A Childhood Paradise Revisited: Mt. Nebo, Arkansas

The next stop on our journey holds a dear place in my heart, for it was the site of family vacations I took as a child.  I have fond memories of my mom, dad, brother and me (in the days before my sister), exploring the wilderness of Mount Nebo State Park.  Our A-frame cabin was like a giant tree house, with beds for me and my brother, Eric, in the loft.  My aunt Jeanne and uncle Butch even vacationed with us there a time or two.  Even more romantic (at least in my even then nerdy mind) was the possibility of a nuclear meltdown.  You see, Mount Nebo overlooks a nuclear power plant – a source of wonder to me as a child.  Imagine the possibilities – you go on vacation and come home with three eyes or a tail or a Siamese twin (I didn’t know how these things worked back then)!


The nuclear power plant of my dreams.


Awesome, right? Where else do you see these signs?!

Returning to Mount Nebo as an adult was a lovely experience.  No longer does the tortuous path up the mountain fill my mind with concerns of mortal peril  (“Bat Turn!” my father would shout); instead, my husband’s languid pace on the drive up made the scenery quite enjoyable.


On top of Mount Nebo, all covered with cheese…

We headed to the visitors’ center, to check in and purchase some firewood.


The Visitors’ Center, atop Mount Nebo.

It was here that my very first hiking stick was purchased, a cedar beauty, shaped like an “L,” resembling an old man’s cane.  It was the perfect size for my six-year-old self.  By the time we checked in and unloaded, the sun was setting for the evening.


For those who aren’t familiar with the setting, Mount Nebo is actually a plateau, sitting high above the surrounding foothills of the Ozark Mountains, and surrounded by Ouachita National Forest.  The top is relatively flat, with paved roads looping around to the various cabins and private homes.  Hiking trails encircle the mountain, and about 300 feet below the summit, a natural terrace of sandstone holds a 4.5-mile mountain biking trail.

Here are some pictures from hikes that Eric and I took:


The hiking trail began directly behind our cabin, seen here in all its glory.


Numerous springs along the way.


There was a trail in there, somewhere.


He’s such a handsome thing to follow!


Beautiful stonework, by the Civilian Conservation Corps (they made our cabin, too).


Local flora.



One edge of the plateau.



Eric and I also rode our bicycles quite a bit.  He explored the mountain bike trails solo, and we both rode our road bikes.  I stayed up on the plateau and did loops.  He dared to descend and ascend the mountain, facing perhaps his most steep foe.


18% grades!


That’s one steep road. I merely walked it – Eric rode a bicycle up it – very, very slowly.


And then his legs were “toast.”


My bike and view. This is a popular spot for hang gliders to take off and land – we saw one!


For those of you who may be wondering, there are bike shops in the nearby town of Dardanelle; this was taken at one of them.

Evening invariably brought deer to our backyard.  Here’s a cute little lady, seen from our porch, between nibbles of grass:

Each evening, we made a fire in our outdoor fireplace, and made s’mores after dinner.


Now, that’s the life!

We hope you have enjoyed Mount Nebo as much as we did!  Stay tuned for more!


2 Responses to “A Childhood Paradise Revisited: Mt. Nebo, Arkansas”
  1. Debra Kuykendall says:

    Love the family memories…..beautiful area.

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