Today’s Trip: Hot Springs to Mount Ida
Mount Ida is surrounded by the beautiful Ouachita National Forest,so outdoor adventure is a highlight of a visit to town.
For starters, there is the Lake Ouachita Vista Trail (LOVEiT). This trail consists of a number of trail segments, along with some short out-and-back or loop spurs leading off a trail segment. Many trailhead signs can be seen along Hwy 270 for the different routes. The Traildogs ( the never tiring group of volunteers that work on the trail) have a very resourceful website if you might want to learn more about the history of the trail or the different routes.
Another standout trail in the area is the Womble Trail,
an excellent outlet for hikers and bikers to enjoy and learn of the beauty and nature of the Ouachitas. Named an Epic Route by IMBA, the International Mountain Bicycling Association, it is known as one of the top single-track hiking and biking trails in the nation and offers views of the bluffs along the Ouachita River.
Located 7 miles Northeast of Mt. Ida, this route takes the rider 37 miles from Northfork Lake to the Ouachita National Recreation Trail point to point. In some spots, the trail follows ridge tops and bluffs above the Ouachita River and Lake Ouachita that offer scenic views. The trail hosts moderate to difficult terrain and is home to a popular mountain bike race every year known as the Ouachita Challenge. Either one of these trails has enough terrain for an all-day excursion if that is something you might like to do.
Or if you want to mix it up, for those rockhounds out there, rock shops line the highways in and around town, and you’ll see the sign
proclaiming Mount Ida the “Quartz Crystal Capital of the World” when you enter the town limits. There are many spots to dig for crystals
around town including Wegner Quartz Crystal Mines at 82 Wegner Ranch Road.
Fun fact:the town is also home to the World Championship Quartz Crystal dig every
October. If you need to refuel for more adventures, ideas on places to eat can be found here.
Another neat thing is to check out a performance at the Montgomery County Frontporch Stage. This takes place on the Montgomery County Courthouse lawn and from May-October, free performances of bluegrass, gospel, country and other music can be heard from 7-9 p.m. every Saturday night.
Besides lakes and trails, you are also near top-notch rivers like the upper Ouachita and Caddo. So if canoeing, floating, or stream fishing are more of a lure for you, then that is an option too.
Depending on how tired you are after a day in the outdoors, you can either head back to Hot Springs or make your base camp at a cabin at Mountain Harbor Resort. Or other options can be found here.