words:Leah DiPietro, communications manager, Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism: courtesyArkansas Department of Parks and Tourism
“Oh, the weather outside is frightful…” Thankfully in Arkansas, the weather is usually never really frightful. And as winter approaches, there’s nothing better than sitting in front of a crackling fire, sipping warm cider and enjoying the peace and tranquility of a cozy cabin in The Natural State!
NORTHWEST AND NORTH CENTRAL
Towering over Arkansas Wine Country, Mount Magazine is the state’s highest peak at 2,753 feet above sea level. The state park, located near Paris at the top of the mountain, has long been a popular respite for campers, hikers and horseback riders. Now the exquisite lodge and cabins lure even more people. The Lodge at Mount Magazine, the park’s resort lodge, comprises sixty guest rooms, the Skycrest Restaurant, a conference center, a business center, an indoor heated swimming pool, a fitness center, and a game room. Set on the mountain’s south bluff, the lodge offers breathtaking views of the Petit Jean River Valley and distant Blue Mountain Lake. Forty-three guest rooms have balconies and seventeen feature spa tubs. Thirteen fully-equipped cabins with deck hot tubs share the same bluff and panoramic view. Call 877.665.6343 or visit mountmagazinestatepark.com.
Rising 1,350 feet, Mount Nebo State Park features fifteen comfortable cabins with fully-equipped kitchens and fireplaces. Native stone and logs from Mount Nebo were used by the Civilian Conservation Corps to construct many of the park’s bridges, trails, rustic-style cabins, and pavilions. Park facilities include a pool, tennis courts, picnic areas, playgrounds, extra-large enclosed and standard open pavilions and a ball field. The visitor center offers exhibits, a store and bicycle rentals. Fourteen miles of trails encircle Mount Nebo, located near
Dardanelle. Call 479.229.3655 or visit
Petit Jean Mountain
Arkansas’s first state park, Petit Jean, near Morrilton, is the backdrop for Mather Lodge, a newly renovated rustic-style design containing a restaurant, enhanced guest rooms, fifty-person room for meetings and small banquets, and a new swimming pool. Near this beautiful lodge are the park’s thirty-three quaint cabins. Some are 1930s Civilian Conservation Corps rustic-style, and others are modern duplex designs. Choices include one bedroom, three bedroom, and studio cabins. The cabins are fully-equipped, and twenty-one include kitchens. Most of the cabins are spaced along the bluff of Cedar Creek Canyon. Call 800.264.2462 or visit
Lake Fort Smith State Park
At Lake Fort Smith State Park in Mountainburg, ten rental cabins are fully-equipped and feature a great room with a wood-burning fireplace, high definition satellite TV, kitchen, and dining area. Five cabins offer one bedroom and one bathroom. The other five cabins include two bedrooms and two bathrooms. Enjoy an elevated, covered deck with a woods view at the back of each cabin, with a picnic table and a grill on the ground level. Two of the cabins (a one bedroom cabin and a two bedroom cabin) are barrier-free to meet the needs of visitors with disabilities. Lake Fort Smith State Park offers outdoor adventures such as camping, fishing, kayaking, swimming, mountain biking, hiking and nature study, as well as an indoor visitor center. For backpackers, the park serves as the western terminus of the 165-mile Ozark Highlands National Recreation Trail. Call 888.695.3526 or visit arkansasstateparks.com/lakefortsmith.
Devil’s Den State Park
Seventeen fully-equipped cabins featuring kitchens and fireplaces are nestled in the natural beauty of this park. Each cabin has a wood-burning fireplace that is available seasonally. Devil’s Den State Park in Winslow is an Arkansas icon that connects you to picturesque Lee Creek Valley and the craftsmanship and conservation legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps. Hiking, backpacking, and mountain bike trails lead to backcountry areas in the park and the surrounding Ozark National Forest. The park also offers campsites, park café, swimming pool (seasonally), picnic tables, grills, horse camp, and nature programs. Call 479.761.3325 or visit arkansasstateparks.com/devilsden.
Ozark Folk Center State Park
The Ozark Folk Center’s famous hospitality is reflected in its Cabins at Dry Creek with a pleasing blend of homespun décor and modern comforts. These duplex-like cabins, all at ground level, feature two queen-size beds, telephone, TV, wireless Internet, mini-refrigerator, iron and ironing board, and coffee pot. There are large windows and glass doors that open onto small porches, most with a wooded view. The office has a game room and swimming pool for guests. Guests receive discount coupons for tickets to Arkansas crafts and Ozark music events. Ozark Folk Center offers music, craft and herb workshops, concerts, trail access, The Skillet Restaurant, and more. Call 800.264.3655 or visit ozarkfolkcenter.com/cabins.
