Monday, October 19—Day Trip to Queen Wilhelmina State Park

Rain was in our forecast at Hot Springs Village for much of the day, and in checking, western Arkansas was scheduled to be free of rain and partly sunny. With nothing on either of our schedules, she suggested we visit Queen Wilhelmina State Park since neither of us had ever been there. Kay packed sandwiches and drinks, and after a late start, we drove south and west through Hot Springs, and then west along US Highway 270. Much of the route was south of Lake Ouachita and in Ouachita National Forest; it was a trip I’ve been wanting to take for a long time! 

Our first stop was at a US Forest Service Ranger Station; Kay asked about day hikes and primitive camping, and received great information from the staff. They did have a policy of only one set of guests in the office at a time, but they made an effort to come onto the porch and speak with her before she went in, waiting on another couple to finish.

USFS Ranger Station along US Highway 270 west of Hot Springs, AR

From there we drove to the state park, only to be shrouded in heavy fog about half way up the mountain. Visibility was less than a hundred feet! Obviously, there were no views to be had, and it didn’t make sense to do any hiking. After driving around the park, we drove back down the mountain, and made at least one photo where the fog had partially lifted.

Our only view from the mountain at Queen Wilhelmina SP

Enroute home, we stopped at Hickory Nut Mountain Campground, a US Forest Service site recommended by the ranger. It was indeed beautiful. We opted to hike a short trail up the mountain to where a fire tower had been, photographing several things along the trail. We do enjoy day trips.

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