Sitting at the top of Arkansas's second tallest mountain, Rich Mountain, is Queen Wilhelmina State Park. The park can be reached using the Talimena National Scenic Byway, a 54-mile byway that is just as scenic as its name suggests. Although the park doesn't offer much recreation wise, it is the perfect place to escape into nature and really appreciate the beauty that surrounds it. History buffs will also love learning about the deep history of the area, including why the park was named after a Dutch Matriarch and the fate that befell the original "Castle in the Sky" Lodge.
There is no water recreation within the park, but nearby flowing streams are the perfect boating, fishing, and swimming spots. Despite the fact that there is lodging available in the park's 40-room inn, many visitors like to spend their time at Queen Wilhelmina State Park outdoors at one of the 40 campsites with RV hookups. Not only does it give you a more primitive camping experience, but it also puts you right in the middle of nature and gives you more than a few spectacular views of the wildlife around you. Isolated from your normal everyday life, it's the perfect setting to snap a few breathtaking pics and make some family memories.
RV Rentals in Queen Wilhelmina State Park
Transportation in Queen Wilhelmina State Park
Queen Wilhelmina State Park is located just off of Arkansas HWY 88 so you shouldn't have any problems finding it. The highway is also known as the Talimena Scenic Drive, so the drive to the park is almost as enjoyable as the park itself. The hardest part about finding the park is not getting lost in the scenery and missing the entrance.
The roads inside the park are pretty easy to navigate, even with a large RV. The park is fairly small, so the roads take you practically everywhere in the park, from the lodge and restaurant to the campground, volleyball court, and Wonder House. You may want to drive slow if you're in a big rig on a few of the park roads that can be a bit winding as you ascend the mountain. Parking may be easier if you bring an extra car, but it isn't totally necessary, especially since there is a miniature railroad and train that will take you along the length of the park.
Some areas, like Lover's Leap, can only be reached using the trails, but that's just part of the fun of exploring the park. Still, the roads are in great condition for a state park, with level terrain and no tight turns. Even the campground is just a straight road, so you don't have to worry about struggling with a big rig.
Campgrounds and parking in Queen Wilhelmina State Park
Campsites in Queen Wilhelmina State Park
Queen Wilhelmina State Park Campground
Take in the fresh mountain air and serenity that camping in the mountains affords at the Queen Wilhelmina State Park Campground. The campground offers 40 RV-friendly campsites, with eight Class A campsites featuring water and 50 amp electric hookups, 27 Class B sites with water and 30 amp electric hookups, and five Class C sites with only water hookups. The sizes of each site vary, from 27 feet up to 63 long, but booking online makes it easy to make sure you get a site that can fit your equipment.
No matter which type of campsite you get, you're only a short walk from the modern bathhouse. Although there are no sewage hookups available, a dump station is located by the campground entrance. There is also a lodge available if you're after a more luxurious camping experience, but not many things can beat roughing it 2,681 feet up on Arkansas's second highest mountain.
Queen Wilhelmina State Park Campground
All of the sites that aren't reserved are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis, but none are set aside for local sale only. Even once you arrive you must book a site before being able to set up camp as all sites are assigned.
Seasonal activities in Queen Wilhelmina State Park
Taking Guided Hikes
The whole family is sure to love the guided hikes offered at Queen Wilhelmina State Park, led by knowledgeable park interpreters. The hikes teach about everything from the flora and fauna within the park to the geology and cultural history of the park. Not only does it give you a good chance to observe the wildlife, you'll also learn how to identify certain species of plants, what makes them unique, and why they're important to the park's ecosystem. The guided hikes are a perfect way to get kids interested in nature and passionate about conservation.
No picnic you've ever had could compare to picnicking in the scenic Queen Wilhelmina State Park. Whether you pack a meal or go out of the park and bring something back, you can enjoy a nice picnic with your friends or family at one of the several picnic areas within the park, all while soaking up the gorgeous views of the park and neighboring Ouachita National Forest.
Queen Wilhelmina has plenty of hiking opportunities for RV guests, with three distinct trails meandering through the park. Despite being in the mountains, the trails have fairly easy terrain and provide the perfect setting for birding, nature photography, and catching some sweet views. If you only have time for one trail, it should definitely be Lover's Leap Trail, which features the scenic Lover's Leap overlook. And if that isn't enough, hop on over to the Ouachita National Forest, where more hiking is available.
Unlike many state parks, Queen Wilhelmina has a signature restaurant within the park boundaries, located in the lodge. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a cozy dining area with gorgeous views year-round. The restaurant allows visitors to enjoy the charm of southern dining while visiting the park. Arrangements can be made for private dining for special events, such as birthdays or weddings, in the upstairs conference room, which has even better views of the mountains.
Visiting the Wonder House
Prepare to have your mind blown when you step inside the legendary Wonder House. It is a historic house that still amazes and perplexes people to this day, even though it was originally built nearly 100 years ago in the 1930's. Carlos Hill and his brother-in-law built the house to look like an average two-story stone house from the outside after settling on Rich Mountain, but it actually contains a whopping nine stories. Don't leave the park without checking out this architectural marvel.
Wildlife packs the park, making it the perfect place for any nature lover looking to see some wildlife. Whether you're specifically into birding or wildlife viewing in general, Queen Wilhelmina is rich with it. While exploring the trails you'll likely run into animals such as raccoons, rabbits, groundhogs, squirrels, deer, and maybe even a black bear, or armadillo. Common birds in the park include quail, turkey, eagles, and hawks depending on what time of year you visit in your RV.