My family and I relocated to Texas 4 years ago for work. My wife and I went to college surrounded by the mountains of Utah, so the move was difficult for both of us. We miss our mountains and try to make a trip up to Colorado a few times per year to get our "fix". Recently, we decided to get into high pointing, and discovered that Mount Magazine in Arkansas was only a few hours away. This trip report covers our trip and our successful summit bid!
My family and I planned to head up to Arkansas over Thanksgiving break. My wife wasn't able to take off work on November 26th, but she was able to leave a little early. We left Plano, Texas at approximately 3pm and headed north on highway 75. Unfortunately, everybody else was trying to leave work early, and we hit traffic in McKinney. Once clear of the rush hour traffic, we made good time heading up through Oklahoma. We stopped in Durant, OK for dinner. After a brief stop, we continued northward eventually taking the exit for I-40 east bound. After one more stop for gas (at which point our 13 month old awoke) we drove on though the night to Arkansas. Once past Fort Smith, AR, we took our exit for Paris, AR. We drove though back country roads and saw a few deer. We took the final turn for Mount Magazine and started heading up the mountain. The drive up started at approximately 500 ft above sea level and cumulated at 2,600 ft. The drive was twisty with several blind corners. There had been an ice storm 2 days before, but gratefully the road was clear. We finally reached the lodge at Mount Magazine at 10pm, 6 hours after leaving. We checked in to the hotel (highly recommended) and prepared for our summit attempt the following day.The next morning our cute kid woke up early (too early!), and after getting ready, we hit the lodge restaurant for some breakfast. The meal was great, and the portions were huge. Prices were also reasonable (especially since the only other options were driving down the mountain to try and find something in town, or a cold breakfast bar brought from home). With breakfast finished we bundled up and headed outside.
I had done some research on summit post regarding the hike to the top prior to our trip. I had read that the hike was not to strenuous, but I didn't have many other details. I stopped by the front desk to ask if the trail was stroller capable or if a backpack was required (backpack is needed). I was also advised that the hike should take roughly an hour (up and back). Armed with this information we loaded our kiddo into the backpack and headed up the mountain.
It was a very cold day for Arkansas, the low overnight was 15 degrees. We started our hike at 17 degrees. According to the Mount Magazine website, the peak is usually 10 degrees cooler than the surrounding valleys.
The trail head was easy to spot, located just off the main road by the lodge. We started up and made good time. About 5 minutes in we spotted our first leftover snow from the storm that occurred two days earlier.
The trail was pretty easy. I'd describe it was slightly less steep than a wheelchair ramp. There were a few exposed roots and some rocks. Aside from that, the only other real hazards were the slippery leaves that had fallen.
Fifteen minutes after starting out, we reached the summit. There was a bit of wind, maybe 5-10 mph. I'd estimate the wind chill was upper single digits. We posed for pictures and signed the log book.
We headed down quickly due to the cold. On the way down, my son decided that he was bored and promptly fell asleep. To be fair, I can't say that I minded much, as it is easier to carry a 30 pound load that isn't constantly wiggling or playing with one's hair. Love that guy! Anyway, the descent was uneventful, and we arrived back at the hotel in about 15 minutes. Total elapsed time was roughly 30 minutes, including a few minutes at the summit. Total distance was 1 mile (0.5 each way).