I was returning home to Missouri after a Christmas trip to the southland, so I decided to “bag” Mount Magazine in Arkansas, weather permitting, on the way. The previous day I had “bagged” Driskill Mountain in Louisiana.
I left El Dorado, Ark., early in the morning and, driving though a steady rain, reached Mount Magazine by late morning. The drive up State Road 309 from Havana is very scenic, rising about 1500 feet in 10 miles, as you climb above the Petit Jean River valley. A short paved spur from 309 takes you near the summit. Fortunately it stopped raining as I approached the top. I saw a sign for the trailhead and parked across the road. According to a message posted on the trailhead sign it’s about half a mile and 150 vertical feet to the summit.
On the way up I met a family of four coming down, but saw no one else while I was there. The trail is well-maintained and easy to follow. At the summit there is the usual sign and box containing a registration notebook. There’s not much of a view, though, even during leaf-off, but the drive up to and around the summit has many spectacular views. There appear to be several trails that reach the summit, and a campground is nearby.
It was windy and cold at the top, and I was glad that I wore a hooded parka for the brief (10 minutes) climb to the summit. It was my 14th state high point.