“Take A Hike” is a weekly series that examines diversity in the outdoors. In each installment, we’ll highlight one of the Natural State’s 52 state parks and talk to BIPOC Arkansans about what they enjoy about spending time in nature.
"There are so many amazing things to see and do — from floating the river to jumping off high cliffs, to camping and seeing the stars away from the city lights, to visiting some waterfalls."
Name: Will Jenkins
Hometown: Rison, Arkansas
Currently Lives In: Conway, Arkansas
Occupation: IT Technician
Favorite Outdoor Space: Buffalo River Wilderness Area. There are so many amazing things to see and do — from floating the river to jumping off high cliffs, to camping and seeing the stars away from the city lights, to visiting some waterfalls, not to mention all the wildlife!
What’s one outdoor place you want to explore, but haven’t yet?
I haven’t made my way to the trails, hills and waterfalls in NWA around Fayetteville, but it’s on my list!
What do you enjoy about the outdoors?
Between working in technology and having gaming as a hobby, I spend so much of my time around a computer desk. Most days, I’m looking at concrete buildings and asphalt roads and metal signs, forgetting that we have this incredibly beautiful state all around us, just waiting to be explored. It’s so nice to just get out and move!
Do you prefer spending time outdoors alone or with friends? Why?
I prefer to explore with my friends. It’s one thing to see something on my own, but how amazing is it to take your friends to your favorite place and see the look in their eyes and their jaw drop to the floor when they see something like that for the first time?!
What’s your favorite outdoor activity?
I’d have to say kayaking (but a close second is hiking)!
ABOUT THE PARK
At the peak of the state park experience is Mount Magazine, Arkansas’s highest point at 2,753 feet. Mount Magazine State Park is a place of relaxation, exploration and nature study, according to Arkansas State Parks. It is a destination for outdoor sports and extreme adventures with mountain biking, horseback riding, back-packing and ATV riding. Mount Magazine is the state park system’s most dramatic location for technical rock climbing, and it’s one of only two parks to offer hang gliding launch areas. Scenic overlooks, hiking trails, a picnic area, pavilion and visitor center with a gift shop add to the amenities. A wide variety of programs led by park interpreters highlights the mountain’s natural diversity.
The Lodge at Mount Magazine features 60 guest rooms, Skycrest Restaurant, a conference center, business center, heated indoor swimming pool, fitness center and game room. From its setting on the mountain’s south bluff, the lodge offers breathtaking views of the Petit Jean River Valley and Blue Mountain Lake in the distance. Thirteen cabins share the same view as the lodge. There are also 18 campsites on the mountain (two Class AAA and 16 Class AA with tent only options).