Page 1

water woods    /      A R K A N S A S  O U T D O O R S  G U I D E

RVing

Where To Set Camp Around The Natural State

A Day at the Lake Popular Places To Take Your Watercraft

u On The Water In The Woods Out Here Around Town Over Yonder Basecamp


S E I R O M E M E K MA d AT THE

RIVER

CLASSIC LOG CABINS s Luxury, Group and Family Cabins Available s Charming Interiors s Loft Bedrooms s Modern Amenities

1-800-582-2244

CLASSIC BUFFALO NATIONAL RIVER ADVENTURES s Multiple Different Day Trips s Primitive Multi-Day Trips s Canoe Rentals s Hiking Excursions

(870) 439-2244

9664 Highway 65 N. | St. Joe, Arkansas BuffaloRiverCabins.com

BuffaloRiverOutfitters.com

Authorized Concessioner

Buffalo River Outfitters is authorized to provide canoe rentals and transportation services within the Buffalo National River.


PONCA

ARKANSAS

Escape to nearby Buffalo Outdoor Center, where all of nature rules the day and all things peaceful and quiet rule the night. We’re close to home, yet worlds away. And all you need for a cabin getaway that’s easy to plan, affordable and filled with

Close to home, worlds away. • Romantic Hot Tub Cabins • Cabins for Family & Friends • RiverWind Lodge for Groups • RV Campground with Full Hook-ups • River Trips (Mar.-June) • Zip Line Tours (Mar.-Nov.) • Arkansas’ Finest Hiking • Elk Watching • Open year-round

2016

870-861-5514 BuffaloRiver.com

AUTHORIZED CONCESSIONER Buffalo Outdoor Center is authorized within Buffalo National River to provide canoe rentals and transportation services.

beautiful adventures!


feature

Little Red River

8 arkansas's

trophy trout waters The popularity of Arkansas fishing has grown in recent years due in part to a number of worldrecord trout catches. Most notable are the worldrecord brown trout and state-record rainbow trout catches that have occurred in Arkansas’s lakes and streams. Read further to find out our favorite locations to catch the trophy trout. 2

ARKANSAS WATER & WOODS

White River


This is where we go to get away.

MountainHarborResort.com 870-867-2191

With beautiful cottages and cabins, a marina and boat rentals, and a staff that feels like family, you’ll keep coming back to our resorts. Please visit our websites for a complete listing of services and facilities. Pet friendly.

Iron-Mountain.com 870-246-4310


DEPARTMENTS 06 08 16 18 22 26 30 34 36 38 44 48 50

Index Of Advertisers

On The Water Arkansas’s Trophy Trout Waters Something In The Water

54 58 60

Quapaw Canoe: Exploring The Mississippi River A Day At The Lake Island Camping At Lake Ouachita

In The Woods Hiking & Camping On The Buffalo National River

62 64

Around Town Big River Crossing Wings Over The Prairie What’s Happening In Central Arkansas

Over Yonder Falling For Fall Color

Basecamp Best-Kept Secret Among Mountain Bikers: Bentonville, Arkansas

Call Of The Trail Zipping At Ouachita Bend

Out Here Mountain Biking In Arkansas Equals Epic Adventures Unique Places To Stay

What’s so natural about The Natural State? 52 state parks 3 national forests 1st national river 1st federally protected park lands in what would later become the National Park System 17.2 million acres of forest Quartz crystal capital of the world Only active public diamond mine Twice named the “best-tasting water in the world,” Mountain Valley water in Hot Springs is sodium-free, ionized and mineral-rich 9,700 miles of rivers and streams 600,000 acres of lakes 3 mountain ranges, 2 of which – the Ouachitas and Boston Mountains – are rare east-westoriented ranges

Gone Swimmin' A Roundup Of Arkansas Swimming Holes RVing: Another Way To Camp

Bear Cave Trail, Petit Jean State Park

To request a guide, visit

Arkansas.com or call

1-800-NATURAL On the front cover: Trout fishing on the Little Red River. 4

ARKANSAS WATER & WOODS

On the back cover: IMBA World Summit in Bentonville.

Arkansas Water and Woods is published by CJRW© 2017 cjrw.com


YOUR LICENSE TO

FUN

Arkansas is rich in fish – more than 200 species swim through 600,000 acres of lakes and 9,700 miles of rivers and streams. Anyone may fish for world-record trout in cold tailwaters, pursue smallmouth bass on a Buffalo National River float trip or take home a limit of crappie or catfish from storied lakes. You are just a click and a cast away from fun.

BUY A FISHING LICENSE AT AGFC.COM


ADVERTISER INDEX 33 29 5 63 52 15 29 41 32 2425 1 IFC 53 28 28 20 29 47 46 43 33 IBC 47 14 47 20

American Dream Vacations Aqua Fun Arkansas Game & Fish Commission Arkansas River Valley Tri-Peaks Arkansas State Parks Arkansas’ Land of Legends Arkansas’s Great Southwest Bentonville Best Western Inn of Ozarks Big Bass Bonanza Buffalo Outdoor Center Buffalo River Outfitters Crain RV

14 7 3 56 61 61 60 37 47 3 14 42 32 46 12-14

His Place Resort Hot Springs Village Iron Mountain Lodge & Marina Jackson County Little Rock Little Rock Climbing Center Little Rock Gran Fondo Loco Ropes Mena Mountain Harbor Resort & Spa Newton County Northwest Arkansas Ozark Ozark Gateway

42 13 12 46 63 43 11 21 13 42 57 33 14

Parkside Cycle Quarry Marina Rainbow Drive Resort Rogers Russellville Siloam Springs Springdale Stamp Out Smoking Stetson’s on the White Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge West Memphis Western Arkansas’ Mountain Frontier Wild Bill’s Outfitter

Ozark Mountain Region

DeGray Lake Resort State Park Diamond Lakes Dumas Echo Canyon Resort & Marina El Dorado Fairfield Bay Fayetteville

1/3 pg. Square Fort Smith

Fort Smith Gaston’s White River Resort Greers Ferry Lake & Little Red River Harrison Heber Springs Helena Greers Ferry Lake

6

ARKANSAS WATER & WOODS


COME OUT & PLAY If you’re looking for a place filled with arts, culture, dining and entertainment – where you can golf, boat, hike and play all day – look no further than Hot Springs Village, recognized among Ideal Living’s Best Boating Communities, Best Lake Communities, and Best Collection of Golf Courses in 2016.

NEW HOME SITES AVAILABLE AND NEW HOMES COMING SOON!

8 TROON GOLF COURSES & 1 PRIVATE COURSE | 11 LAKES 3 BEACHES | POOLS | CLUB SPORTS | 30 MILES OF TRAILS

Contact Village Homes & Land | 501.922.5560 | ExploreTheVillage.com ©2017 Hot Springs Village. Sales by Village Homes & Land. Some restrictions apply, including amenity usage fees and assessments, see community representative for details. All information believed to be accurate but is not warranted and is subject to errors, omissions, changes or withdrawals without notice. This material shall not constitute an offer or solicitation in any state where prior registration is required.


ON The WATER

By: Jill M. Rohrbach White River

Arkansas’s most popular trout rivers are the cold tailwaters flowing from man-made dams, including (Greers Ferry the tailwater) in the central Ozark Mountains with a trout fishing stretch of 29 river miles from Greers Ferry Dam. The Little Red claimed the world-record brown trout on May 9, 1992, when the late Howard “Rip” Collins of Heber Springs landed a

1. Little Red River

8

ARKANSAS WATER & WOODS

40-pound, 4-ounce female brown trout. This record stood until 2009. While much of the trout in the Little Red are hatchery-raised stock (you might catch 50 or more 9- to 12-inch rainbows on a good day), there are wild fish, too, including big browns. In terms of the number and size of (Bull fish produced, the Shoals tailwater) is possibly America’s best trout river. A 100-mile stretch from Bull Shoals Dam is the most popular section, where big browns are the main attraction. Fishing is great year-round with three-to-

2. White River

five-pounders common. However, browns in the 10- to 30-pound or more range are always a possibility.

Trout Fishing


Compared to the miles of trout water below Bull Shoals Dam, the (Norfork tailwater), a fivemile run from Norfork Dam to the main channel of the White River, seems insignificant. However, this brief stretch has produced literally hundreds of 10-poundplus brown trout, plus a 34-pounder and a 38-pound, 9-ounce former world record. As the locals call it, the “Norkfork’s” short length works to its advantage because in the hot months, trout head upstream to the cooler water. Plenty of

Fork River

3. North

them swim from downstream of the mouth of the North Fork toward the Norfork Dam, not Bull Shoals, because it is the closest source of cold water. The same holds true in November when the browns head upstream to spawn below the dams. While there may be a higher concentration of trophy fish per mile on this short stretch compared to the longer Bull Shoals stretch during some months, rainbows are still the mainstay of the North Fork, as it is on all the state’s other trout waters. Most fish caught here are rainbows in the 11- to 14-inch range.

