Autumn’s changing colors bring the Ouachitas to life! Thousands make the journey here each year to witness the beauty up close. Local and national artists have used our splendid backdrop as the focus of paintings and photography. Whether you’re traveling down an old country road or the middle of our historic downtown, or a mountainous scenic route, you’ll be in awe of the bonanza of colors our deciduous trees turn in the Fall season. Peak foliage occurs during late October and early November, but can vary from year to year. For optimum viewing of the color change, it is set to call 479-394-8355 for a current “report of the colors”. We encourage you to be prepared with plenty of memory or film for your camera as the photo opportunities are plentiful!
Reminiscent of ‘days gone by,’ you can almost hear the conductor shouting “All Aboard.” Constructed during the passenger train era, this depot is rich in history and currently houses the Chamber of Commerce and a travel agency.The depot also serves as a museum with much of the area’s local history inside. There is also a room showcasing Lum n’ Abner memorabilia and another area showcasing the Ouachita series, which once hung in the national rotunda, of local renowned artist Monta Black Philpot. It also boasts a completely restored 1939 Dodge police car. Mena residents are very proud of the depot which was completely restored in 1987 from donations and many volunteer hours. Free tours: call 479-394-8355 for more information.
Mena is your gateway city to the splendor of the Ouachitas! The Ouachita National Forest is a vast 1.8 million acre mountainous forest and is the South’s largest national forest. The forest is noted for its picturesque scenery, clear lakes and rivers, waterfalls, natural springs, untouched wilderness and abundant wildlife. The Ouachitas offer numerous outdoor activities, including: 700 miles of trails; almost 6,000 miles of forestry maintained roads; recreation areas; wildlife management areas and wilderness areas. The Ouachitas are just waiting for you to explore the untouched beauty!
Historic Janssen Park
What to know Janssen Park This is no ordinary community park! This brilliant 10-acre park is host to an 1851 log cabin rumored to have been used as a hideout by the notorious Jesse James, besides being used as a hospital, post office, and city hall during its lifetime. Surviving a devastating 1993 tornado, the cabin remains untouched by the progress surrounding it. The park also contains 2 spring-fed ponds, 2 Mountain Howitzer Cannons, a bronze boy and girl fountain purchased in 1914 among other interesting artifacts. No wonder it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places! Janssen Park is a favorite among the locals and vacationers.
Aubrey D. Tapley Sports Complex
Aubrey D. Tapley Sports Complex This sports complex is a 74-acre park that was started by the Mena Advertising and Promotion Commission in 2003. It was named Aubrey D. Tapley Park in 2009. It currently houses 5 baseball/softball fields, soccer fields, a walking/biking trail, concession facilities including a pavilion, and two playgrounds. Grants are continually being applied for to continue progress on the complex. There are many more projects in the plans for the complex that will be finished as funds are available. one of these projects includes more baseball/softball fields, more bleachers, tennis courts, basketball courts, improvements to soccer fields, etc. The complex is the venue for community events such as the Annual 4th of July Celebration and multiple baseball/softball and soccer tournaments each year.
McMillian Park, this large, wooded park is tucked away from the hustle and bustle of our community. McMillan Park features an Olympic-sized swimming pool, the University of Arkansas Cecil-Cummings baseball and softball fields, a covered pavilion with picnic tables, and a playground for the kids.
This is the longest trail in the Ouachita National Forest spanning 192 miles across its entire length. In the west, the trail begins at Talimena State Park on Highway 271 near Talihina, Oklahoma. The eastern boundary is south of Perryville, Arkansas on Highway 9. There is a trailhead on the Talimena Scenic Drive just past the west end of the Queen Wilhelmina State Park campground. Parking is available at the lodge.
Just 45 minutes south of Mena is Arkansas’ newest State Park. The park includes 11 miles of one of the most rugged and spectacular river corridors in the central United States. With over 5,302 acres of rugged wooded slopes, trails, outstanding geological features, cascading clear water and Class III, IV, and even Class V rapids, the Cossatot is a favorite with skilled canoeists, rafters and kayakers. The challenging waters of the Cossatot is not recommended for beginners.
Hugely popular with ATV riders is the Wolf Pen Gap Trails. The system offers 41 miles of looping trails that are connected to accommodate riders who want to vary the length of their trips. Trails range from easy to most difficult and wind through some of the most rugged and secluded areas of the Ouachita National Forest. Featuring high mountain vistas, the trail leads the rider through an array of areas, including scenic Gap Creek and Board Camp Creek. The trail continues through a forest of large pines and hardwoods before passing the unique 2-footed oak tree and an abandoned mine shaft. The trail loops are connected to accommodate riders who want to vary the length of their trips. This area was designated for All-Terrain Vehicle use in 1991.