· · ·

Mount Magazine Arkansas: Hike the Highest Point in Arkansas

You may not expect to find much in this little nook of Arkansas, nestled inconspicuously between the two giants of Ozark and Ouachita National Forests.  But the humble little gem that is Mount Magazine State Park not only houses the highest point in Arkansas, Mount Magazine, but also a selection of cozy camping, secluded trails, and plenty of other recreational activities.   Visitors will get a picturesque view of some of the charm and natural beauty that helps to give Arkansas its nickname, the Natural State.


Visiting Mount Magazine Arkansas, the highest point in Arkansas


Disclosure: Below are some affiliate links-these are all products I highly recommend. I won’t make any recommendations on this page that I haven’t tested or personally used! Enjoy this guide to visiting the highest point in Arkansas!



Guide to Mount Magazine, Arkansas


It is ironic that the highest point in Arkansas should reside in such quaint, humble surroundings.  But that is what makes a visit to this area so endearing.  Mount Magazine and Mount Magazine State Park embrace the natural side of the Natural State perfectly.


Location of Mount Magazine, Arkansas


Mount Magazine, the highest point in Arkansas, resides in Mount Magazine State Park, in northwestern Arkansas.  It is sandwiched by Ozark National Forest to the north, and Ouachita National Forest to the south.  It is also centrally located to the cities of Fort Smith, Little Rock, and Hot Springs, while simultaneously in close proximity to “small town Arkansas”, with rural towns such as Paris and Magazine.


 Mount Magazine, Arkansas, and its surroundings

Mount Magazine Camping


Camping in Mount Magazine State Park, in the shadow of the highest point in Arkansas, is the best way to fully experience this state’s famed natural side!  Mount Magazine camping consists of one campground, the Cameron Bluff Campground, with 18 reservable sites equipped with water, electric, and bathroom and shower facilities on site.  Reservations can be made online or by phone, and cost between $12 and $34 per night.  The bonus to acquiring one of these sites, is that the trail to the state high point is just around the corner from the campground, and can be easily visited by any Mount Magazine camping guests.


Insider Tip: Mount Magazine State Park and the Cameron Bluff Campground reside in black bear country.  If booking a campsite online, be sure to read over the accompanying tips for black bear safety. 


Nightfall near Mount Magazine, Arkansas
Nightfall near Mount Magazine, Arkansas

The Lodge at Mount Magazine


For those looking for more of an upgraded lodging experience, Mount Magazine State Park offers rustic options at their resident lodge.  Located at the base of Mount Magazine, these rooms offer sweeping views over the Petit Jean River, Blue Mountain Lake, and the highest point in Arkansas, all while equipped with a restaurant, indoor swimming pool, and gift shop on site.  Pet friendly rooms are available.  Reservations can be made online or by phone.


Insider Tip: one of the truly unique offerings here is that no matter what room you stay in, all guest rooms face the same panoramic views of Petit Jean and Blue Mountain Lake!

Mount Magazine Cabins


Adjoining to the Lodge at Mount Magazine are thirteen individual cabins available for reservation online or by phone.  There are several options of one, two, and three bedroom cabins for booking.  Each individual cabin includes a kitchen, washer and dryer, 1:1 ratios of bedrooms to bathrooms, outdoor decks and hot tubs, fireplaces, and the same stunning views as found from the lodge.  Pet friendly rooms are also available for the cabins.


Hiking the Highest Point in Arkansas


While not the longest trail in Mount Magazine State Park, the trail to the highest point in Arkansas embraces the same humble charm and beauty that exudes from every other spot in this park.  Known by several names, including the “Mount Magazine Trail”, “High Point Trail”, and “Signal Hill”, this short, shady, and secluded trail is the perfect addition to an itinerary of day hikes at Mount Magazine State Park.  While visiting the park, know that this trail is referenced here as the “Signal Hill” trail.  Hikers and visitors will see signage labeled “Signal Hill to the High point”.  


This trail also provides a perfect setting to mingle and meet other visitors, as the trail head is within a short jaunt from where guests are staying at the Mount Magazine Lodge and Cabins.  Not every state high point is accessible to younger hikers and pets, but this one is!  Extremely family and pet friendly, hikers will no doubt get to share in the excitement with other high point hikers and their children.  Our pup Middy made several new friends along this path herself!


Quick Facts on Hiking the Signal Hill Trail (Mt. Magazine Summit)


Length: 1.5 mile loop roundtrip


Elevation: 2,753 feet


Difficulty Level: Easy


Total Elevation Gain: 246 feet

Signal Hill Trail Elevation Chart in Mount Magazine State Park, Arkansas

Signal Hill Trail Elevation Chart 

Dog Friendly:  Yes! Dogs must be leashed.


Best Time of Year to Hike:  Mt. Magazine State Park is open year round, and Mt. Magazine itself is fun and enjoyable to hike year round.  Spring and fall are the most ideal seasons, but summer and winter are still manageable, though you may encounter more extreme temperatures.