Large, mature browns spawn in the upper reaches of the Bull Shoals tailwater in November, where you also find a catch-and-release area. Rainbows usually provide pure fishing fun year-round with nearly every cast producing a 9- to 16-inch fish at times. Cutthroats and brook trout are also present. Anglers often either go for catching a lot of fish, mostly rainbows, or fewer but bigger fish, like trophy browns. Spring River ARKANSAS.COM

9


White River

Boaters, bank fishermen and waders find this an excellent stream. A notable area on the Norfork is Dry Run Creek, the nutrient-rich outflow of the Norfork National Fish Hatchery. It has been set aside not only for catch-and-release, but also for properly licensed disabled anglers and for kids under 16. Only artificial lures with a single, barbless hook may be used, and fishing is from sunrise to sunset only. Another section of the White River, an eight-mile stretch of the flowing in a northerly

Dam tailwater 10

4. Beaver

ARKANSAS WATER & WOODS

the best fishing is said to be in the

upper four or five miles upstream from the houseman access

direction just off U.S. 62 between Eureka Springs and Gateway, has also gained a reputation for high-quality trout fishing. While it may not have the name recognition of Arkansas’s more prominent trout waters, it’s worth adding to your list of places to fish. Stocked by the AGFC with rainbow, brown and brook trout, rainbows are predominant, with browns offering trophy opportunities. The best fishing is said to be in the upper four or five miles upstream from the Houseman Access.


Little Red River

Instead of cold water from the depths of a man-made lake, cold water is natural. Mammoth Spring releases nine million gallons of 58-degree water into the river every hour. Its trout waters are short, about 10 miles, but contain plenty of action and diversity. Some sections are ideal for fly fishing, while others are better for full- and half-day floats with portage around the falls. Short stretches of the and the rivers provide seasonal fishing for rainbow trout, although they’re limited in size and big-fish potential. WW

5. Spring River’s

Explore SPRINGDALE

6. Ouachita 7. Little Missouri

Fun trails, scenic outdoor activities & exciting sports events make Springdale a premier vacation destination

Call 479.872.2222 or go to explorespringdale.com for more info Little Red River

ARKANSAS.COM

11


e xplore t he OZARK MOUNTAIN

REGION

Ad paid for with a combination of state and Ozark Mountain Region funds.


Wish You Were Here!

870.499.5388 • 800.664.5640

Hwy. 5 S, by Norfork Dam on Hwy. 177 GPS: Lat: 36.260992 Long: -92.241819

FU N O N T H E WAT E R • S E RV I C E & R E PA I R • R E N TA L S

Your Watersports Headquarters!

Check Website for Seasonal Hours

QuarryMarina.com

QUMA 135F Water & Woods Magazine Half-Page OMR Co-op Ad (7.375”w x 4.175”h) 3/13/2017 DVD365

www.OzarkMountainRegion.com Ads paid for with a combination of state and Ozark Mountain Region funds.


Your Ozark Adventure Headquarters Featuring

Buffalo National River Great Escapes

• Cabins With Fireplaces & Jacuzzis • General Store • Lodge • Motel • Camping • Hiking • Scenic Ozark Mountains • Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts & Johnboats • Guided Trips For Smallmouth Bass & Trout • Packages & Gift Certificates Available • Fun • Adventure • Romance

23 Highway 268 E. #1 Yellville, AR 72687-7855 1-800-554-8657

www.wildbillsoutfitter.com

Modern Amenities and Outdoor Adventure in Harrison, Arkansas.

Stay Here and Play There.

The Buffalo National River

1-888-283-2163 HarrisonArkansas.org

Wild Bill’s Outfitter is an Authorized Canoe Concessioner of the National Park Service, Department of the Interior

Trout Addiction?

WE CAN HELP! HisPlaceResort.net Call the Trout Diva at 870-435-6535

e xplore t he OZARK MOUNTAIN

REGION

www.OzarkMountainRegion.com Ads paid for with a combination of state and Ozark Mountain Region funds.


Lake Saracen, Pine Bluff

Ducks and deer and watchable wildlife • Hunting and birding Kayaking and canoeing • Bicycling through the region Visit these legendary fishing spots for bass, crappie, bluegill and catfish: Arkansas River • Cane Creek Lake • Cox Creek Lake • Lake Langhofer • Lake Saracen • Saline River

Pine Bluff Convention & Visitors Bureau One Convention Center Plaza Pine Bluff, AR 71601 1-800-536-7660 E-mail: pbinfo@pinebluff.com www.PineBluffCVB.org

2017 Weigh-In Site

P.O. Box 8768, Dept. F.O.G. Pine Bluff, AR 71611 870-536-8742 E-mail: pbdowntown@sbcglobal.net www.ARLandofLegends.com

THIS AD PAID FOR WITH A COMBINATION OF STATE FUNDS AND ARKANSAS’ LAND OF LEGENDS REGIONAL ASSOCIATION FUNDS.


ON The WATER

By: Nicole Boddington

SUP 501, Lake Norrell

Jo Ann Camp began teaching yoga in 2005 and has built a strong following in 16

ARKANSAS WATER & WOODS

Central Arkansas, her most popular class being hot yoga at Barefoot Studio in Little Rock. It challenges what you may think about yoga, because it is hard. In her soft voice, Jo Ann leads you through a series of poses that make your arms and legs shake as sweat rolls down your body and drips onto the mat. If this doesn’t sound relaxing, it isn’t – not until you’re in Shavasana (corpse pose), inhaling the humid air, sighing it out and realizing… I just did that. Pushing yourself, physically and mentally, doing things you didn’t know you could do, transcends the work you do in the studio. It’s empowering. You take it with you when you roll up your mat.

In this way, SUP (stand up paddle) yoga is similar, except the stand-up paddleboard is your mat, and your studio is the open water, surrounded by nature, fresh air, the sounds of rippling water – or the sudden splash (followed by laughter) of someone falling off their board. This is all part of the fun. This is SUP 501. “What’s better than being on the water?” asks Jo Ann. “I love everything about it: the beauty, the calm and the storm, the freedom. Seeing the sunrise or sunset from my board is pure bliss.” Jo Ann founded SUP 501 in 2015 and leads group classes and private sessions, April through October, as often as the weather allows.


Photos courtesy of Miranda Yelvington

SUP 501, Lake Norrell

Jo Ann Camp, Arkansas River

Other Places to Paddle Ouachita Outdoor Outfitters offers rentals, sales and services in Hot Springs. Sulfur Creek Outfitters services the Greers Ferry Lake/Little Red River area in Heber Springs with rentals and shuttles available. SUP Outfitters in Eureka Springs offers rentals, lessons, sales, ECO Tours and SUP Yoga led by Melody Elliott on Beaver Lake.

Take It Easy Resort offers rentals, sales and services on Norfork Lake.

ARKANSAS.COM

Photo courtesy of SUP Outfitters

“No other state offers the beauty that Arkansas does,” Jo Ann says. “Last summer, I took a SUP yoga class in Colorado. The water is very cold and falling in is something you just do not want to do. In my classes here, I encourage students to let go and fall in. This is such an important part of SUP; it lets you experiment, and it evokes a sense of play that is often missing from our lives.” Jo Ann often puts in her board on the Arkansas River or Little Maumelle for her personal practice, but, for groups, prefers the stillness of Lake Norrell, a 280-acre lake with quiet coves, just 40 minutes from Little Rock. “I’ve held classes on Lake Sylvia, Greers Ferry, DeGray, Lake Hamilton and Ouachita. One of the great things about SUP 501 is that it is mobile,” Jo Ann says. The paddleboard is a beautiful complement to yoga, challenging you to center yourself and find balance amid instability around you – and it’s not as difficult as it looks. For beginners, Jo Ann says just go for it. All you need is the ability to swim and the willingness to try something new. The most important tip is don’t try to control the board; let it guide you. Don’t be afraid to fall in. On a hot day, it’s refreshing, and after you face your fear of falling in, you can relax and enjoy your practice. “The best thing about SUP is the joy from my students in every class,” Jo Ann says. “I love when they share their gratitude, and it’s a compliment when they come back for another class and bring friends.” To learn more about SUP 501, visit www.sup501.com. WW

17


ON The WATER

By: Kim Williams

Get up close and personal with the Mighty Mississippi on a Quapaw Canoe Company float trip.

For centuries, people have been drawn by the “siren call” of the Mississippi River. From explorers to adventurers to a young Samuel Clement (later to become known by his pen name, Mark Twain), the “Father of Waters” has called to generations. Located alongside the Mighty Mississippi, historic downtown Helena is one of Arkansas’s oldest communities, with 18

ARKANSAS WATER & WOODS

For centuries, people have been drawn by the

“siren call” of the Mississippi River

an original incorporation date of 1833. Helena-West Helena’s history is tied to the Mississippi River, which runs alongside the eastern border of the historic downtown. As early as 1811, the town was becoming a booming river town because of its proximity to the river. The waterway played a part in the community’s Civil War history. The river itself became history during the great floods that would continuously threaten the region.


