|Distance||1.4 miles roundtrip|
|Terrain||A few hills|
- Reach the highest point in Arkansas
- Quick family friendly hike with good group photo opportunity at the top
I have been thinking about attempting to reach all 50 state highpoints for quite some time, possibly since a lighting storm prevented me from reaching Arizona's 12,000 foot highpoint way back in high school. After flying to Arkansas for work and having some time to myself, I figured I may never have another chance like this to ascend Arkansas's highpoint. My successful completion here was the first step I needed to motivate me to start traveling to highpoints -- at the time of writing, I now have completed 3 states (Arkansas, Iowa, and Nebraska). While you might not feel the same drive to highpoint the U.S., if Arkansas is your home state, that's reason enough to visit this summit. Beyond that, this state park is truly excellent and offers many other beautiful hikes; this hike is easy enough that you might as well do it while you're here.
Dogs are allowed on leash. This trail is short, and despite being a uphill climb for a few hundred feet, it is quite gradual and doable at almost any age. Given its distance from Little Rock, it's far enough away to keep out some of the crowds but close enough that you will definitely see others on the trail and might have to wait your turn to take a picture at the summit. Thanks to the mild Arkansas winters (much nicer than anything you'd find in the Midwest), you can hike here all year. The relatively higher elevation and density of trees means you can escape some of the summer heat in this park.
You should be able to see the trail as you look north on the road; there's a brown wooden sign labeling the Mossback Ridge Trail on the right side and another labeling the Signal Hill Trail on the left. Take the Signal Hill Trail and follow signs to the summit. Although technically the trail is uphill the entire way to the top, it is so gradual you will hardly notice the incline. The trail isn't particularly scenic due to all the trees blocking any view, and if it weren't for the stone map of Arkansas and sign pictured at the top of the page, the destination would be anticlimactic. Once you're done at the top, head back the way you came; you can make the trail a loop if you follow signs for the campground, but the extra distance isn't worth it when you realize the scenery is nothing different than what you saw on the way here.
After you finish the hike, I highly encourage you to visit the lodge if only to see the stupendous views pictured below. Now that you've finished this hike, check out some of the other more scenic hikes in this wonderful park, like the trail to Inspiration Point and Sunrise Rock or the North Rim Trail. I hope this trip will inspire you to highpoint more states as it inspired me. Happy hiking, and be sure to use #nocoastbestcoast on Instagram and Twitter!
From Little Rock, take Interstate 40 west. Exit for Arkansas Highway 247 in Pottsville and turn left. Turn left again at Arkansas Highway 27 and continue straight until the T intersection with Arkansas Highway 10. Turn right and continue straight until Havana. Turn right on Arkansas Highway 309. Once in the main area of the park, follow the signs for the Lodge, turning left on Mt. Magazine Road then left again on Lodge Road. There should be a little clearing on the left side of the road near the turnoff for House Gap where you can park. You can also park at the lodge if all the spots are taken, and there will be a trail connecting to the summit trail across the street from the cabins.
Google Maps Directions
Parking, Fees, and Facilities
Parking is free! There aren't any facilities at small parking area by the side of the road, but the nearby lodge has bathrooms and more (in addition to some sweet views).