Estimated Time to Complete: 30 – 45 minutes


Fees: park entrance is FREE, hiking Mt. Magazine is FREE!  (You will have to pay fees for the lodge, cabins, camping, etc).



Unfortunately, there is not much of an actual view from the top of Mount Magazine, or the Signal Hill Trail.  The summit is enclosed by a circumference of tall trees and foliage.  But what might be lacking in views is compensated with a large, carved, stone map of Arkansas resting at the summit, as well as a large sign at the high point perfect for photo ops, and a visitors log for signing.


The Signal Hill summit
The summit of Mount Magazine Arkansas

Other Notable Mount Magazine Trails


To make a full day or a full weekend out of Mount Magazine State Park, just check out some of these other worthwhile jaunts in addition to the highest point in Arkansas.


North Rim Trail


The Signal Hill Trail may be the state high point trail, but it was not necessarily my favorite hike in Mount Magazine State Park.  That honor would go to the North Rim Trail, with its rocky ledges opening up to sweeping expanses over the rolling hills of northwest Arkansas.  If you want panoramic views, this is the hike for you.  What initially appears to be several miles of mostly flat, shady, foliaged hiking instead has several surprise and unexpected openings in the treeline with incredible vistas.  The North Rim Trail head can be found to the immediate left of the Mount Magazine Visitor’s Center and parking area.


Length: 2.2 miles out and back roundtrip


Difficulty Level: Easy – Moderate


Looking out from Mount Magazine, Arkansas
Views from one of the rocky ledges along the North Rim Trail at Mount Magazine Arkansas

Mossback Ridge Trail


The Mossback Ridge trail is the southern counterpart to the North Rim Trail.  If starting out on and finishing the North Rim Trail, hikers can easily pick up the trail head for Mossback Ridge where North Rim ends, and continue on back to the Visitor’s Center.  This trail is almost completely shaded, peacefully quiet, and consistently flat. 


Length: 2.1 miles out and back roundtrip


Difficulty Level: Easy


Insider Tip: the North Rim Trail, Signal Hill Trail, and Mossback Ridge Trail can all be combined into one big “loop” hike, totaling approximately 5.5 miles in length.  In order to hike this combined loop, begin at the trailhead for the North Rim Trail, to the immediate left of the Mount Magazine Visitor’s Center.  Follow the trail until you reach the end and emerge from the forest onto the park road.  If you proceed to the right, you will see signs for the Signal Hill Trail within a minute or so of walking on the park road.  Hike the loop trail to Signal Hill and the top of Mount Magazine, and then proceed back to the spot along the park road where the North Rim Trail ended.  Immediately across the park road from the termination of the North Rim Trail, the trailhead for the Mossback Ridge Trail begins.  This trail will take hikers back eastward towards the Visitor’s Center, acting as the North Rim Trail’s southern counterpart.  

Will’s Apple Road Trail


This short, charmingly named trail can be accessed along the trail head that begins to the immediate right of the Visitor’s Center.  Whereas the other trails listed here can all be combined to form one long, continuous loop with each other, Will’s Apple Road Trail is more of a stand alone, short hike.  The highlight of this trail is its unique ties to earlier Arkansas history, and the chance for visitors to see the remains of an old swimming hole and abandoned early home sites.  


Length: 1.6 miles out and back roundtrip


Difficulty Level: Easy



Cove Lake Trail


If you area looking for a long and challenging day hike, or a overnight backpacking trek, this is the one hike in Mount Magazine State Park that can meet those requirements.  Visitors can pick up this trail from either Cove Lake Recreation Area, located north of Mount Magazine State Park along the Mount Magazine Scenic Byway, or the trail head adjacent to the Cameron Bluff Campground within the Mount Magazine State Park boundaries. 


This is a forested setting, with water features and plenty of chances to see wildlife.  Backcountry camping is permitted within the National Forest, and there are several suitable spots for an overnight camp along the trail. 


If you choose to pick up the trailhead at Cove Lake Recreation area, you can park in the designated parking lot near the water within the day use and campground area ($5 entry fee) and walk to the trail head, or there is parking for one or two vehicles right off the road that leads into Cove Lake Recreation area, but without having to actually pay and enter Cove Lake.  The actual trail head is off this park road just prior to the Cove Lake Recreation area entrance.


Length: 9.7 miles out and back


Difficulty: Moderate


Total Elevation Gain: 2,723 feet


Hiking through Mount Magazine, Arkansas
Stopping for a water break along the Cove Lake Trail

Nearby Recreational Activities


The Mount Magazine Arkansas region has several other offerings in addition to its trails, such as rock climbing, hang gliding, scenic drives, and recreation areas.


Rock Climbing and Hang Gliding in Mount Magazine State Park


This area of Arkansas is renowned for having some superb rock climbing, rappelling, and bouldering opportunities, especially here in Mount Magazine State Park.  Along the southern bluff of the park, just south of the Mossback Ridge Trail, is a designated climbing section open to climbers.  Up to 100 routes, some ranging 80 feet in height, are open to climb along this stretch of the mountain’s southern face.  All visitors interested in rock climbing must register at the Mount Magazine State Park Visitor’s Center.  