UPPER AND LOWER DELTA
Crowley’s Ridge State Park
Atop the forested hills in northeast Arkansas, Crowley’s Ridge State Park occupies the former homestead of Benjamin Crowley, whose family first settled this area and the namesake of Crowley’s Ridge. One of the park system’s original Civilian Conservation Corps parks, it has a 1930s era group lodge with kitchen and dining hall, plus four fully-equipped duplex cabins.
Call 870.573.6751 or visit arkansasstateparks.com/crowleysridge.
Village Creek State Park
Located on nearly 7,000 acres, Village Creek offers hiking, biking, horseback riding, two lakes, and much more. Golfers will enjoy The Ridges at Village Creek, the park’s twenty-seven hole, Andy Dye signature course. This public course features the rolling terrain of Crowley’s Ridge, dramatic elevation changes, and the backdrop of the seasonal beauty of the surrounding hardwood forest. Ten fully-equipped cabins have kitchens and wood-burning fireplaces—ready for a
comfortable weekend stay. They range in size from three bedrooms with two baths, two bedrooms and two baths, two bedrooms with one bath, and one bedroom with one bath. Call 870.238.9406 or visit arkansasstateparks.com/villagecreek.
Lake Chicot State Park
The park is located along its namesake, the beautiful Lake Chicot, a twenty-mile long oxbow lake, which is a peaceful setting for fishing, boating, and bird watching. Because of its location in the Mississippi Flyway, the park offers some of the best year-round birding opportunities in Arkansas. The park offers lake tours, levee tours, and other opportunities for you to view a variety of birds and other wildlife. There are fourteen cabins with kitchens (many with fireplaces, lake view patio and fishing dock), a swimming pool (open in summer), picnicking, standard pavilions (screened), and a park store/marina. You can choose from one and two bedroom properties. There is an ADA accessible two bedroom with spa tub also available. Call 870.265.5480 or visit arkansasstateparks.com/lakechicot.
SOUTHEAST AND SOUTHWEST
Lake Catherine State Park
Lake Catherine State Park is located on the shores of 1,940-acre Lake Catherine, one of the five popular Diamond Lakes in the Hot Springs area. The park offers outdoor opportunities like fishing, boating, picnicking, hiking and park programs. The park features many historic Civilian Conservation Corps constructed facilities. Overall, the park has twenty full-service cabins, including one that is ADA accessible with a stone patio and its own fishing pier. The cabins have features such as kitchens and most have wood-burning fireplaces too. The park also has a dog-friendly cabin. Call 501.844.4176 or visit arkansasstateparks.com/lakecatherine.
Lake Ouachita State Park
Lake Ouachita State Park in Mountain Pine is located on the eastern shore of Lake Ouachita, the largest lake (40,100 acres) in Arkansas. The park is surrounded by the Ouachita National Forest and is a lure for those that enjoy the outdoors. The lake consistently ranks as one of the top ten spots in the nation for largemouth bass fishing and water activities such as boating, water skiing, and kayaking. Hiking trails such as the four-mile Caddo Bend Trail can be found at the park too. Fully-equipped cabins include seven that overlook the lake and one that offers a woods view. The cabins offer features such as a fireplace and spa tub. Some cabins are also ADA accessible. Call 501.767.9366 or
Moro Bay State Park
Moro Bay State Park, located about twenty miles from El Dorado, is the only Arkansas state park on the lower Ouachita River. Moro Bay and Raymond Lake join the Ouachita River at the park. For those interested in visiting, there are five fully-furnished cabins available to rent. Each cabin features two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, and a screened-in-deck with a view of the river. Behind each cabin guests have a picnic table, a grill, and a fire ring for their personal use. One cabin is ADA accessible. Fishing from a bank or boat is popular and the waters there are home to bass, bream, crappie, and catfish. Wildlife at the park include a range of animals like fox, white-tailed deer, and river otters. Birding is also popular. The park is home to hiking trails, a marina and an exhibit featuring a historic tugboat and barge.
Call 870.463.8555 or visit arkansasstateparks.com/morobay.