John Ruskey is one of those who answered the Mighty Mississippi’s call. In 2008, he opened Quapaw Canoe Company in historic Helena. The first canoe and kayak rental outfitter located along the lower Mississippi River, Quapaw Canoe offers visitors an opportunity to get “up close and personal” with the historic river. “Historic Helena is the only city that sits directly on the river between Memphis and Vicksburg,” said Ruskey right after he opened the Helena outpost. “It was the logical location since access to the river is very easy.”

Quapaw Canoe Company

John Ruskey

of native forests, 620 acres of large white sand beaches, hiking trails and provides outstanding opportunities for wildlife viewing, camping, hiking and fishing. Quapaw Canoe can also help arrange an overnight trip to the island. Quapaw Canoe Company is located at 107 Perry St. in historic downtown Helena. Guests can also make special arrangements for guided tours of the Lower Mississippi region. For more information on Quapaw Canoe Company, visit www.Island63.com. WW

Nearly a decade later, Ruskey and Quapaw Canoe are still going strong in Helena, even relocating the business right alongside the famous river’s levee, just a block east of historic Cherry Street. At the Helena outpost of Quapaw Canoe Company, visitors can rent bicycles, canoes and kayaks (rental fees for canoes and kayaks include necessary safety equipment), tents and much more. For those who truly want to experience the natural beauty of the Arkansas Delta, Quapaw Canoe offers trips to nearby Buck Island. The one-mile paddle up the Mississippi to Buck Island is a favorite of guests. The island is a stopover site along the Mississippi Flyway, which is used by 65 percent of North American migratory bird species. Buck Island offers 880 acres ARKANSAS.COM

19


of the DELT E D I A PR

A sweet spot in southeast Arkansas, Dumas is everything you love about a small town with big opportunities in the outdoors like hunting and fishing. Locals will tell you about the honey holes for fishing at Pendleton, Coal Pile, Moore Bayou, Morgan Point and Post Lake. Hunt on public lands at Trusten Holder WMA and the Wilbur D. Mills Dam Lock No. 2. Camp at Pendleton and Merrisach Park; both are accessible by boat and car. www.dumasar.net Paid for by the City of Dumas Advertising & Promotion Commission

20

ARKANSAS WATER & WOODS


It doesn’t matter how you quit. It matters that you do it. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW to get nicotine replacement therapy, like gum or lozenges at no cost to you. You may also find sunflower seeds, sugar-free cinnamon gum, or your favorite beef or deer jerky helpful if you quit cold turkey.


ON The WATER

By: Nicole Boddington

Boating

in Arkansas 22

ARKANSAS WATER & WOODS

Greers Ferry Lake

In Arkansas, going to the lake is tradition. Most families have a favorite lake and maybe a lakehouse, or a resort, cabin or campsite they’ve been returning to for years. If you’re lucky, you grew up on these waters, learning to fish, water-ski and wakeboard. Being on the water is a quint-

essential Arkansas experience – enjoying the scenery, finding a quiet cove, dropping the anchor to swim, hanging out on a sandbar, skipping rocks, jumping off cliffs and watching the sunset after a full day. Here are a few of the most popular places to bring the boat or rent one at a marina.


1. Beaver Lake

– Nestled in the Ozark Mountains, Beaver Lake’s deep waters draw scuba divers and snorkelers. Towering limestone bluffs and natural caves make for fun adventures with hiking trails, picnic areas and campsites in 28 recreation areas. Outfitters in Eureka Springs can set you up with boat rentals, scuba gear, a canoe, kayak or stand-up paddleboard.

2. DeGray Lake – The 13,400-acre DeGray Lake is a vacation destination in southwest

Arkansas. Formed by a dam across the Caddo River, the lake has more than 700 campsites and some 15 boat-launching ramps on its shores. Boating, sailing and scuba diving are popular. It’s also famous for its bald eagle sightings in the winter. One of the state’s premier fishing lakes, striped bass and hybrids are plentiful. Located on an island near the north shore lies DeGray Lake Resort State Park, Arkansas’s only resort state park, with a 94-room lodge, spa, championship golf course, marina and interpretive programs like nature walks and lake cruises.

3. Greers Ferry Lake – Located near Heber

Springs, this 40,000-acre gem in north central Arkansas is one of the most popular boating and fishing lakes in the state. It’s known for its pristine shoreline with boat launches, swimming beaches and campsites. There are eight marinas located on Greers Ferry that provide a variety of rentals – ski boats, pontoon boats, houseboats, fishing rigs and more. Fishing is excellent year-round with state records in walleye and striped bass coming from these deep waters.

Beaver Lake

4. Lake Ouachita

– Arkansas’s largest lake is known for its scenic natural beauty and crystal-clear waters. Named one of the cleanest lakes in America, it’s a great place to swim, water-ski, wakeboard, scuba and fish for bream, crappie, catfish, stripers and largemouth bass. Located just a short drive from Hot Springs on the lake’s eastern shore is Lake Ouachita State Park, where you can set up camp or book a cabin for the weekend.

5. Lake Hamilton

Lake Hamilton

– Located on the southern edge of Hot Springs, this 7,460acre lake is one of the most popular for families with resorts, condos and lakehouses in the area. It’s best enjoyed by pleasure boating, with watercraft rentals readily available. Situated on 210 acres on Lake Hamilton is Garvan Woodland Gardens, a thriving botanical garden accessible by land and by boat. WW ARKANSAS.COM

23


Fort Smith

Russellville/ Dardanelle

JUNE 23-25, 2017 Simmons Bank Big Bass Bonanza is always the last weekend in June. THE ENTIRE LENGTH OF THE ARKANSAS RIVER

PRIZE FORMAT

$100,000 IN PRIZE MONEY GUARANTEED*

Produced by the Arkansas Hospitality Association Five Weigh-in Sites

Call (501) 376-2323 • Fax (501) 376-6517 • www.arkansasbigbass.com • aha@arhospitality.org *Go to www.arkansasbigbass.com to see our payout format for the guaranteed $100,000 in prize money requested by fishermen. Check the website to confirm dates of the tournament.


FISH YOUR CHOICE OF FIVE POOLS: • POOL 1: Downriver from the Garrison Ave. bridge at Fort Smith to the upriver side of Ozark Lock and Dam (mile marker 257) • POOL 2: Downriver from Ozark Lock and Dam #12 to the upriver side of Ormond Lock and Dam #9 • POOL 3: Downriver from Ormond Lock and Dam to the upriver side of Terry Lock and Dam #6 • POOL 4: Downriver from Terry Lock and Dam to the upriver side of Hardin Lock and Dam #3 • POOL 5: Downriver from Hardin Lock and Dam to the upriver side of Lock #2 and Dam #2

FIVE WEIGH-IN SITES: • POOL 1: Fort Smith area, Clear Creek Park • POOL 2: Dardanelle State Park, Russellville side • POOL 3: North Little Rock Marina and Boat Dock, east side of the I-30 bridge in North Little Rock • POOL 4: Pine Bluff Regional Park • POOL 5: Pendleton Bridge, 9.5 miles east of Dumas on Hwy. 165

HERBERT HOLMAN 7.25 lbs.

2016 Tournament Champion

Little Rock

North Little Rock

PRIZE FORMAT FOR 2017 $100,000 IN PRIZE MONEY GUARANTEED OVERALL WINNER – $50,000 to the largest overall fish GUARANTEED. POOL MONEY – $10,000 to the largest fish overall in each of the remaining four pools GUARANTEED. PLACE MONEY PER POOL – $900 to 2nd place, $700 to 3rd place and $400 to 4th place winner overall in each of the five pools GUARANTEED. A total of $193,750 was awarded for the 2016 tournament. Hourly prize money for first, second and third place will be the top priority to pay after the guaranteed prize. The amounts will be determined by the total number of registrants. Follow us! @ArkansasBigBass

Pine Bluff

Dumas


ON The WATER

By: Zoie Clift

One of the most unique Arkansas experiences is island camping on Lake Ouachita.

At 40,000 acres, Lake Ouachita is the largest lake in the state. The lake is surrounded by the Ouachita National Forest and is a favorite for those who enjoy the outdoors. The body of water consistently ranks as one of the 26

ARKANSAS WATER & WOODS

top 10 largemouth in the nation for

bass fishing

top 10 spots in the nation for largemouth bass fishing. Sailors enjoy its vast stretches of open water; scuba divers enjoy the clear waters; and water sports like water-skiing and kayaking are popular. Another lure is camping on the numerous islands found on the lake.


“There is nowhere else in the state that I know of that you can do island camping,” said James Wilborn, assistant superintendent at Lake Ouachita State Park, which is found on the eastern shore of the lake. “The only reason island camping exists here is probably because of a unique location and the fact that there are multiple federal managers within the area around the lake.” Wilborn said the activity provides a chance to enjoy a wilderness experience.

