.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      August 8, 2017 at 5:21 pm

      I love it too! I’m super close to my parents – it makes it hard when we travel away from them long term, though. It was a bummer, but time spent together was worth it. And the last trail we hit was great! Thanks for reading!

  • Reply
    ChantellC
    July 26, 2017 at 4:28 pm

    What a super lovely experience to have with your Dad! I have only been to Arkansas once but not to hike, unfortunately although I have heard that there are some great treks there. You definitely look like you had a great time so I will keep this in mind the next time I am in the area.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      August 8, 2017 at 5:24 pm

      Thank you, Chantell. You’ll definitely have to hit the trails the next time you go through Arkansas!

  • Reply
    Laura
    July 26, 2017 at 9:23 pm

    I love so much that you and your father do this each year. How fun that must be – such a great tradition! I’ve been to the Ozarks for a bluegrass festival about six years ago; my friends and I drove down on a whim from Chicago. I’d also go for the campsite option as I love camping. Great post!

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      August 8, 2017 at 5:25 pm

      Thanks, Laura! I really love that we do it, and have continued it through my adulthood – traditions like that are easy to lose with life catches up, ya know? That would be so much fun! Where was the festival?!

  • Reply
    Mel Butler
    July 27, 2017 at 8:10 am

    I love the fact that you do a father daughter hiking trip every year that is so good. My dad came and visited me last year in England and we went traveling in Europe, it was so much fun. Would you believe it is his birthday tomorrow 🙂 Also, I am a huge fan of hiking so Mount Magazine State Park is definitly being pinned and added to my list.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      August 8, 2017 at 5:27 pm

      That sounds like a blast! Happy Birthday (a bit late now) to your father! You’d definitely l love Mount Magazine! Thanks for pinning and reading! Cheers!

  • Reply
    Cat
    July 27, 2017 at 1:17 pm

    I’d love a hiking trip like that with my dad! It really is a good way to catch up and bond with each other. The view from the sunset point is beautiful!

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      August 8, 2017 at 5:46 pm

      You should definitely do it! It’s always a great trip!

  • Reply
    WorldGlimpses
    July 29, 2017 at 1:55 pm

    Your photos are amazing. Being a sucker for mountain views, I had to go back few times to have another glance at those landscapes. And it’s always great to have such a quality time with our parents, isn’t it. Lovely post! 🙂

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      August 8, 2017 at 5:47 pm

      Thank you so much! I’m a sucker for mountain views myself! Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • Reply
    Danik
    July 29, 2017 at 2:49 pm

    I do at lot of walking through trails and would love to tackle this one. The photos and post is giving me ideas if I ever get near the state park. 🙂

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      August 8, 2017 at 5:48 pm

      You’ll definitely have to check it out!

  • Reply
    WanderingCarol
    July 29, 2017 at 3:50 pm

    I’d like to hike the Pig Trail just so I could say I hiked the Pig Trail. The unofficial Sunset Trail sounds wonderful, too. How nice that you can spend time like that with your father.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      August 8, 2017 at 5:49 pm

      You might get ran over if you hiked the Pig Trail 😉 It’s a scenic byway with tight turns, so you should absolutely take a drive on it some time! It’s beautiful.

  • Reply
    Andrew, Brenda & B (@DishOurTown)
    July 29, 2017 at 4:14 pm

    What a sweet tradition with your dad. The best tip was that the longest trail is mot necessarily the most beautiful, it’s just the longest. My 13-year-old daughter would especially appreciate those sentiments. Would love to visit Mount Magazine one day soon.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      August 8, 2017 at 5:52 pm

      It’s one that I truly trail. It was a hard-learned lesson that day. Haha!

  • Reply
    Postcards To Seattle
    July 29, 2017 at 4:18 pm

    This looks like such a scenic area! I’ve never been here before, but would love to visit and hike.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      August 8, 2017 at 8:40 pm

      It’s definitely beautiful and worth a visit!

  • Reply
    Roaming Required (@RoamingRequired)
    July 29, 2017 at 6:40 pm

    Looks like a lovely opportunity to spend quality time with your dad

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      August 8, 2017 at 8:41 pm

      It absolutely was that! I definitely love hitting the trails with my dad.

  • Reply
    Cindy Collins
    July 29, 2017 at 9:42 pm

    The un-official trail looks amazing and what a great way to spend quality time with your dad.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      August 8, 2017 at 8:42 pm

      It was absolutely stunning and I had even better company, which is the best part! Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • Reply
    SherianneKay
    July 30, 2017 at 9:45 am

    I love the Ozarks, especially all the springs! This is such a great memory to share with your dad!

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      August 8, 2017 at 8:43 pm

      There are a lot of amazing springs! We went to two different springs this week in Missouri!

  • Reply
    forever roaming the world
    July 30, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    Looks like a really great hike, love your pictures too. I’d love to do a hike here 😀

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      August 8, 2017 at 8:46 pm

      Thank you. The first hike was just alright, but the second was phenomenal!

