By Terrah Baker
Let’s face it — we would need ten magazines just on the places to go and enjoy in the Ozarks. With abundant resources, rich history and breathtaking scenery, the Ozark Mountains have been a retreat and home for native cultures, adventure seekers, hikers, campers, and vacationers for centuries. We can only hope this small look at what the area has to offer serves as a reminder of why you should get outdoors in the Ozarks this season.
For more information on places to visit, here’s a list of websites that we found helpful when deciding where to go for our next outing:
World Peace Wetland Prairie, In Fayetteville
The World Peace Wetland Prairie is meant to be a sanctuary for humans and other living things in the upper White River Basin. The prairie sits within a suburban neighborhood at 1121 Duncan Ave. in Fayetteville, and is alive with native flowers, butterflies, birds and other species. It is only a remnant of Northwest Arkansas’ once abundant prairie ecosystem, but still offers benefits on a small scale due to its spongy hydric soil and the plants that capture storm water runoff and sediment pollutants. Bring a lunch and a camera for some great scenery right in your own backyard!
War Eagle Mill, 35 miles
Crafts, scenery and a lot of history make for one adventurous and educational outing at War Eagle Mill built in 1832 in War Eagle, Ark., North of Springdale. On the weekend of Oct. 20, the flat lands between the rolling hills of the Ozarks will house hundreds of craft vendors and seekers, while the historic mill fills the air with the sound of rushing water. Take a tour of the mill, walk along War Eagle Creek, and check out some spectacular local artistry, or come when it’s empty and enjoy the serenity and energy of our past.
Hobbs State Park, 37 miles
Hobbs State Park offers amenities few of the state parks throughout Arkansas can. From a shooting range where shells are collected and recycled, to a $3.5 million visitor’s center, there’s something for everyone to enjoy, including primitive camping which is allowed throughout the over 12,000 acres of preserved forest. For a one-day outing, visit the park on Oct. 26 for Living Forest, an event where volunteers dress as forest creatures and explain how humans can help wildlife and help preserve their environment.
Lake Wedington, 15.5 miles
Lake Wedington is a 102-acre lake located west of Fayetteville amid a lush hardwood forest, and the 424-acre Lake Wedington Recreation Area. Born out of the Depression and completed in 1938 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), there are 18 family-unit campsites with showers at the restroom facility and 19 family-unit picnicking sites. Hike the seven miles of trails, swim in the serene lake, and enjoy the playgrounds, volleyball courts, horseshoes and hiking, available March through November.
Devil’s Den State Park, 25.8 miles
Nestled deep in an Ozark valley, Devil’s Den connects you to picturesque Lee Creek Valley and the craftsmanship and conservation legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), who developed the park in the early 1930s. Now, park visitors can enjoy hiking, backpacking, and mountain bike trails that lead to backcountry areas in the park and the surrounding national forest. Seventeen fully-equipped cabins featuring kitchens and fireplaces are nestled in the natural beauty of this park.