Arkansas is a midwest state actually known for its mountains. The Ozark Mountains are unique, the result of tectonic activity below the surface of the region. Three main mountain ranges run through Arkansas, which are among the oldest in North America and are unique in that they run east-west rather than north-south. This contributes to Mt. Magazine's mesa like appearance. Mount Magazine is a flat-topped plateau with a sandstone cap rimmed by precipitous rock cliffs. Two peaks are situated atop the plateau, Signal Hill, which is the tallest point in Arkansas, and Mossback Ridge which reaches 2,700 feet.
Mount Magazine-Signal Hill is the highest peak in Arkansas and the Ozark plateau. The peak is in the Boston Mountains, 120 miles Northwest of Little Rock. It sits in the midst of the Ozark National Forest in the Arkansas River Valley approximately 17 miles south of Paris, Logan County, Arkansas. on Scenic Highway 309 (also known as the Mount Magazine Scenic Byway). The mountain range itself is considered part of the Northern Ouachitas, but it is considered part of the Ozarks because it is in the Ozark National Forest.
The mountain itself is in Mount Magazine State Park, and the highest point on the mountain is called Signal Hill. Mount Magazine State Park is a well-developed state park, complete with a full array of services, campground, and recreational activities. The park offers 18 campsites, hiking trails, pavilion and picnic area with restrooms, and assorted scenic overlooks. The visitor's center maintains an exhibit gallery and gift shop. Interpretive programs are presented by the park staff on a regular basis. Rock climbing, horseback riding, biking, ATV trail riding, and hang gliding are available activities. Mount Magazine is the site of the annual "Mount Magazine International Butterfly Festival". The mountain is also home to black bear, whitetail deer, bobcat, and coyote as well as other species.
From Fort Smith (coming from the West), get off I-40 in Eastern Oklahoma and take route 22 to Paris, or just continue on I-40 East to exit 35, and take route 23 south to Paris. Mount Magazine is 17 miles south of Paris, Arkansas.
From Little Rock (coming from the East), take I-40 West to Russellville, and take Route 7 South to Route 27 South to Route 10 West to Route 309 North.
Mount Magazine State Park is clearly marked on route 309 going in either direction. At the visitor center, you follow the signs and take the park roads to the various trailheads. I recommend getting a park map from the Visitors Center.
Views of the Bluffs are about 2 miles down the road.
Several Trails lead to the highest summit in Arkansas, but we recommend the Benefield Trail (West Loop).
LENGTH: 1 mile
TRAILHEAD: Benefield Picnic Area
In the 1870's Benjamin Benefield homesteaded 160 acres on the southeastern leg of Mount Magazine. It's hard to imagine orchards, vineyards, and row crops once occupied this area. In 1939 WPA/CCC crews built campgrounds and picnic facilities in this area. Some of their work was abandoned during World War II only to be recently rediscovered. Today this trail makes a one-mile loop through a mixed pine and hardwood forest. It crosses Highway 309 and leads to a wildlife pond. The eastern end of the Mossback Ridge Trail starts near the pond. From that pond, the Benefield Trail loops back to the highway at the entrance road to the picnic area. Enjoy wildflowers, butterflies, and birds. Watch for deer and bear.
No permits required. The campground has fees if planning on staying the night. The rangers would like anyone climbing at Mt. Magazine to register at the visitor's center (no fee) This helps not only in an emergency, but also by showing that there is an interest in climbing on the mountain - this will help to keep access open!
Mount Magazine State Park has 18 campsites. Campers must register at the Visitor Center before occupying a site. For more information on camping accessibility see the links page to go to the park website, or call the park headquarters via phone 479-963-8502.
If the Mount Magazine campground is busy, the Cove Lake Recreation Area has a great campground recommended by other highpointers.