Get away from the hustle and bustle and retreat to the Ouachitas! Get back in touch with nature and your senses with clean fresh air, breathtaking views, crystal clear water, and therapy that only our untouched beauty and exclusion can deliver! Thousands of visitors flock to the Mena area each year to take advantage of the fabulous outdoor recreation facilities. The area offers numerous crystal clear streams and great camping opportunities, and there are private facilities for rides, guide services and rentals available too!
They are all just waiting for you in the splendor of the Ouachita Mountains!
Fall Foliage Like no other… The autumn’s changing colors bring the Ouachitas to life! Mena, and the Ouachita Mountains it resides in, are probably best known for its spectacular fall foliage. Many travel groups make the journey here each year to see the splendor of the deciduous mountain sides come alive with color. One of the area’s top attractions displaying fall color is the Talimena Scenic Drive, now a national scenic byway. Local and national artists have used our splendid backdrop as the focus of paintings and photography. Peak foliage occurs during late October and early November. Take in the view by driving or get back to nature by hiking, horse back riding, ATV riding, or camping. There’s so much to see AND do while you’re here!
Shady Lake Recreation Area Let us float your boat! Lakes offer a variety of recreational activities year round. So whether your desire is boating, fishing, camping, swimming, skiing, or personal watercraft…the perfect ingredients for a great vacation… we have a lake in our area that's guaranteed to float your boat!
Mena is within an hour’s drive of such lakes as Wilhelmina, Shady, Gillham, DeQueen, Wister, and Broken Bow. Smaller lakes are also within close proximity. Gain access to Arkansas' largest lake, Lake Ouachita, just southeast of Mena on Hwy 88. Try your luck at a variety of species of bass, crappie, perch, or check out some of our rivers & creeks.
Canoeing & Kayaking Casual paddler or experienced whitewater navigator! If the term "skull crusher" (the Indian name for Cossatot) isn't a deterrent and excites you, then you'll want to conquer the waters of the Cossatot River. Defined by the National Park Service as "the most challenging whitewater float in Arkansas," Cossatot's waters are not for the casual paddler. The river's characteristics give it Class IV/Class V ratings.
Floatable river levels are usually limited to late-fall, winter and spring. For river stage information (in feet) from the Highway 246 access, call (870) 387-3141 or visit the U.S. Geological Survey website for Cossatot River real time data at: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?07340300 . Since flow levels are dependent upon rainfall, no floater services or outfitters are provided on the Cossatot River .
The Little Missouri River offers a more relaxed float (Class I-III) and for the more experienced floater, a small section offers Class IV. There is much to see and do along the river besides floating. Rest and relax in the deep Ouachita National Forest and enjoy deep swimming holes or photograph the beautiful scenery and wildlife.
Rivers Babbling brooks or whitewater excitement! Ouachita, Cossatot, Caddo, Little Missouri, and Mountain Fork rivers all flow through the area surrounding Mena, offering an abundance of fun or relaxation. Nature is at its purest form and offers visitors opportunities to fish, float, swim, canoe, kayak, camp or take pictures. This breathtaking, untouched piece of heaven is a place you’ll want to return to…again and again.
Fishing Get hooked on our waters! With the area's abundant lakes, rivers, and streams, you're guaranteed to get hooked on a Ouachita vacation! Bass fishing, the area's most popular and abundant, can be enjoyed most months of the year and found in all the area's lakes and rivers. Our waters offer a variety of the bass species. Other catches may include crappie, perch, and on the Little Missouri River, cool-season rainbow fishing.
Hunt Arrowheads Discover the rich history! The major Indian tribes that lived along the Ouachita were the Washita, Caddo, Osage, Tensas , Chickasaw and Choctaw. “ Washita ,” today known as OUACHITA, is an Indian word meaning…”River of good hunting grounds….and sparkling silver water.” Many tribes existed here before the appearance of European explorers. Many of their tools are still left to be discovered. Visit Ouachita Renegade Ranch or call 479-394-3848 to learn more about this private facility and their new plowed field. Sifters and shovels are available or bring your own.
Hunting Pack your gun and head for the hills
Mena and the surrounding area are home to an abundant whitetail deer herd. Liberal seasons exist for archery, crossbow, muzzleloaders and modern guns. Wild turkey and small game are also abundant.
Golfing Pack your irons! Mena has two golf courses. The Mena Golf Club can be found at 500 Lions Club Road just off Hwy 71 S (479-243-0699) or the Ouachita Golf Course is located just off Hwy 88 E (479-394-5382).