Wilborn said there are dozens, maybe even hundreds, of islands off the lake. There aren’t any official names for the islands but some do have navigational markers on them. Due to this, the most common way they are referred to is by their marker. Each little region of the lake has islands that are known to that region and some are also known by a nickname such as Crawdad Island and Hotel Island.

Lake Ouachita

According to Wilborn, it depends on water level as to where the good camping sites are, and the time of year determines where is best to camp on a specific island. Backcountry rules apply while overnighting on an island, including not camping there for more than two weeks, keeping the site clean, and a pack in, pack out principle. “It is just as cool as it sounds,” he said. “There are still people around, people passing on boats, but you are going to get that feel that you are isolated a little bit... There are some very nice shale beaches where you can relax, swim and enjoy the lake. There is lots of wildlife to see – deer and raccoon, and bald eagles in the winter and spring.”

“It’s kind of a cool thing to do, to go out and have a whole island to yourself,” said Wilborn. WW

Overall, the experience is one you can

only find on

Lake Ouachita. ARKANSAS.COM

27


Real fun. Real close.

DeGray Lake Resort has everything you need to create family fun they’ll always remember. Boats to rent, golf to play (regular, disc or fling), trails to hike, birds to watch … And we’re not far away, either. Plan your getaway today.

1-800-737-8355 • DEGRAY.com • I-30 Exit 78 at Arkadelphia

DISCOVER

1 DIAMOND LAKES 1 3 3 THERE’S A LOT TO LOVE ABOUT THE DIAMOND LAKES REGION.

Scenic drives, lakes and rivers, mountains, forests and state parks are just a few. There are a myriad of lodging options from downtown hotels to lake resorts and award-winning marinas. It’s a special place with history, adventure and beauty.

28

ARKANSAS WATER & WOODS

5

NATIONAL PARK HOT SPRINGS NATIONAL PARK NATIONAL FOREST OUACHITA NATIONAL FOREST RIVERS CADDO • LITTLE MISSOURI OUACHITA IMBA EPIC LAKE OUACHITA VISTA TRAIL OUACHITA NTL. RECREATION TRAIL WOMBLE TRAIL DIAMOND LAKES

5

STATE PARKS LAKE CATHERINE STATE PARK DEGRAY LAKE RESORT STATE PARK LAKE OUACHITA STATE PARK DAISY STATE PARK CRATER OF DIAMONDS STATE PARK

World’s Only Diamond Mine Open To The Public

CRATER OF DIAMONDS

Quartz Crystal Capital Of The World

MOUNT IDA ORDER YOUR F REE VACAT ION GUIDE 1-800-SPA-CITY or visit HotSprings.org

CATHERINE • DEGRAY • GREESON HAMILTON • OUACHITA

This ad is paid for with a combination of state funds and private regional association funds.


At Echo Canyon Resort and Marina, you’re that close to the Lake Ouachita Vista Trail. You’re even closer to our full-service marina, restaurant and all-around family fun. And Hot Springs is just a 15-minute drive. Come discover the best-kept secret on Lake Ouachita.

2645 Blakely Dam Road Royal, AR 71968 501-767-2997 echocanyonar.com info@echocanyonar.com

ARKANSAS.COM

29


In The Woods

Petit Jean

By: Jill M. Rohrbach

The beauty of the Buffalo National River is all around you on a hiking, floating or camping trip.

Tall limestone bluffs in earthy hues of gray, tan and brown are defining features of the Buffalo National River flowing through Northwest and North Central Arkansas. It is one of the few remaining undammed rivers in the lower 48 states. 30

ARKANSAS WATER & WOODS

It is one of the few remaining

undammed

rivers in the lower 48 states

Rushing whitewater is interspersed among sections of calmer water as the river wends its way 135 miles through the lush green valley that is home to elk, deer, black bear and other woodland creatures. The National Park Service oversees 95,730 acres and three designated wilderness areas within that acreage.


Along its corridor, you’ll find canoe and kayak outfitters, campsites, hiking trails, cabin rentals, towering limestone bluffs, quiet pools and whitewater rapids, an elk herd, great rock climbing and historic areas such as the Boxley Valley Historic District, the Parker Hickman Homestead and the Villines Cabin. There are more than 75 miles of designated equestrian trails, and 100 miles of maintained trails within the river park. Hiking is a very popular activity at all times, but especially in the cooler months from fall through spring. Some trails offer views from the top of the limestone bluffs. Other treks snake through the woods past remnants of old homesteads and down old logging roads.

Hemmed-In-Hollow Falls

buffalo national river

Overnighting along the Buffalo can be unrolling a sleeping bag on a primitive backpacking adventure, pitching a tent at a NPS campground, or staying in rustic housekeeping cabins constructed in the late 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps at Buffalo Point. Cabins and resorts just outside the park are popular with visitors as well. Tyler Bend Visitor Center, offering exhibits, books, films and more, is a great place to obtain park information. The NPS also provides ranger-guided tours and activities. Keep up-to-date on programs, or get trail maps and other information for planning your visit at Nps.gov/buff/. This website also contains a map that shows current floating conditions along the length of the river, as well as additional information on access points, campsites and trails. WW ARKANSAS.COM

31


Antique Shops

Arkansas River

Aux Arc RV/Tent Park

Fine Dining

Adventures to antiques, barbecue to boutiques, water sports to wine, Ozark, Arkansas... it’s YOUR time! Ozark Area Chamber of Commerce & Ozark Visitor Information Center 300 West Commercial - Ozark, AR 72949 479.667.2949 - 1.866.951.2525

ozarkvic@gmail.com ozarkchamberofcommerce.com

The only thing more impressive than the view is the value Eureka Springs’ only full-service resort is also one of the best values in town. Visit our website www.InnoftheOzarks.com to preview all the amenities we have to offer, such as great dining, scenic views and entertainment on-site.

Inn of the Ozarks

207 W. Van Buren Eureka Springs, AR 72632 Reservations: 877.835.0505 | www.InnoftheOzarks.com

Wherever Life Takes You, Best Western is There.® Each Best Western® branded hotel is independently owned and operated

32

ARKANSAS WATER & WOODS


EXPECT THE

D

iscover the Old West and Victorian legacies of Fort Smith, Van Buren and other cities in Western Arkansas’ Mountain Frontier. • Explore the Talimena National Scenic Byway & other gorgeous drives • Fishing, canoeing, white-water kayaking & hiking • Scenic mountains, rivers, lakes & streams • Attractions, museums, shopping & entertainment • State & National Parks • Festivals/Events • Free wine tasting tours in Arkansas Wine Country

WESTERN ARKANSAS

RONTIER MOUNTAIN F VISITORS

GUIDE

rIDe ThE raIlrOaD

A WINDOW SEAT TO HISTORY

Arkansas wine traiL

P.O. Box 1518 Van Buren, AR 72957 1-800-332-5889 visitwestarkansas.com

A TOUR OF ARKANSAS WINE COUNTRY

expect the unexpecTed

MURALS POP UP IN FORT SMITH

& MOUNTAINS H DRIVING & RIVERS H SCENIC COUNTRY H LAKES NATIONAL PARKS H ATTRACTIONS H WINE & EVENTS H STATE & H OUTDOOR FUN H FESTIVALS

MOTORCYCLING TOURS

This ad is paid for with a combination of State Funds & Private Regional Association Funds.

g g GoinG fishinG?

RV RENTALS

maps and directions ark. river access points lodging + food and more

★ Travel ★ Camp

★ Explore ★ Have

Fun!

“Experience Fort Smith” I-40 Exit 5 • FORT SMITH, AR 479-262-6555

americandreamvacations.net

@experiencefortsmith

@expfortsmith

experiencefortsmith . com

MISS LAURA’S VISITORS CENTER 2 N. B ST. | FORT SMITH | 800.637.1477 INFO@EXPERIENCEFORTSMITH.COM ARKANSAS.COM

33


In The Woods

By: Zoie Clift

Cedar Creek Trail, Petit Jean State Park

If you are on the lookout for an active outlet, trail running is an adventurous avenue to explore the beauty of the state. “Arkansas has a lot of trails of varying degrees of difficulty,” said George Peterka, president of the Arkansas Ultra Running Association. “The footing varies from 34

ARKANSAS WATER & WOODS

smooth to highly technical. And the grade varies from level to very steep. Many of the trails are scenic offering sweeping vistas from mountain tops or secluded hollows with crystal-clear streams, pools and waterfalls. Several trails follow lake shorelines or streams.” Peterka, who is from Hot Springs, along said the North Sylamore Creek in the Ozark Mountains has always been one of his favorite trails to run.

1. Sylamore Trail

1 4 3 2


As to terrain, Peterka likes trails that are comfortably runnable, “with good footing and without strenuous climbs because that means a lot of walking.” The joy he finds in the sport has kept Peterka running over the years. “I’ve always loved hiking on mountain trails, ever since I can remember,” he said. “ I love running and walking long distances on trails in the mountains.” And he can do so year-round.

