Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Signal Hill - High Point of Arkansas

Signal Hill, in Mount Magazine State Park, is the highest point in the state of Arkansas. Mount Magazine is a plateau in the Boston Mountains, part of the Ozark National Forest, about 120 miles northwest of Little Rock and 17 miles southeast of Paris. I have always envisioned Arkansas as a mountainous state and was a little surprised and disappointed at how "hilly" it was, as opposed to mountainous. It reminded me a little of West Virginia, although more populous and with smaller hills. 

We were traveling from Little Rock to Oklahoma City anyway and Signal Hill was about an hour diversion that allowed us to break up that drive into two segments. We made reservations at the Mount Magazine Lodge which is just a few hundred yards from one of the trail heads to Signal Hill. 

Although Signal Hill is not all that high by western U.S. standards, we drove up from Havana on a long road with some switchbacks that offered little visibility at times from fog, then eventually emerged above the fog for a view above it, as though looking across a vast inland sea. A roadside lookout just inside the park provided a view with a nice sense of elevation and a "Bear Crossing" sign added a feeling of wildness. 

There are three trail heads and we took the one which starts across the street from cabin no. five, just down the road from the lodge. The trail head elevation is 2,580 feet. The trail slopes up gently over the course of .72 miles, with an elevation gain of 173 feet, through leafless trees and a forest floor of brown fallen leaves and lichen covered rocks. 
Judy at the trail head.
Mount Magazine Lodge in the distance.
Judy hikes ahead.
Another trail merges into the trail we were on.
The high point, at 2,753 feet, does have a sense of elevation over its surroundings, but not much of one. A bench is provided for those weary from the "hike" and a "summit" register is located inside a mail box nearby. There is supposed to be a 400 square foot stone map of Arkansas at the top, but I didn't see it. 

The real high point of the diversion was the stay at Mt. Magazine Lodge which is very nice. There were only a few visitors at the lodge which reminded us somewhat of the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite.


  1. It's always fun to see the slightly different perspective of pictures and thoughts about the places Judy has blogged about, too. And crazy that the highest point in Arkansas is not very high at all.

  2. My kind of hike, followed by my kind of lodgings. Definitely worth the detour.