I left from work today and headed to Cove Lake Campground nestled in the shadows of Mount Magazine,the highest point in Arkansas. I arrived about 6:00 pm and Carrie was at the reserved campsite waiting for me. We reserved site #8 which sits right on the edge of Cove Lake. After getting our tent setup and quickly gathering firewood for the evenings fire we got in our cars and drove up to the Mount Magazine Lodge to stage Carrie’s car for tomorrow and grab some dinner from the lodge restaurant. After eating we headed back down the mountain to our campsite, enjoyed some time around the campfire, and retired to our sleeping bags to get rested up for the hike up Mount Magazine tomorrow.
Miles Hiked: 11.5
Carrie and I were up with the sun this morning and we cooked sausage and eggs for breakfast burritos. After breakfast we drove to the Cove Lake Trailhead and headed off toward Mount Magazine. The trail wandered over hills and followed Cove Creek for about 4 miles. This part of the trail was mostly level with only a slight elevation gain. There were many good campsites along the trail and numerous flat enough places for distributed camping. After the 4 mile mark the trail went through some rocky areas as it gradually began to climb toward Mount Magazine. There were several stream crossings in this section and we forded them like champs. At 7 miles the trail came to a second trailhead on Greenbench Road. We took a short rest on a picnic table there before beginning the final 2.7 mile climb to Cameron’s bluff. This section of the trail was steeper but the use of several switchback made the climb manageable to the top. Once on Cameron’s bluff we took the trail into the campground and continued on to the final climb to signal hill, the highest point in Arkansas. This was a short 0.4 mile trail that ascended about 160 feet to the top. On the top of Signal Hill was an area shaped like Arkansas paved in stone with the survey marker marking the highest point in Arkansas. We took our pictures and proceeded down to the lodge as a cold wind began blowing over the mountain. Once at the lodge we ate dinner and then listened to a presentation about the Mount Magazine Lodge and the history and wildlife of the mountain. We then drove back down to our campsite at Cove Lake, ate a small snack and retired to our tent to get rested for more hiking tomorrow.
Miles Hiked: 4.8
It rained overnight and we stayed in our tent until the rain stopped about 7:30 this morning. We got up fixed breakfast burritos for breakfast again and then broke down the camp. There was a lot less wind down by the lake and we were able to get things together pretty quickly. I packed up the tent wet knowing I would need to set it up when I got home to dry. As we drove to the top of mount magazine we soon drove up into the clouds and the visibility was pretty low. The fog was thick enough it made it hard to see the turn in for the Benefield picnic area where we were going to leave my truck. After dropping off the truck we drove Carrie’s Explorer back to the visitors center where we started our hike. The first trail we were on was Will’s Apple Road, an old road used to deliver apples from the orchard to the market. this was a wide trail through the woods and the fog gave the forest a calming feel. near the end of this trail there was a short spur down the hill to the Buckman’s pool. The Buckman’s once had a resort on the mountain and had created a pool on a bench on the side of the mountain by diverting the water from a spring. The pool had long been overgrown and was difficult to distinguish in the trees. Back on the trail we soon reached the horse camp area and cut through the parking lot to the Bear Hollow Trailhead. This trail is spectacular in the fall. It follows the edge of a large hollow and had great views of the forest and cliffs on the other side throughout it’s length. Due to the rains last night there were multiple run-off stream crossings. Near the end of the trail there were two quite spectacular overlooks where the yellows and oranges of the leaves were on display and great views of the valley and sheer cliffs on the opposite side. I would definitely recommend this trail to anyone visiting Mount Magazine – especially in the fall.