One Tank Travels: Mount Ida

Wegner Quartz Crystal Mines in Mount Ida
Wegner Quartz Crystal Mines in Mount Ida

Mount Ida is surrounded by the beautiful Ouachita National Forest, so outdoor adventure is a highlight of a visit to town. This tiny town makes a great day trip venture from both Little Rock and Hot Springs. 

Quartz crystals are a main draw here and rock shops line the highways in and around the town. Private quartz mines, usually associated with local rock shops, also allow visitors to search for their own crystals for fees. Along with digging for crystals, hiking and biking are big lures here at places like the Lake Ouachita Vista Trail. This trail has a number of trail segments, along with some short out-and-back or loop spurs leading off a trail segment, that you can take on.

Many trailhead signs can be seen along Hwy 270 for the different routes. You can learn more about different routes at Other epic trails in the area include the Womble Trail and Ouachita National Recreation Trail. 

Lake Ouachita Vista Trail

At the 40,100-acre Lake Ouachita you can fish, camp, swim, boat, kayak, and more. The lake is also home to private resorts and marinas, where you can find spots to stay at. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' recreation areas on the lake also have campgrounds, swimming beaches and boat launch ramps. 

Lake Ouachita

Floating and stream fishing are available nearby on the upper Ouachita and Caddo rivers. Cabins are available near both streams.

The Ouachita National Forest is packed with campgrounds, day-use parks, scenic areas like Little Missouri Falls, hiking and backpacking trails, and many miles of backcountry roads for touring. Be sure to put Mount Ida on your list of getaway spots.