We finally turned back eastbound after our escapades in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It was bittersweet because that meant we were headed back towards home, but we fortunately still had a ton of adventuring to do. Little did we know, Devil’s Den State Park in Arkansas would be one of our favorite stops of the trip! It was very much less evil than its name would imply.
As we entered back into the Ozarks from the edge of the plains, we drove through some of the most beautiful land as the scenery went from open, golden fields to cozy, nestled mountains. Passing into Arkansas from the west was interesting because of how quickly the mountains appear, and it didn’t take long before we were deep into the the heart of the Ozarks. Our cell signal went by the wayside, and our GPS had us on the quickest path to the camp. Unfortunately, however, we had to speak with the park because of some questions about check in, and we thought we would get there in plenty of time with them still open. We were wrong.
One of our turns in the mountains was supposed to take us over a small body of water called Cove Creek. What the GPS didn’t tell us, however, is that the bridge was out. Like…gone. In the ensuing attempt at redirection, we ended up having to take a 20 minute detour around the mountain, which was made even more difficult because I had to pull over and figure out the detour since there was no cell service. Lesson learned: download your maps ahead of time.
We finally arrived and quickly got everything set up so we could relax. I was able to get a fire rolling quickly, and I busted open one of the Vacation Dad beers by Perennial Artisan Ales from St. Louis. It was nice knowing we’d be staying at this place for a couple of nights, and that was one thing we learned was crucial to split up this fast-paced road trip. If you ever take a trip like this, every couple of days try to stay somewhere with a roof for an extra night just to recharge. It made our time so much more enjoyable.
Devil’s Den State Park has a ton of amazing trails, but the rain unfortunately didn’t allow us a ton of time to explore many of them. We took a quick gander down the Yellow Rock Trail, which was absolutely beautiful as it meandered along the mountainside. It was there that we learned the soil in the Ozarks is apparently made with banana peels and baby oil, and when it rains it becomes an entirely new type of slipping hazard. During a break in the rain, though, I was able to take the boys down the Lake Trail. It was an awesome one for children since it’s not particularly challenging, and it runs alongside the creek and lake to the dam built by the Civilian Conservation Corps. We were able to actually cross the dam over to the visitor’s center and pool area and learn about some of the history of the park dating back to the early 1900’s.
We spent a lot of time relaxing at the cabin and we had no cell service, so it was nice to just take some time to stay away from all the craziness of the world. You truly feel nestled away when you stay at Devil’s Den, and we quickly realized we’ll be taking another trip back there to stay for a few days and get to explore all of the trails. I’ll point out that the facilities at the camper cabins were phenomenal; everything was clean and private. The cabins themselves actually have screened-in porches, so sitting on the patio listening to rain come down is an absolutely amazing experience. A family truly could spend a significant amount of time here with plenty to do, including swimming, hiking, bike-riding, and so much more. We were thoroughly impressed with this place, and we’ll definitely be going back. It was just beautiful.