Arkansas’ Natural State

From mountain to valley, prairie to forest, western Arkansas shows it all.

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Excursions: The Arkansas Missouri Railroad passenger train currently runs between Fort Smith and Winslow Saturday mornings along with a few other excursions weekdays. Look for the schedule to pick up into spring. www.wamrailroad.com

Know on the go: Arkansas’ state tourism app offers mobile access to information on all the state’s best attractions, lodgings and tips to save money, including coupons.

Guests in waiting: The majestic Queen Wilhelmina’s Lodge in Mena has been closed since March 2012 for an extensive, $7.4 million renovation. Purported problems with the original project contractor have delayed the opening from last December to late 2014. We’ve seen the plans – it’ll be worth the wait.

More To Tour

Cosmic Cavern: The term “show cave” derived because of places like the Cosmic Cavern in Berryhill near the Missouri border. A tour features awesome mineral formations, rare blind cave salamanders and cave trout. Take the pedestrian route or explore in the raw on a wild cave tour. www.cosmiccavern.com

Cosmic Cavern. Photo courtesy Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism.

Cosmic Cavern. Photo courtesy Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism.

Rick Evans Grandview Prairie Conservation Education Center: Arkansas’ varied terrain includes prairie in its timberlands near the Texas border. These low-lying Arkansas blacklands – named for the rich soil supporting hundreds of plant and animal species – are part of the state’s conservation and restoration program to promote the outdoors and good land stewardship. www.agfc.com

Talimena National Scenic Byway: Some say the best time to take this 54-mile detour through the Ouachita Mountains is in autumn, but the drive through eastern Oklahoma and western Arkansas is gorgeous year-round and particularly exciting on motorcycle. www.talimenascenicdrive.com

The Lodge at Mount Magazine. Photo courtesy Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism.

The Lodge at Mount Magazine. Photo courtesy Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism.

Stay In Style

The Lodge at Mount Magazine: You’ll think you’ve landed somewhere in New England at this modern-rustic resort lodge on the sweeping south bluff of Mount Magazine. With 60 rooms, the Skycrest Restaurant, conference center, indoor swimming pool and fitness amenities, The Lodge is a must-see in all seasons. www.mountmagazinestatepark.com

Beckham Creek Cave Lodge: This isn’t Neanderthal living – the Beckham Creek Cave Lodge is more akin to a bed and breakfast. Excavated out of a rocky hillside, the lodge has a colorful past and is said to have hosted celebrities from Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Jackson to Arnold Schwarzenegger. A heliport makes getting to the secluded accommodations in Parthenon easier. www.beckhamcavelodge.com

Visit Online

www.arkansas.com

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