Sunday, October 21, 2012

Queen Wilhelmina State Park

Queen Wilhelmina State Park, located 13 miles northwest of Mena, has incredible views, great trails, and fun activities for kids.  While we didn't ride the mini-train or play putt-putt, we did take advantage of the campsite and trails around the park.  Like Mt. Magazine and Mt. Nebo, the trails at Queen Wilhelmina are pretty short but offer amazing views.  One exception to that, is the fact that the 223-mile Ouachita Trail passes through the park.  Read on for photos, a map, and brief summaries of the park's trails.

Ouachita Trail:  This impressively long trail (one of Arkansas' longest) runs right through the park.  Heading west from the tent camping area, the trail parallels the Talimena Scenic Drive.  Over the first 1.25 miles, you will come across nice vista points and an old pioneer graveyard.  Hiking another fifty miles will take you to the western end of the trail  in Talimena State Park in Oklahoma.  The trail also heads east from the lodge and works its way to Pinnacle Mountain State Park in Little Rock!  The eastern end of this trail is described in my book Trails of Central Arkansas.

Spring Trail:  The 0.5 mi. Spring Trail connects the camping area to the Wonder House and Amphitheater.  Campers can probably walk between those areas faster on the road, but this provides a more natural path with much less traffic.  I walked the trail early in the morning mostly to tire my dog out, so the fact that I didn't notice the spring shouldn't be taken as concrete evidence that it isn't there or isn't interesting.

Reservoir Trail:  This rocky trail heads west from the southern side of the lodge.  It gradually winds its way downhill to an old drained stone reservoir.  The round-trip hike is about 2/3 of a mile.  The walk-in campsite is located just off this trail.

Lover's Leap Trail:  This is probably the best trail in the park. The whole trail is a mile long, but if you just want the easiest way to the viewing platform, you can leave from the northeast side of the lodge, hike the third of a mile to the platform and head back the same way.

We had hoped to hike the nearby Black Fork Mountain Trail, a interesting spur off of the OT, but low clouds drove us to change up our plans and visit several wineries in Altus instead.

Map of Trails at Queen Wilhelmina State Park.  Click or zoom for more information.

View Queen Wilhelmina State Park in a larger map

Queen Wilhelmina State Park
Wonder House (Tours Available)

Rocky Trail to the Reservoir

Old Reservoir

Queen Wilhelmina State Park
View from Lover's Leap

Train Queen Wilhelmina State Park
The Train!

Vista Spur Along Ouachita Trail

Queen Wilhelmina State Park Fog

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