  • Reply
    Juliette | Snorkels to Snow
    July 30, 2017 at 4:50 pm

    What an awesome trip to do with your Dad! Such special time and I wish I could do something like this with mine but his heart ain’t too good these days. What a beautiful hike. Although I always feel hopelessly out of shape embarking on a big adventure like this!

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      August 8, 2017 at 8:47 pm

      Thanks, Juliette! Maybe a nice, flat stroll with your dad? Really it’s all about the time spent together, right? So no need for the hike at all! I definitely could tell I was out of shape at the end of the 9.5 mile hike because my joints were all killing me!

  • Reply
    Elaine Masters
    July 30, 2017 at 4:59 pm

    How cool that you two have made a tradition of this. You will have those memories forever. I cherish some of the road trips I took with my parents and have started a yearly trip with my sister. Keep going and what beautiful pictures.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      August 8, 2017 at 8:50 pm

      Thanks, Elaine! It’s one of my favorite traditions, for sure! A sister trip sounds absolutely perfect! Great tradition!

  • Reply
    Adelina
    July 30, 2017 at 6:17 pm

    So gorgeous! I love the light you guys had in the photos in your unofficial sunset trail hike. Even if you didn’t make it all the way, it was still gorgeous!

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      August 8, 2017 at 8:51 pm

      It really was gorgeous! I love golden hour. It totally makes for the best photos!

  • Reply
    Heather
    July 31, 2017 at 2:20 pm

    First off, what an excellent tradition! Seems like the views of the Sunset trail made up for the uneventful hike on the Cove Lake trail. The lodge looks like a perfectly atmospheric place to unwind and take in the scenery after a long day of hiking! Thanks for putting Mount Magazine State Park on my radar!

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      August 8, 2017 at 9:01 pm

      Thank you, Heather. We’re pretty fond of the tradition! 😉 The Sunset Trail definitely made up for it. It was super stunning!

  • Reply
    IFSC Code in Your Fund Transfer
    August 1, 2017 at 3:57 am

    Thanks for sharing this fantastic post.

  • Reply
    fittwotravel
    August 1, 2017 at 5:22 pm

    I love that you and your dad do weekly hikes because I like to hike with my dad frequently! Its too bad the long one was pretty boring! But that sunset trail looks awesome!

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      August 8, 2017 at 9:27 pm

      I wish it was weekly! We don’t quite get around to that often. We do one big hiking trip each year! The sunset trail was incredible!

  • Reply
    Trisha Velarmino
    August 1, 2017 at 6:33 pm

    Awww, I love your hiking tradition with your dad. A bond with nature and with someone very dear to you is an experience that is totally priceless. <3 The place looks beautiful, too!

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      August 8, 2017 at 9:27 pm

      Thank you, Trisha! These trips are absolutely priceless. I absolutely love it!

  • Reply
    Traveling Bytes
    August 2, 2017 at 1:08 am

    9+ miles through a green tunnel could be disappointing, but hiking with your dad certainly made it more palatable :). Somehow, I thought that Arkansas was much flatter (maybe, I was mistaking it with Kansas?).

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      August 8, 2017 at 9:28 pm

      It definitely made it much more palatable. There are parts of Arkansas that are fast (especially further south) but Kansas is definitely much more flat than Arkansas!

  • Reply
    Nancy
    August 2, 2017 at 12:33 pm

    It’s so cool that you and your dad go on hiking trips. I hope my kids will travel with me when we are older. Too bad that the longest trail was disappointing, but it sounds like you found a gorgeous trail. Did you see that cute turtle in the green tunnel?

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      August 8, 2017 at 9:36 pm

      I’m sure your kids will love traveling with you! I travel with both of my parents still – I love the bonding time! We did see him in the green tunnel! One plus of the hike, right? 😉

  • Reply
    SHRADDHA GUPTA
    August 3, 2017 at 9:57 pm

    I love the fact that you were hiking with your dad – I would love to do it too. I love the pictures too. On a side note – I was watching Ozark on Netflix the other day and it reminded me of your post I read the other day – the letter to Ozark and I showed my husband pictures too on your blog. We would love to visit the place sometime!

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      August 8, 2017 at 9:41 pm

      Thanks, Shraddha! We love our hiking adventures together! You’ll definitely have to do that! Don’t let the Ozarkians on that show turn you off from the area – we’re not all like that 😉 Haha! I hope you guys make a trip here – it’s worth it!

  • Reply
    Meg Jerrard
    August 4, 2017 at 11:19 pm

    A secret trail which starts after a sign which says “Danger high cliff” sounds like my type of trail! Thanks for the insight into hiking Mount Magazine State Park – you make an excellent point about the need to ask questions, or do some piror research on the trails you want to take – the best are definitely not always the longest. I love the turtle you ran into on the trailhead – so cute!!

    I love that you spent this time with your father – I do hikes with my dad too 🙂

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      August 8, 2017 at 9:47 pm

      Haha! It doesn’t sound super inviting, but it was INCREDIBLE! Most places I’ve been it seems that longer trials have fewer people and super rewarding views, but as I mentioned, that was not the case here. Ha! The turtle was super cute! I love hearing that other people hike with their dad’s too! I hope you guys have as much fun as we do!

  • Reply
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