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Drive 94.5 miles • 2 hours, 44 minutes

The Natural State truly lives up to its name on this route, with profound beauty on display throughout its national and state parks, warm mineral springs and scenic mountain trails.




1. Lake Catherine State Park

Starting Point • Nature, Outdoor Recreation

Lake Catherine State Park is home to one of Central Arkansas’ five Diamond Lakes—so named because of the rich deposits of diamond and quartz found in the earth around these sparkling bodies of water. Three hiking trails—Falls Branch Trail, Horseshoe Mountain Trail and Dam Mountain Trail—lead hikers to stunning cascades at Falls Creek Falls State Park. The park boasts a marina, guided hikes, horseback riding, lake tours and nature programs. Fishing enthusiasts can catch bass, crappie, bream and catfish. Check out the trout fishery on the lake.



Catherine’s Landing At Hot Springs – Hot Springs, AR – (501) 262-255




Hot Springs CVB

2. Hot Springs

15.3 miles, 34 minutes • Entertainment, History Shopping, Sports

Hot Springs is home to 47 thermal springs, putting it on the map as a popular destination for travelers seeking relaxation and rejuvenation.  The therapeutic benefits of the area’s warm mineral springs have lured everyone from world leaders to infamous gangsters to take healing soaks. Hot Springs National Park is home to Bathhouse Row and the Grand Promenade, both part of a National Historic Landmark District. Eight bathhouses built between 1892 and 1923 exude history. Hot Springs also offers thoroughbred racing, shopping, and theme and water parks.


3. Mt. Ida

34 .3 miles, 1 hour • Food, Outdoor Recreation, Shopping

Known as the Quartz Crystal Capital of the World, Mount Ida is treasured in equal measure for its dazzling scenery. Home to Ouachita National Forest and the 40,100-acre Lake Ouachita—where 50-pound largemouth bass wiggle at the end of fishing lines—this region offers camping and watersports of every kind. Nearby hiking trails include the Lake Ouachita Vista Trail, which runs along 47 miles of lake shoreline.  In town, visitors will discover a busy arts community, family-owned restaurants and souvenir shops.


4. Mena

44.9 miles, 1 hour, 10 minutes • History, Nature, Outdoor Recreation

Founded as a railroad town in 1896 and home to one-half of the 1940s radio comedy team, “Lum and Abner,” Mena is at the base of Rich Mountain, the state’s second-highest peak towering at 2,680 feet. Talimenta Scenic Drive is a 54-mile byway, with Queen Wilhelmina State Park nearby to offer expansive views of Arkansas’ Ouachita Mountains. Anglers can enjoy fishing on Lake Wilhelmina or in nearby streams. Cossatot River State Park-Natural Area touts the