Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Magazine Mountain Visit and Update

Been awhile since I've posted, but nothing exciting as of late.  I've been training and getting outside as much as possible!  I've ridden more than ever, but of course I have only one more week left before I start work.  So that's the short and quick update, now for the post.

On Monday, I decided that I would head out to Magazine Mountain in Arkansas.  Magazine is the highest point in Arkansas so with the weather being nice I went out there for some cycling and a short hike. 

Mount Magazine is located in Western Arkansas 10 miles north of Havana and 10 south of Paris on Hwy 309.  Hwy 309 is the only to drive to the top.  There are various trails that are available to hike and mountain bike up. 

One of the main reasons I wanted to go out there was to ride up Hwy 309 from the south.  I've done a couple of good climbs before around home, but nothing like this.  Hwy 309 from the south is also the steeper way to the top.  If you come in from the north, the climb is more gradual and longer. 

I parked at the visitor center and rode down to the bottom turned around and began the climb.  The climb itself is very nice.  Most of the road is shaded and in decent condition, but you need to be careful on the decent.  As you ride up, you encounter some nice streams and small waterfalls on the lower portion.  As you get to the top near the first lookout, the shade goes away, but you close to the top!  I used the first lookout as a turnaround point before heading back to the bottom for the second climb to the top.  The climb itself is not overall that difficult.  It is a very long climb, but there are not any steep sections.  I was able to stay seated throughout the climb and was very comfortable.  The only time I didn't was toward the end of the second climb and I wanted to see if I finish the second climb faster. 

After completing the second climb, I rode back to the visitor center, but decided to go ahead and ride around the lodge area to take in the views, before I would hike to the highest point in Arkansas.  When I was finished with the ride, I headed over to the lodge area where you can easily access the trail to the top. 

I hiked to the top and visited some areas around there for the views headed back to the car and back to Conway.

Overall, I loved the area.  I would like to do some more hiking/running/riding up there.  Too bad it was a little hazy, but still had some great views.  Also, they have hotel and cabins up there which could make for a nice weekend or you could also camp.  Some pictures are below.

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