For those in search of a true adrenaline rush, Mount Magazine has one more surprise in store! Located adjacent to the designated stretch of rock climbing, along the southern edge of the park’s border, is the launch pad for hang gliding.  The location and elevation of Mount Magazine create optimal gliding conditions, and is one of the best destinations in the state to enjoy this thrill. 


As with rock climbing, visitors interested in participating must register at the Mount Magazine Visitor’s Center, and comply with the stated rules, including presenting current certification, and requirements that gliders must be Class 4 certified in order to fly solo.  Parking is available at the launch site.  This launch site is only to be used by gliders who are bringing and using their own equipment, and who have experience with hang gliding.  Gliders are not available to rent.  However, non-gliding guests are welcome to come observe flights from the launching area.  


Mount Magazine Scenic Byway


In order to visit Mount Magazine and Mount Magazine State Park, visitors must drive along the Mount Magazine Scenic Byway.  This picturesque drive intersects the state park as it winds between the small towns of Paris in the north and Havana in the south, traversing the heart of Mount Magazine State Park and the surrounding area, including Cove Lake and Cove Lake Recreation Area.  Rocky ledges, overlooks of blue and green hills, quaint towns, and stately groves of trees are some of the sights drivers will be treated to along the way.  


Cove Lake Recreation Area and Campground


Cove Lake Recreation Area is a fantastic addition to the activities found in the Mount Magazine region.  This lake and recreation area have a very secluded feeling to them, as evidenced by the shoreline full of undisturbed lily pads, and a waterfront noticeably devoid of loud boat traffic.  Graced on the horizon by gently rolling hills, this is a great spot to stop and enjoy a few waterfront activities, such as fishing, boat rentals, and picnicking. 


There is also a designated campground here, with twenty available campsites, both tent and RV, and amenities including tables, campfire rings, grills, toilets, showers, and drinking water.  Reservations are available online for the Cove Lake Recreation Area campground for $10 a night.  


Insider Tip: Campsites 19 and 20 are secluded by themselves, away from the other grouping of sites.


What You Need To Bring for Mount Magazine, Arkansas


There are a few pieces of gear to bring along on your visit to Mount Magazine, Arkansas!


Disclosure: Below are some affiliate links-these are all products I highly recommend. I won’t make any recommendations on this page that I haven’t tested or personally used!



***Download your own Day Hiking Essentials Checklist HERE!



  • There is not much elevation gain on any of the trails here at Mount Magazine, so a hiking boot is not really necessary.  However, I would recommend a trail running shoe with good traction and grip.  I have trail ran and hiked more trails than I can count in my trusted and proven HOKA One One Speedgoat trail runners!


  • A good pair of shoes will only go as far as what you pair them with!  So be sure to pair them with an equally high performance pair of socks.  Hiking socks that are designed to help prevent blisters are always a bonus for me personally when hiking.  I used to get bad blisters on all my longer day hikes, and nothing can derail a good day of hiking faster than a blister.  But now, I haven’t had a single blister since discovering Hilly Twin Skin Socks, even on my longest day hikes like the Grand Canyon’s Rim to Rim hike, or the 21 mile hike to the top of California’s Mt. Whitney, the highest point in the lower 48 states. The “twin skin” design of Hilly Twin Skin socks is what helps to prevent the friction that can cause blisters.


  • It can get a little warm and humid here in this southern forested region of the country, so it will definitely make your ventures more comfortable if you dress the part for the environment.  Nothing is more comfy to hike in than a good moisture wicking, breathable, quick drying wool tank!


  • If your hiking conditions are going to be cold and windy, I recommend these two outstanding protective layers.  First, a multi-functional BUFF.  This simple yet versatile hiking accessory can act as a earmuff, balaclava, neck warmer, headband, etc.  Second, a light weight, compressible, yet fully waterproof and windproof outer shell.  It is hard to find the perfect balance of those things, but there is a winner in Outdoor Research’s Helium II jacket.


Views from the base of Mount Magazine Arkansas
Cove Lake Recreation Area nearby Mt. Magazine, Arkansas


Read More: Hiking Mount Magazine was just one of my most memorable state high point hikes.  If you are interested in some of the other high points I’ve reached and are curious how to hike them yourself, check out my posts dedicated to a few of my other favorites, such as Wheeler Peak in New Mexico, Guadalupe Peak in Texas, King’s Peak in Utah, and Humphrey’s Peak in Arizona!


You can check out my full trail reports and guides to all my completed U.S. state high points HERE!



What About the Other State High Points in the U.S.?

Learn about EACH one of them with this FREE 50 State High Points Graphic!




Mount Magazine Arkansas region


Get Your FREE Hiking Checklist PDF

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

One Comment