Trail running events around Arkansas War Eagle Trail Running Festival: A versatile event that includes 50K, 25K and 10K options on the trails at Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area in Rogers; June 3, 2017. Arkansas Traveller 100: Held in the Ouachita National Forest, this is one of the oldest 100mile races in Arkansas; October 7-8, 2017.

Lake Ouachita Vista Trail, Lake Ouachita

Another route he enjoys running is the

2. Lake Ouachita Vista Trail,

which has around 45 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails along the shores of Lake Ouachita. “The western portion of the trail is close to home and is nicely runnable,” he said. “It has nice views of the lake, good shade in the summer, small hills and is not too rocky. I basically like just about any trail I’m on so it’s a hard call [as to which is my favorite.]”

“I like the climate in Arkansas because most of the year you can run,” he said. “I don’t like cold weather so the Arkansas winters suit me just fine. The summer is hot but you can run early in the morning or late in the evening and at night.” “There are so many different trails to run in our beautiful state and they’re free to run,” added Chrissy Ferguson, an avid and accomplished ultrarunner. “Many states have trails but you must pay a fee to park and use them.” Ferguson said her picks for favorite trails are the

3. Pinnacle Mountain Base Trail around the mountain at Pinnacle

Mountain State Park, all of the Sylamore Trail in Allison, Arkansas, and the at Petit Jean State Park. The routes, Ferguson said, have beautiful views with single track trail that are well maintained.

4. Seven Hollows Trail

Cossatot River Trail Half Marathon: This 13.1-mile run takes place on the River Corridor Trail along the banks of the Cossatot River in Cossatot River State Park-Natural Area; October 21, 2017. Ozark Highlands 50K: This race takes place on rugged terrain in the Ozark National Forest and starts and ends at the Norfork River Resort; October 28, 2017. The LOViT Marathon: Course takes place on the picturesque Lake Ouachita Vista Trail; December 2, 2017.

“The best thing about Arkansas’s running and hiking community is the camaraderie you will find on and off the trails,” she said. “I’ve lived and run in many states and countries and you will not find what we have here in Arkansas anywhere else in the world.” WW ARKANSAS.COM

35


In The Woods

Petit Jean

By: Zoie Clift

Zip Lines at Ouachita Bend

For those unfamiliar with “zipping,” the activity involves soaring through the air by a cable suspended above an incline, to which a pulley and harness are attached for a rider. One option for thrill seekers is the Zip Lines at Ouachita Bend, located between Hot Springs and Malvern. 36

ARKANSAS WATER & WOODS

This seven-line course criss-crosses high above a valley and is interspersed with hiking trails from one line to another. On average, the lines there are about a thousand feet in length. “I think zip-lining is a fairly new adventure,” says Cindy Smith, who owns the Zip Lines at Ouachita Bend with her husband Bruce. “Many people come to the zip lines to mark things off their bucket list or to

overcome their fear of heights. It gives you a feeling of flying and a rush of adrenaline.”

Ouachita bend


Guides that are trained in ACCT (Association for Challenge Course Technology) criteria lead each tour. Smith says what makes her facility stand out is the length of the lines, the transit speed and the hike in-between. “Each one of the lines is different,” she adds, “each has its own personality.” Each segment on the sky-born path is named for an animal that has been seen on the property. The high-rise path, which opened in 2012, was built on land the Smiths already owned. Smith says the maximum speed possible on the lines is about 40 miles per hour, and that’s only when the wind is not blowing. The entire experience takes around three hours for a group – but there are also two- and four-line options. The final three lines are the fastest. Overall, the goal is to enjoy the ride. “It’s a guided tour, and you don’t have to learn how to brake,” says Smith. “You just hold on and have fun.” WW

Other Places to zip line AdventureWorks Hot Springs

Catherines Landing; adventureworks.com/adventure park-hotsprings-ziplines/

Buffalo River Canopy Tours

at Buffalo Outdoor Center, Ponca; buffaloriver.com

Buffalo River Canopy Tours

Fort Rock Family Camp, Combs; fortrock.org

Iron Horse Zip Line

at Horseshoe Canyon Ranch,

Jasper; horseshoecanyonadven tures.com/adventure-packages

Loco Ropes,

Mountain View; locoropes.com

Ozark Mountain Ziplines at Eureka Springs;

Iron Horse Zip Line

ziplineeurekasprings.com

Ron Coleman ZipLine, Zip Into The Ozarks! Are you ready for an exciting treetop adventure in the Ozark Mountains? Then check out Loco Ropes in Mountain View and our FREE Ozark Gateway Visitor Guide. Our scenic map will help you navigate all the great destinations in the Ozarks, including Loco Ropes! 1.800.264.0316 www.ozarkgateway.com 888.669.6717 www.locoropes.com

Jessieville; colemanquartz.com/zip-lining

The Zip Lines at Ouachita Bend,

Hot Springs; ouachitabendadventures.com

Zippin Griffin,

Near Hardy; www.facebook.com/ZippinGriffin/

Advertisement paid for with state and Ozark Gateway funds, visit www.ozarkgateway.com for more area information.

ARKANSAS.COM

37


out here

By: Jill M. Rohrbach

Coler Trail, Bentonville

The Back 40 in Bella Vista and Coler in Bentonville are two of the new­ est mountain bike trails in Northwest Arkansas. From tight singletrack with plenty of lift and ledges to an expert level downhill double black alternate line featuring a 12­foot drop into a val­ ley to 10­foot step­up jumps and two more large drops, the terrain and trails of The Natural State offer everything 38

ARKANSAS WATER & WOODS

needed for an epic adventure. In fact, five of our trails are Epic Rides, as designated by the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA), tying us with Colorado for second in the nation behind only California. According to IMBA, the Epics distinction denotes a “true back­ country riding experience – one that is technically and physically challenging, more than 80 percent singletrack and at least 20 miles in length.”


In addition to the trails, IMBA recognizes and as Ride Centers because they offer a range of trails for various riding styles as well as first­class amenities that cater to cyclists. As if that weren’t enough, Northwest Arkansas as a whole is designated as the first­ever regional ride center.

1. Bentonville, 2. Fayetteville 3. Hot Springs

IMBA

12 3

The rugged beauty of this region is exploding with mountain bike enthu­ siasts keen to experience its iconic trail systems. IMBA even held its World Summit in Bentonville in 2016. Factors that make The Natural State one of the nation’s premier biking destinations are that it has terrain and events for all skill levels. Trails run through wilderness areas, as well as urban areas, with Northwest Arkansas showcasing a unique trail connectivity between bustling down­ town cities and scenic Ozark Mountain landscapes. Plus, Arkansas’s mild climate allows for riding year­round. Its 52 state parks, three national forests and numerous city parks are home to thousands of miles of mountain biking trails that provide that rush during the ride and connection to nature.

5 Epic Rides 1. Lake Ouachita Vista Trail 2. Ouachita National Recreation Trail 3. Womble 4. Syllamo 5. Upper Buffalo

Lake Ouachita Vista Trail, Lake Ouachita ARKANSAS.COM

39


Slaughter Pen Trail, Bentonville

Lake Leatherwood Trail, Eureka Springs

40

ARKANSAS WATER & WOODS


“Arkansas mountain bike trails rival any in the country. Not only does mountain biking offer freedom and solitude, but it is one of the best ways to explore the natural beauty Arkansas has to offer,” says Tim Scott, assistant superintendent at Devil’s Den State Park and organizer of the park’s Ozark Mountain Bike Festival. Now in its 29th year, it was the first festival of its kind in the state. Numerous other biking festivals are held now also, and new trails are opening and continually in the works.

Iron Mountain Trail, DeGray Lake

C

M

Y

CM

MY

CY

CMY

K

Fossil Flats, Devil‘s Den State Park

Arkansas is definitely the new hot spot for mountain biking. Plus, there are more than 12 craft breweries to cele­ brate the day’s ride. Find out more at Arkansas.com/ bicycling, where you can also watch all the videos of Northwest Arkansas Oz trails. WW ARKANSAS.COM

41


SALES SERVICE ALL BRANDS

BELLA VISTA | BENTONVILLE | EUREKA SPRINGS | FAYETTEVILLE HOLIDAY ISLAND | HUNTSVILLE | ROGERS | SILOAM SPRINGS | SPRINGDALE

Naturally Fun With glorious mountains, lakes, rivers and trails, natural beauty abounds in Northwest Arkansas

This ad paid for with state and private regional association funds

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS

America’s Premier Big Cat Refuge Camping Lodging Groups Education Trolley Tours 479.253.5841 • TurpentineCreek.org

TRAIL MAPS AVAILABLE

239 Turpentine Creek Lane, Eureka Springs, AR 72632

PARKSIDE CYCLE

719 WHITTINGTON AVE. HOT SPRINGS, AR

TUESDAY-FRIDAY 11 AM-6 PM SATURDAY 10 AM-4 PM 501.623.6188 WWW.PARKSIDECYCLE.COM PARKSIDE_CYCLE@HOTMAIL.COM Lake Atalanta, Rogers

42

ARKANSAS WATER & WOODS


WORK the LEGS. then WORK the KEGS.

