9:00 - 0 miles / 0 - 9:00
Located in the central portion of Arkansas, Mena is nestled in the Ouachita Mountains with cascading streams, bass-filled lakes and a million and a half acres of pristine national forests
9:00 - 8.4 miles / 16 minutes - 9:16
Rich Mountain Fire Tower
Rich Mountain is a great place to experience climbing an old fire tower and to enjoy a picnic lunch on this end of the byway. Volunteers give tours of the tower on weekend afternoons between Memorial Day and Veterans Day.
9:56 - 2.5 miles / 4 minutes - 10:01
Queen Wilhelmina State Park
Resting atop Arkansas' second highest peak, Rich Mountain, The Queen Wilhelmina Lodge has a long history. The original "Castle in the Sky" was built on top of the peak in the late 1890s and named for the newly crowned Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands. The luxurious hotel, built by the Kansas City, Pittsburg and Gulf Railroad Company, was meant as an enticement for people to travel the new north-south railroad. Unfortunately the inn's heyday was short-lived. With the sale of the railroad to new owners, the inn was abandoned and languished in disrepair and ruin for several decades until an act of the Arkansas Senate created a new state park on the site of the old inn in 1957. The second incarnation of the inn opened in 1963 but was completely destroyed by fire only ten years later. The lodge was rebuilt a third time, and its current incarnation opened in 1975.
The new Queen Wilhelmina Lodge is the focal point of Queen Wilhelmina State Park, but it is not the only attraction. The park also boasts an amphitheater, playground, campground, modern bathhouse, and hiking trails. Visitors can also enjoy the miniature railroad, miniature golf course, and the Arkansas Native Plant and Wildlife Center, a rehabilitation center for species native to Arkansas.
11:31 - 1.7 miles / 3 minutes - 11:35
Horse Thief Spring Historic Site and Picnic Ground
A historic spring and picnic ground on the Talimena Scenic Drive, Horse Thief offers trails located along logging roads of the 1920s. Some of these trails follow routes horse thieves used in the 1800s. These outlaws made their camps and corrals near the top of Winding Stair Mountain because of the existence of a perennial spring. Civilian Conservation Corps crews built a stone structure in the 1930s to contain the spring water and prevent subsequent erosion.
12:15 - 37.6 miles / an hour 15 minutes - 13:30
Talimena Scenic Drive - end