The weather has turned a little cooler and leaves are beginning to change colors in the Hot Springs, Arkansas area. While it’s never easy to predict such things, the best fall foliage in our area usually happens in late October and early November. There are numerous places to view the foliage, so we’ll share a few of our favorites.
The Hot Springs Mountain Tower has 360 degree views of Hot Springs National Park and much of Hot Springs. You can also make the short drive up West Mountain to see similar views from the opposite side of the park. Hickory Nut Mountain is a short drive west of Hot Springs on Highway 270, with beautiful views of Lake Ouachita. Be aware that the road up to the overlook is unpaved. Sunset cruises are offered on DeGray Lake October 17 & 24, and then eagle tours begin October 31. Enjoy a guided tour of the lake with a state park interpreter and perhaps your fall foliage pictures will have a bald eagle in the foreground!
If you have time for a day trip, Mount Magazine State Park is about 2 1/2 hours away. Have lunch in the lodge restaurant, overlooking Petit Jean River Valley, and then take a short hike to the highest point in Arkansas. Spend the afternoon hiking some of the other trails in the park and be sure to visit Cameron Bluff Overlook before making the drive back. Another easy day trip is Queen Wilhelmina State Park atop Rich Mountain, Arkansas’s second highest peak. This drive is also about 2 1/2 hours, and will take you up the Talimena Scenic Drive. The lodge and restaurant are currently under renovation and are expected to open Spring of 2015. However, Mena, AR, is nearby with a variety of restaurant options.
Of course if you don’t want to spend your vacation driving, one of our favorite places to view the fall colors is from our front porch swing! Each of our guest rooms also has a wonderful view, whether it’s the tree-top view from The Ouachita, the private deck off The Hamilton, or the window seat view in The DeGray.