Ride Centers in the re ly 37 IMBA-certified on of e on is ies. Find out mo y cit ew e ever yone. Th ’s best microbr er for ion il reg tra e a th s of ha r le tou vil d guide Fayette e Trail offers a selfworld , while the Altte m co le. vil ye efa at experienc

ARKANSAS

Park , Play

&Paddle

SiloamSpringsKayakPark.com

Engineered rapids for beginners and advanced alike.

Food & lodging are available just four miles north of the park in the vibrant small town of Siloam Springs. Bentonville

Siloam Rogers Springs Springdale

FREE Admission

OK AR

Fayetteville

ARKANSAS.COM

43


out here

By: Katherine Stewart

Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge

Go underground, take to the sky or get to glamp­ ing somewhere in between. You’d be hard­pressed to find a greater variety of unique lodging options anywhere. Want to sleep sur­ rounded by big cats like lions and tigers? Check. Want to do as the hob­ bits do and tuck into a cozy hillside 44

ARKANSAS WATER & WOODS

You’d be hard-pressed

to find a greater variety of

unique lodging

options anywhere

cave? We’ve got you covered. Check out these unusual options you won’t find anywhere else.

Go Underground

Arkansas is known for wondrous underground attractions like Blanchard Springs and Cosmic Cavern. And while you can’t spend the night in those caves, there are several places to lay your head underground.


Beckham Cave Creek Lodge is the largest and most luxurious – at 6,000 square feet carved into the Ozark Mountains. For something a little bit less out­of­the­ordinary, try the Hobbit Caves, Enchanted Caverns and Kauai Grottoes in Eureka Springs. These romantic underground hideaways fea­ ture stone walls, king beds, fireplaces and Jacuzzis. Enchanted Forest Cavern

From basic cottages on stilts to elabo­ rate, themed “sky villas” to a series of stone castles, Eureka has something to suit the taste of every aerial enthusiast.

als are available on many of Arkansas’s major lakes, and especially in the Hot Springs area. For the cat­lovers among you, can you imagine waking up and stumbling groggily onto your deck to find lions and tigers lying in the grass looking at you? Well, you can have that experience in the lodges at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge in Eureka Springs. Budget travelers should take note of Arkansas’s first international hostel, which opened last year in the heart of downtown Little Rock. Located inside a restored historic firehouse, the hostel is also a museum of firefighting history. WW

Get Glamping Beckham Cave Creek Lodge

Take to the Sky

Remember how much fun it was as a kid to climb up into your own little aerie among the trees, listening to the sounds of nature high up where nobody could bother you? The steep and wooded terrain of Eureka Springs lends itself perfectly to lofty living, and treehouse rentals abound in and around the area.

Sort of like a cross between a tent and a cabin, a yurt is the perfect option for those who want to get close to nature without getting too close to nature. With thick, high walls and a solid floor, plus cots, stove and cooler, yurts allow for a more immersive camping experi­ ence than a cabin might, but without all the effort of setting up camp.

Other Astonishing Options

With 600,000 acres of lakes, it should come as no surprise that houseboats are popular in Arkansas. Houseboat rent­

Tree House at Turpentine Creek

Lake Ouachita ARKANSAS.COM

45


Take a

BayVenture

On beautiful Greers Ferry Lake

FAVO

RECRE R I T E DESTIN ATION ATION

Meet Play

VisitFairfieldBay.com

Mountain Lake iveOzark Lv Resort & Community

LAKE PLAY • TRAILS • GOLFING • FISHING • 501.884.4202 Photo Courtesy AP&T

Paid for with a combination of state and Greers Ferry Lake/Little Red River Tourism Association funds. Go to visitgreersferrylake.org for our free area guide.

ig lake, big challenge, big fish. FLW anglers return to Beaver Lake year after year for the thrill of landing a big one and the warm Rogers welcome. Maybe you should do the same? Beaver Lake delivers bass, stripers, trout or crappie to anglers, and a good time to all visitors. Then there’s Beaver Lake watersports – bring your kayak, SUP, canoe and skis. Dry off for nearby attractions like War Eagle Mill and War Eagle Cavern. Hit the bricks for the Daisy Airgun Museum, distinctive small shopping, award winning local brews, and creative culinary offerings. Drive out to catch a concert at the Walmart AMP, or march into a major Civil War battle at Pea Ridge National Military Park. A first place destination served up with local charm. The good life is right here, in Rogers and Northwest Arkansas.

YOUR GATEWAY TO FAMILY FUN The Ozark Gateway Region of North Central Arkansas is packed with fun destinations!

Order your FREE Ozark Gateway Regional Guide loaded with great places to visit and containing our scenic drive map that will help you find great places to travel or that perfect fishing spot.

46

ARKANSAS WATER & WOODS

1-800-264-0316 www.ozarkgateway.com This ad is paid for with a combination of state and Ozark Gateway Region funds.


Fall In Love

Visitgreersferrylake.org for our free area guide

E

CO

F

AR

C

O

HS

R

E

A

R SPRI BEEA CHAMB N

GSR

HE

Paid for with a combination of state and Greers Ferry Lake/Little Red River Assoc. funds. Photo Credit: Debbi Brawley

MME

R

K A NSAS

501-362-2444 • www.heber-springs.com

Spectacular by Nature

Heber Springs Little Red River • Greers Ferry Lake

Basecamp for Mountain Adventures

479.394.8355 AD PAID FOR BY THE

HEBER SPRINGS A&P COMMISSION

Mena Advertising and Promotion Commission

www.VisitMena.com

ARKANSAS.COM

47


out here

By: Nicole Boddington

Blanchard Springs Recreation Area

In the thick of an Arkansas summer, it’s good to know where to go to cool off. We’ve compiled some secret spots and a few family favorites where you can spend those long and lazy, hot and hazy days under shade trees and in tranquil waters. These scenic swimming holes are close enough to town or fairly easy to access from the highway. 48

ARKANSAS WATER & WOODS

1. Lake Sylvia

Just 40 minutes outside of Little Rock, 16­acre Lake Sylvia is a beloved swim­ ming hole among Central Arkansas locals. Wooded and secluded, this U.S. Forest Service­operated site was built by the CCC in the 1930s and maintains some of the iconic structures and rock­ work. There is a small entrance fee and fee to swim. Head west on Hwy. 10 for about 30 miles to Hwy. 324, then head left four miles to the campground and swimming area.


2. Shady Lake

A highlight of the Southwest region is the sandy­beach swimming area at 25­acre Shady Lake. It is located a bit off the beaten path on the Howard­Scott county line just out of Athens. At Shady Lake, you’ll find fishing, a playground and hiking on a trail around the lake. The best way to get there is to take U.S. 70 for five miles south­ west of Glenwood, then go west for 23 miles on Hwy. 84 to Athens. At Athens, travel two miles west on Hwy. 246, then go three miles north at the Shady Lake Road sign on Forest Road 38. The site is adjacent to the Caney Creek Wilderness Area.

5. Big Piney Creek

A big natural pool can be found on Big Piney Creek at the Long Pool Recreation Area near the Scenic 7 Byway near Dover. Head north on Scenic 7 from Dover for six miles to Hwy. 164, then

3. Woolly Hollow State Park

Forty­acre Lake Bennett at Woolly Hollow State Park is situated 18 miles north of Conway near Greenbrier. There, you’ll find a sandy beach and lifeguards on duty from Memorial Day to Labor Day. To reach the lake, take U.S. 65 north from Conway through Greenbrier to Hwy. 285, then go six miles east to the state park.

Woolly Hollow State Park

4. Blanchard Springs Recreation Area

One of the best­known Arkansas swimming holes is Blanchard Springs Recreation Area, just north of Mountain View. At the recreation area, you’ll find ample oppor­ tunities for swimming, fishing, picnicking and hiking, surrounded by picturesque bluffs and even a few waterfalls. There are also outdoor theater programs in season, and tours are offered at Blanchard Springs Caverns. Also nearby is Gunner Pool, northwest of Mountain View. To get to Gunner Pool, take Hwy. 87 from Mountain View for 16 miles to the community of Fifty­Six, then go three miles north on Forest Service Road 1102. At Gunner Pool, you’ll find a clear mountain stream backed by high bluffs, fishing and hiking.

Big Piney Creek

go west for three miles to the access road. From there, follow Forest Road 1901 for three miles, then go two miles on paved Forest Road 1804. Tall bluffs are a hallmark of this famous swimmin’ hole.

