We didn't go for the whitewater. Frankly, I'm rather in the older category now and I'm certainly not in shape to handle Category III to V falls. But I've been working really hard to make sure and visit every Arkansas State Park, and Cossatot River State Park Natural Area makes 50 for me.
Hunter and I were headed north on US Highway 71 and were still several miles out of Mena when we saw the classic brown State Park highway sign. I turned off onto Highway 278 to head towards the park.
Daffodils were blooming profusely, evidence of years of habitation in this area. My friend Chuck Haralson once told me he always knew where the old homesteads were because of the daffodils that would bloom in what now looks like wild forest. They were everywhere - in fields, along fence rows, in front and back yards and around trees and even in the ditches.
It was the latter that Hunter showed immediate interest in, and she started absorbing what she read from the panels. This exhibit shares information not only on the history of the park but on why it's so important. See, the Cossatot River's headwaters are in the protected Ouachita National Forest. The state park begins at its edge and provides protection in its watershed, preserving the clear-bottomed stream and its wooded valley.
My favorite part of the visitors center was down this hallway.
There is no wifi here, no static hum of machinery in the distance, just the woods and the silence. There is a small station for children in the corner, but for the most part, this is a place for quiet contemplation.
But what's truly gorgeous is the river. A concrete and steel flat bridge
Learn more about Cossatot River State Park Natural Area here.
Love our epic road trip? Check out these adventures:
We started here.
Then went looking for the Fouke Monster and found the Fouke Monster Mart
Had burgers at Allen's Burger Center in Fouke.
Spent the afternoon at the Four States Auto MuseumDinner that night, we realized El Chico's Arkansas connection
Our overnight accommodations in Texarkana at the Hampton Inn, room 400
This day's adventures also included Elve's Peanut Patties
And, Karen's Krystals in Lockesburg
We had lunch at Cypress Restaurant (or the Five Percent) in De Queen
Next stop: Queen Wilhelmina State Park Lodge
And the next day we explored the Scott Theater in Waldron
and had fried pies at The Rock Cafe