The Mena area hosts two of the six designated wilderness areas in Arkansas, and Caney Creek Wilderness Area is the largest designated wilderness in the state of Arkansas. Wilderness areas offer special opportunities to enjoy solitude or a primitive, unconfined type of recreation. No developed recreation facilities are found here and there are few, if any, signs to guide you. Mountain bikes, hang gliders, and motorized vehicles are not permitted.
Visitors willing to travel these rugged areas by foot or horseback will find a variety of settings in which to explore, discover,enjoy the solitude, scenic beauty, inspiration, primitive recreation, and natural ecosystems found here.You can help protect and preserve the unique wilderness characteristics for the enjoyment of this and future generations by practicing the
no-trace ethic, “tread lightly” and remember to “PACK IT IN AND PACK IT OUT.”
Black Fork Mountain Wilderness Area
Located 6 miles north of Mena on U.S. 270 is the Black Fork Mountain Wilderness Area. Created by an act of Congress in 1984, the wilderness covers an area of 13,139 acres and is managed by the U.S. Forestry Service.
This infrequently visited wilderness follows the main ridge-line of Black Fork Mountain for 13 miles (21 km) which rises to more than 2,400 feet (731 m). Steep cliff sides provide sanctuary to groves of Dwarf Oak, Serviceberry and Granddaddy Greybeard (known as the fringe tree Chionanthus) which have a few unique species represented here.
Visitors should expect difficult hiking conditions and few sources for water as there are only two springs along the higher mountain slopes. Black bears are known to inhabit the wilderness, along with White-tailed deer, bobcat, skunk and Pheasant.
The wilderness contains extensive areas of unlogged, old-growth forest. Along the ridge of Black Fork Mountain are several thousand acres of stunted old-growth Post Oak, Shortleaf Pine, and Hickory.
Caney Creek Wilderness Area
Caney Creek Wilderness Area is the largest designated wilderness area in the State of Arkansas. At 14,460 acres, this area features: rugged, nearly untouched forests, scenic overlooks, flowing streams and hiking trails.
Many Recreation areas can be found in the Caney Creek Wilderness Area, including: Little Missouri Falls, Wolf Pen Gap, Alpert Pike, Crooked Creek Falls, the Blue Hole and many, many more. Hiking is also a popular draw to this area. The recreational opportunities are truly endless.
U.S. Wilderness Areas do not allow motorized or mechanized vehicles, including bicycles. Although camping and fishing are usually allowed with a proper permit, no roads or buildings are constructed and there is also no logging or mining, in compliance with the 1964 Wilderness Act. Wilderness areas within National Forests and Bureau of Land Management areas also allow hunting in season.