6. Bear Creek Lake

About seven miles southeast of Marianna, Mississippi River State Park offers a beautiful swimming beach with picnic tables, camping areas and rest­ rooms nearby, along with the state park visitors center. WW Lake Sylvia ARKANSAS.COM

49


r

out here

By: Zoie Clift

Lake Catherine State Park

Whether you want to hit the open road to enjoy a mountain or lake足 shore setting, take in city nightlife or head to the heart of wine country, Arkansas is a pleasurable choice for recreational vehicle (RV) owners to target. Following is a sample of some of the many options available across the state for those wanting to ex足 50

ARKANSAS WATER & WOODS

perience the beauty of Arkansas via RV.

Central Arkansas

The Downtown Riverside RV Park is located alongside the Arkansas River in downtown North Little Rock. With 61 RV足only sites, this park is situated at the head of the popular Arkansas River Trail, a convenient base via which to explore Little Rock, North Little Rock and beyond on foot or on wheels.

Petit Jean State Park is located around an hour from Little Rock. The park has 125 campsites, and 26 are pull足through. The main campground is divided into four lakeside or wooded areas, and each is accessible and has a modern bathhouse. You can also grab a bite at Mather Lodge, the only Civilian Conservation Corps lodge in the state, which offers a panoramic view over the park.


Southwest Arkansas

Hot Springs is home to many sights including a national park, bathhouses, state parks, lakes, a Thoroughbred racetrack and more. RVers can bet­ ter see the city with a vehicle in tow; however some large parking lots in the downtown area accommodate RVs. Hot Springs National Park KOA has deluxe pull­through sites, shaded back­in sites and 50­amp services available. Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro is the world’s only site where, for a small fee, anyone can dig for diamonds and keep what they find.

which are pull­through. Wanderlust is also a city trolley stop. Near Altus, four wineries in the area offer tours and wine tastings. Wie­ derkehr Village RV Park at Wiederkehr Wine Cellars has about 20 sites with water and electrical hookups. The park is within walking distance of the winery, cellars, vineyards and Weinkeller Res­ taurant.

North Central Arkansas

The Buffalo River is the nation’s first national river and a site for riverside re­ spite. Travel in Buffalo River Country is for the adventurous RVer. While the

State Park has 106 campsites, 60 of which are located on the river bank.

The Delta

In the Lower Delta, you can find RVing spots along one of the area’s most spectacular bodies of water: Lake Chi­ cot. A 20­mile­long former main chan­ nel of the Mississippi River, it is the big­ gest oxbow lake in North America and Arkansas’s largest natural lake. Lake Chicot State Park has 122 campsites nestled in a pecan grove. In the Upper Delta, Tom Sawyer’s Mississippi River RV Park in West Memphis has a view of the Mississip­

Petit Jean State Park

The park has 47 full RV sites. There are no pull­through sites but there are several sites more than 50 feet long. Additional RV camping is also avail­ able about eight miles away at Lake Greeson.

Northwest Arkansas

Eureka Springs is nestled in the Ozark Mountains and was named one of a “Dozen Distinctive Destinations” by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Wanderlust RV Park is here and has 90 full­hookup sites, 57 of

two­lane highways are manageable and in good condition, they can be steep and curvy and make for slower travel. A ve­ hicle in tow is needed to take full advan­ tage of the scenic river valley. Buffalo Point, Tyler Bend and Buffalo Outdoor Center are the three most developed campgrounds on the river, and all have modern restrooms. For those who enjoy the beauty of the outdoors and fishing, the White and North Fork rivers and Bull Shoals and Norfork lakes are also main attractions in the region. Bull Shoals­White River

pi River and has 100 RV spots, along with tent camping, a tree house for the younger campers, nature trails and more. West Memphis is home to grey­ hound racing at Southland Park Gam­ ing and Racing, and nearby Dyess is where you can find the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home. WW

ARKANSAS.COM

51


YOU’VE GOT SOME

EXPLORING TO DO.

DeGray Lake Resort State Park

Lake Ouachita

Mississippi River

Petit Jean

Devil’s Den

Powhatan

With 52 to choose from, Arkansas State Parks cover a lot of ground, including more than 400 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking and running — plus water trails for fishing and floating. Pick a park. Pick an adventure. And come on out.

ArkansasStateParks.com

#ARStateParks


Around Town

By: Kim Williams

A long time coming, Big River Crossing is now open, connecting West Memphis to Memphis.

There’s an excit­ ing new way to cross the Mighty Mississippi River in West Memphis, offering never­ before­seen views of the Great River. The Big River Crossing (BRX) now connects West Memphis to downtown 54

ARKANSAS WATER & WOODS

Memphis. A major focus of the Big River Crossing is the “big river” itself, which visitors view from the nearly one­mile walkway built alongside the historic Harahan Bridge, one of the river’s former roadways. Opened in 1916, the Harahan Bridge connected West Memphis and Memphis and was

used for over 30 years. The structure features two railways and two road­ ways built off the side of the main bridge structure. The bridge was used for vehicle traffic until 1949, when the nearby Memphis­Arkansas Memorial Bridge (or now known by locals as “The Old Bridge”) was opened.


The Big River Crossing has the distinction of not only being the longest public pedestrian bridge across the “Father of Waters,” it is also the coun­ try’s longest active rail/bicycle/pedes­ trian bridge. The unparalleled views of the mighty Mississippi from the walkway are unlike most that visi­ tors have seen before. The bridge now boasts over 80,000 energy­ efficient LED lights that can produce hun­ dreds of possible con­ figurations and pat­ terns to commemorate

holidays and special events. The BRX is a part of the Main Street to Main Street Multi­Modal Connector proj­ ect, a 10­mile project linking down­ town West Memphis with downtown Memphis, offering walkable and bike­ able streets, pathways and trails. The Big River Crossing is open to the public daily from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m. Since opening in October 2016, the BRX has become a magnet for bicyclists, runners and walkers. In fact, the first three months after opening, nearly 90,000 people accessed the crossing. The daily average is nearly 900 people, with weekends averaging over 1,500 visitors. When fully completed, the Arkansas side of the Big River Crossing will also boast the Delta Regional River Park, complete with biking and walk­ ing paths, wayside exhibits and a focus on the ecology and natural beauty of the area.

Big river crossing

The Big River Crossing is open to the public

daily from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m.

In conjunction with the opening of the Big River Crossing, for the first time in history, the St. Francis Levee board approved unanimously to open the Mississippi River levee from West Memphis to near Marianna to bicy­ clists and pedestrians, allowing creation of the Big River Trail. Future plans include connecting the Big River Trail to the Delta Heritage Trail State Park near Helena­West Helena.

For more information on the Big River Crossing, log on to www.bigriver crossing.com. ARKANSAS.COM

55


“It’s been incredible to watch the grow­ ing interest in biking,” said Joe David Rice, Arkansas Tourism Director. “This bridge is just what the doctor ordered. It’s going to make a big difference in the Arkansas Delta and for tourism opportunities in The Natural State.” In conjunction with the opening of the Big River Crossing, for the first time in history, the St. Francis Levee board approved unanimously to open the Mis­ sissippi River levee from West Memphis to near Marianna to bicyclists and pedes­ trians, allowing creation of the Big River Trail. Future plans include connecting the Big River Trail to the Delta Heritage Trail State Park near Helena­West Helena. “The Big River Crossing will add to the attraction of our Arkansas State Parks, especially the Mississippi River and the Delta Heritage Trail State Parks, to cyclists nationwide,” said Grady Spann, Arkansas State Parks Director. “The ac­ cessibility of the St. Francis Levee District opening the levee to cyclists makes this a destination for many guests wanting to ex­ plore the unique beauty of the Arkansas Delta through natural, cultural and his­ toric experiences. It will allow our cycling guests to easily connect to our state parks in the Delta.” WW

With three rivers, numerous lakes and vast wooded areas, our region provides plenty of great spots for hunting and fishing. Public and private reserves with lodging facilities are available. Jacksonport State Park, located at the confluence of the White and Black Rivers, features a campground, picnic area, walking trail, sandy beaches and plenty of great outdoor activities! Learn more at newportarcity.org, arkansasstateparks.com/jacksonport or 870.523.3618. This ad is paid for with a combination of state and Ozark Gateway Region funds.

56

Delta Heritage Trail State Park ARKANSAS WATER & WOODS


Around Town

By: Kim Williams

Calling all duck hunting enthusiasts: Wings Over the Prairie continues to be the event of the season in Stuttgart.

For most people, Thanksgiving conjures up one bird … the tur­ key. But in the Arkansas Delta, especially around the Stuttgart area, Thanksgiving means 58

ARKANSAS WATER & WOODS

duck! For the last eight decades, Stuttgart, known appropriately as the “rice and duck capital of the world,” has hosted the World’s Championship Duck Calling Contest, which now includes the Wings Over the Prairie Festival, a celebration of duck hunting in the Arkansas Delta.

