Cove Lake is a scenic recreation area in the Magazine District of the Ozark National Forest, near Paris. It has camping, boating, swimming, fishing, and two hiking trails: Cove Lake Trail and Lookout Window Trail. This hike involves both trails.
The first part of the hike is on the Cove Lake Trail. I started at the main trailhead at the northwest corner of the lake. The trailhead parking is right off of Highway 309 on the north side of dam.
The Cove Lake Trail is a roughly 3-mile trail (the trail part, anyway) that makes nearly a complete loop around the lake. This hike takes a detour from most of the north side of the trail for the Lookout Window Trail.
The trail part of this hike is 3.7 miles. After that there is about .7 miles of road walking to complete the loop for a total of 4.4 miles.
The Mount Magazine Trail begins in Mount Magazine State Park on the north rim of Arkansas’s highest mountain. It ends at Cove Lake in the Ozark National Forest, 9.8 miles to the north.
This is a point-to-point hike, but with three trailheads, there is plenty of flexibility in how it is hiked.
Getting to the Cameron Bluff Trailhead
Our hike starts at the Cameron Bluff trailhead on the road to the scenic vistas. Coming in from Highway 309, go west at the road to the lodge and campgrounds. About a mile further, you can either turn left to go to the lodge or turn right to go to the trailhead. Turning right, you will pass a one-way road coming in from the right (no entry), pass the Cameron Bluff campground on your right (and Signal Hill Trail on your left), and then a one-way road to the right. This is your turn.
The black top road is Overlook Drive and will pass three scenic turnouts. The fourth one has a short driveway with a stone CCC shelter at the end.
This is a good place to organize your gear because about a hundred feet down Overlook Drive is the Mt Magazine trail.