If you like beautiful scenic drives, try the Mt. Magazine Scenic Byway. This Scenic Byway is about 25 miles of highway (mostly Arkansas State Highway 309) in the western/central portion of Arkansas on the south side of the Arkansas River Valley. You have to drive slowly for much of the way, especially through the section that leads to Mt. Magazine. This section of the byway provides spectacular views along a winding mountain road with 'sharp curves and hairpin switchbacks' leading to the flat-topped Magazine mountain. Allow at least one to two hours to drive slowly and stop at scenic overlooks to thoroughly enjoy the beautiful views along the way.
At an elevation of 2,753 feet, Mt. Magazine is the highest point in the state. On the way to and on top of the mountain you'll enjoy gorgeous views of forested mountains, rock bluffs, and beautiful lakes.
Blanchard Springs Caverns, a system of "living" caves and caverns, is another highlight of this National Forest. Life Magazine described it as "one of the most extraordinary finds of the century". The name comes from the nearby spring that pours out of the mountainside and into a pond named Mirror Lake. Nearby is a short, scenic walk to the falls where the water exits the caverns.
Special interpretive programs are presented at the Sheltered Cave Amphitheater three times weekly from Memorial Day through Labor Day. These programs are free to Blanchard Springs campers with only a small fee for non-campers.
One campground that offers views of a lake as well as shade under a mixed forest of hardwoods and evergreens is Horesehead Lake campground. Horeshead Lake is a small fishing lake of about 100 acres with a swim beach. The campground is also small with only 10 RV and tent sites and is situated so that most sites have a good view of the lake. While at the campground, take an easy hike on the three mile Horsehead Lake Trail.
Cove Lake campground is another, slightly larger campground that also has lake views from some of the camp sites. This is a good place to camp if you're traveling along the Mt. Magazine Scenic Byway since it's en route to Mt. Magazine.
Camp at Horsehead Lake or Cove Lake campgrounds with beautiful lake views from your camp site, take a leisurely drive with spectacular views along the Mt. Magazine Scenic Byway, or go underground and experience caving at Blanchard Springs. Ozark National Forest, like all of our National Forests, offers exceptional opportunities to experience the beautiful natural landscapes of Arkansas.