The first National

Duck Calling

Contest was held

in Stuttgart on

Nov. 24, 1936


The first National Duck Calling Contest was held in Stuttgart on Nov. 24, 1936, as part of the annual Arkansas Rice Carnival. The first duck­calling contest included 17 entries … and the winner actually won the contest with­ out the use of a duck call! Since 1936, the annual event has grown to become a national and inter­ national contest. Stuttgart’s moniker of “the rice and duck capital of the world” is legitimate … thanks to the town’s location in the middle of the Mississippi Flyway and the abundance of rice

The World’s Championship Duck Calling Contest and Wings Over the Prairie Festival literally offers something for everyone. Events actually start the Tuesday before Thanksgiving with the Youth Duck Calling Contest, comprised of youngsters who completed the youth duck calling classes offered by the festival in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving. The day before Thanksgiving, the carnival and midway open to visitors along the downtown area.

Stuttgart

Photos courtesy of Stuttgart Chamber of Commerce

grown in the region, which is an addi­ tional attraction for wintering birds. So it’s no wonder Stuttgart and parts of the Arkansas Delta become “mecca” for duck hunters from November through the end of January each year.

But it’s the Friday after “Turkey Day” that really gets things started in Stuttgart. Visitors can peruse the arts and crafts fair, enjoy the rides along the midway, check out the sporting collectibles show, and visit the variety of outdoor and commercial exhibits. It’s also on Friday that the first of the duck calling contests are held – the Chick and Sophie Major Memorial Duck Calling Contest (open to any high school senior in the United States); the Arkansas State Qualifying Duck Calling Contest (contestants must be a resident of Arkansas); the Intermediate World’s Championship Duck Calling Contest; and the Last Chance Regional Duck Calling Contest.

Saturday kicks off with the Great 5K/10K Duck Race, followed by the opening of the arts and crafts area, the carnival, midway and exhibits. The morning also features the Junior World’s Championship Duck Calling Contest and the Women’s World’s Championship Duck Calling Contest. Then it’s time for the World Championship Duck Gumbo Cook­off, which is one of the most fun events this writer has EVER attended! That afternoon, it’s the World’s Championship Duck Calling Contest. The World’s Championship Duck Calling Contest and Wings Over the Prairie Festival is truly one of The Natural State’s most fun and enduring events. If you’ve never been, you need to put it on your Arkansas “bucket list!” WW ARKANSAS.COM

59


Around Town

SATURDAY MAY 20 2017 Little Rock

The South’s Premier Cycling and Culinary Event

By: Katherine Stewart

Arkansas River Trail

It’s no secret that Little Rock likes to get outside and get active – the Arkansas River Trail System of 88 multi­use miles looping over and alongside the Arkansas River earned the city a mention as a “runner’s paradise” on Outside magazine’s 2013 best towns list. More than just enjoying the outdoors, Central Arkansas celebrates them in a big way with festivals and events that 60

ARKANSAS WATER & WOODS

showcase the beauty and recreational opportunities of The Natural State. Spring and fall are both marked with

The Gran Fondo in May and the Big Dam Bridge 100 in September. The

major cycling events in Little Rock:

Gran Fondo is a high­class event with two unique routes – one approximately 80 miles and the other half the length – that both take riders on lesser­known roads and include several tasty pit stops.

The Little Rock Gran Fondo rolls through the state’s capital city and surrounding countryside. Choose from two routes on a scenic course fully supported with gourmet food, wine and coffee at each rest stop. The finish line festival offers more food and fun for friends and family. All riders receive a swag bag filled with great gifts from sponsors and the chance to win prizes just for participating. Find out more at LittleRockGranFondo.com. PA R T N E R S Little Rock

Little Rock

Little Rock Job: Giant Little Rock Logos Brand: Giant File Name: Giant Little rock logo lockup 101.pdf Job Dimensions: N/A Material(s): N/A Font: N/A Colors: 3 Color Hex: #ffffff / #000000 / #0074c8 Color CMYK: 0 0 0 0 / 0 0 0 100 / 100 46 2 0 Date Modified: 13/09/2016

LITTLEROCKGRANFONDO.COM


The BDB100, Arkansas’s largest cycling tour, offers several routes ranging from 10 to 100 miles, all of them going over our infamous river­spanning dedicated pedestrian bridge. If you can’t sweat out the heat of summer without another ride, try the Wampoo Roadeo, a July charity ride in rural Pulaski and Lonoke coun­ ties that funds bicycle education, advo­ cacy and infrastructure. Biking not your bag? What about bag­ ging behemoth bass?

The Big Bass

Bonanza is the state’s largest fishing

tournament, with a grand prize of $50,000 and nearly $200,000 awarded annually. It takes place over three days in June and

Central Arkansas

Wye Mountain’s Annual Daffodil Festival

spans more than 300 miles of eligible fishing waters on the Arkansas River. Want to get close to the river but not necessarily on it? Summers in the River Market take full advantage of breezes off the river with the free Jazz in the Park concert series in April and Septem­ ber, and Movies in the Park throughout the summer months. A bit farther inland,

LITTLE ROCK

CLIMBING CENTER

Daffodil Festival celebrates the return of spring Wye Mountain’s annual

with seven acres of daffodil, jonquil and narcissus varieties to stroll, relax, romp and play in. Food trucks and vendors are on hand for this event that usually takes place in March. WW

OUTDOOR ADVENTURES WITH A

SOUTHERN ACCENT.

SM

501-227-9500

littlerockclimbing.com

Like our ride along the Arkansas River Trail, our trip to Little Rock was a delight. Touring its downtown by Segway, and its neighborhoods, barbecue joints and breweries by bike. Riding the METRO Streetcar from our hotel to explore the shops, restaurants and clubs in the River Market. Being mesmerized by the city’s beautiful illuminated bridges at night. We had a wonderful time, and can’t wait to return to Little Rock.

Riverfront Park > To see more visit LittleRock.com

ARKANSAS.COM

61


OVER Yonder

Ais onescenic hike of many ways to view deep red and shimmery golden leaves in the autumn months.

Pedestal Rock, Witts Springs

62

ARKANSAS WATER & WOODS


Adventure lies just beyond your horizon RUSSELLVILLE TOURISM & VISITORS CENTER

479-967-1762 www.discoverrussellville.org

Russellville Tourism & Visitors Center

escape

the

everyday

Discover the home of three of Arkansas’s highest mountains and four of its most beautiful and welcoming state parks—featuring out-of-this-world fishing, boating, hiking, and camping. Make your escape today.

Follow Us On This advertisement was paid for with a combination of state funds and private regional association funds.

#VisitTriPeaks ARKANSAS.COM

63


Basecamp

By: Seth Alvo, Founder of Seth’s Bike Hacks

Last fall, I was invited to Bentonville, Arkansas, by the Arkansas De­ partment of Parks and Tourism to docu­ ment the International Mountain Bicycling Association World Summit event and IMBA Epic rides in Northwest Arkansas on my YouTube channel, Seth’s Bike Hacks. In previ­ ous years, the event was hosted in plac­ es like Steamboat Springs, Colorado, and Whistler, British Columbia. What was it about Northwest Arkansas that would earn it a spot on this elite moun­ tain biking list? With a 4 p.m. arrival in Bentonville, I fully expected to pick up my rental bike, check into the downtown hotel 64

ARKANSAS WATER & WOODS

and map out my first day on the bike trails. However, two locals at Phat Tire Bike Shop recognized me as “the You Tube guy” and pointed out “a whole bunch of bike trails” right across the street. Minutes later, I was riding a flow track with my new friends, grinning from ear to ear. We rode until dusk, never hitting the same trail twice. I’d miraculously made it from baggage claim to bike trail in less than one hour and couldn’t believe what I’d just expe­ rienced. Bentonville offers every conve­ nience for mountain biking enthusiasts at every level. The city is surrounded by miles of trails, and a paved greenway system connects it all together – from

bike shops to food and lodging – in a flash. In the adjacent town of Rogers, there is a huge public free­ride facil­ ity called The Railyard where you can spend all day hitting jumps and riding the trails. During my three­day visit, I barely scratched the surface of what Northwest Arkansas has to offer. Still … it was clear to see why IMBA selected Bentonville as its 2016 host. Local and state governments, private enterprises and individual residents came together to make Bentonville a mountain biking paradise, and the town represents a shining example of what can be achieved when everyone works toward a common goal. I can’t wait to go back!


A F I R S T -C L A S S T I M E ... E V E RY T I M E . America’s #1 Trout Fishing Resort is Gaston’s. Our White River float trips for lunker trout are legendary from coast to coast. We do the work. All you do is fish – in style and comfort. Then there are the extras that make “resort” our last name. First-class lodging. One of the South’s finest restaurants featuring a spectacular view. A private club. Tennis and a pool. Nature trails for mountain biking and hiking. A conference lodge for your group meetings or parties. Even a private landing strip for fly-in guests.

1777 River Road, Lakeview, AR 72642 870-431-5202 • Email gastons@gastons.com Lat 36 20’ 55” N Long 92 33’ 25” W

Follow Us!

www.gastons.com


Arkansas.com

Arkansas Water & Woods