8 Magnificent State Parks In Arkansas That Will Leave You In Awe

Discover a plethora of breathtaking locations and unforgettable experiences throughout Arkansas while exploring these state parks.


Queen Wilhelmina State Park

MENA, ARKANSAS

A spectacular mountaintop setting. Breathtaking panoramic mountain scenery. Royal hospitality. Queen Wilhelmina State Park is this, and more. The park’s crowning attraction is its renowned hostelry, a historic lodging tradition born in 1898 with the original “Castle in the Sky” resort that graced this same lofty locale high above the Ouachita Mountains over 100 years ago.


Lake Ouachita State Park

MOUNTAIN PINE, ARKANSAS

Surrounded by the Ouachita National Forest, Lake Ouachita is known for its scenic natural beauty and the clarity of its waters. These pristine waters form the largest manmade lake within Arkansas’s borders. Named one of the cleanest lakes in America, 40,000-acre Lake Ouachita is a water sports mecca for swimmingskiingscuba divingboating, and fishing. Angling for bream, crappie, catfish, stripers, and largemouth bass can be enjoyed in open waters or quiet coves along the lake’s 975 miles of shoreline.

Located just a short drive from the spa city of Hot Springs on the lake’s eastern shore, Lake Ouachita State Park is your gateway to this popular water sports lake.


Petit Jean State Park

MORRILTON, ARKANSAS

Petit Jean State Park is an Arkansas icon, a state natural and historic treasure that has welcomed travelers over the decades. The natural beauty and ancient geology of legendary Petit Jean Mountain inspired the creation of Arkansas’s first state park, and with it our state park system.

Hiking trails lead through forestscanyonsmeadows, and along streams and mountainside. See where nature over time formed sheer bluffsCedar Falls, and the Seven Hollows, such distinctive features as Bear Cave, the Grotto, and the Natural Bridge, and other formations sculpted geometrically by nature called Turtle Rocks and Carpet Rocks.


Mount Magazine State Park

PARIS, ARKANSAS

Mount Magazine State Park is on the state’s tallest mountain, the 2,753-foot Mount Magazine. Sweeping vistas of broad river valleysdeep canyons, and distant mountains welcome outdoor enthusiasts to Arkansas’s highest point.

The park is a place to enjoy hikingsightseeing, exploring the mountain and nature study. It’s also a destination for outdoor sports and extreme adventure enthusiasts that offers rock climbingrappellinghang glidingmountain bikinghorseback ridingbackpacking, and ATV adventure. An ATV guide service is available.

Mount Magazine is the state park system’s most dramatic location for technical rock climbing. The park also offers overlooks, hiking trails, a picnic area with restrooms, pavilion, and visitor center with an interactive exhibit gallery and gift shop. Park interpreters lead a variety of programs that highlight the mountain’s natural diversity and unique species.

Website: http://www.mountmagazinestatepark.com/


DeGray Lake Resort State Park 

BISMARCK, ARKANSAS

DeGray Lake Resort State Park is Arkansas’s only resort state park. Located near Bismarck, Arkansas, in the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains and nestled along the north shore of 13,800-acre DeGray Lake, one of the region’s five Diamond Lakes known for their crystal clear waters, DeGray offers all the outdoor adventure and quality of an Arkansas State Park combined with resort class amenities at one of the finest lodges in the state. DeGray is a fishing and water sports paradise, a golf resort with an 18-hole championship golf course, the ideal camping spot, and one of the best parks for family vacations, getaways, reunions, weddings, business meetings and retreats.


Mount Nebo State Park

DARDANELLE, ARKANSAS

Surrounded by the natural beauty for which the Arkansas River Valley is known, Lake Dardanelle is a sprawling 34,300-acre reservoir on the Arkansas River. These two water resources combined here have put this area into the national spotlight as a major bass fishing tournament site. Lake Dardanelle State Park offers two areas on the lake: one park site is at Russellville, and the other is located at nearby Dardanelle. Both the Russellville (main park) and Dardanelle locations offer campinglaunch rampsstandard pavilionspicnic sitesrestrooms, and bathhouses with hot showers.


Toltec Mounds Archeological State Park

SCOTT, ARKANSAS

National Historic Landmark, the Toltec Mounds site comprises one of the largest and most impressive archeological sites in the Lower Mississippi River Valley. Preserved here are Arkansas’s tallest American Indian mounds. Three mounds remain where 18 once stood surrounded by an earthen embankment eight to ten feet in height, a portion of which is still visible today. These ancient earthworks are the remains of the late-Woodland thru early-Mississippian Period ceremonial and governmental complex which was inhabited here from A.D. 650 to 1050. The park visitor center features exhibits including artifacts from the site, an A/V theater, and archeological research laboratory.

Walking Tour: Free

Guided Archeological Site Walking Tour
Adult: $4 each
Child (6-12): $3 each
Family: $14

Guided Archeological Site Tour by Tram (by reservation)
Adult: $6 each
Child (6-12): $5 each
Family: $22


Crater of Diamonds State Park

MURFREESBORO, ARKANSAS

Crater of Diamonds offers park visitors a one-of-a-kind experience—the adventure of hunting for real diamonds. You’ll search over a 37 ½-acre plowed field that is the eroded surface of the world’s eighth largest diamond-bearing volcanic craterIf you find a diamond, it is yours to keep.Pinnacle Mountain is a day-use park dedicated to environmental education, outdoor recreation, and preservation. Located just west of Little Rock, this natural environment of 2,356 acres was set aside in 1977 as Arkansas’s first state park adjoining a major metropolitan area.

Diamonds come in all colors of the rainbow. The three colors found here at the park are white, brown, and yellow, in that order. Park staff at the Diamond Discovery Center provide free identification and certification of diamonds found here. Amethystgarnetjasperagatequartz, and more rocks and minerals may also be found at the Crater of Diamonds, making the park a rock hound’s paradise.

Admission

Ages 13 & up $10.00

Ages 6 – 12 $6.00

Ages 5 & under Free

Photo Courtesy of http://www.craterofdiamondsstatepark.com/Default.aspx

Here is a Silver Moon Diamond found in Crater of Diamonds State Park following its cutting into this 1.06-carat pear-shape gem. Once cut, the diamond was appraised at $21,639. In its rough form at 2.44 carats, the diamond was a triangular-shape. On average, a diamond will lose approximately 40 to 60 percent of its rough weight when cut.


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