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 first part of the Cove Lake Trail runs close to the shoreline and has some pretty views of the lake.
After about a quarter mile, the Lookout Window Trail splits off to the left. It was well marked when I was there.
The Cove Lake Trail blazes are white. The Lookout Window Trail has blue blazes.
The Lookout Window Trail has a steepish uphill climb to a great south-facing vista. The vista has some nice views of Cove Lake, Flattop Mountain, and Mount Magazine.
The trail then heads north for a bit and then turns southeast and winds gradually downhill along a beautiful hillside back to rejoin the Cove Lake Trail at the northeast area of the lake.
Be sure to make a (sharp) left turn when you rejoin the Cove Lake Trail unless you just want to make a smaller loop on the north side of the lake. You’ll know you’re back on the Cove Lake Trail when the blazes go from blue to white.
The next 1.1 miles is a pretty level mostly forested walk around the east side of the lake. Not many views of the lake in this area, and it is a pretty easy walk. Eventually, you will reach a cool footbridge that crosses Cove Creek.
The trail continues on into and through the campground which sits on the south side of the lake. There are some great views of the lake in this area.
The trail ends at the boat ramp area at about 3.7 miles. From here, it is about another .7 miles of road walking (turn right at Highway 309) to get back to the parking area.
This hike is pretty level except for the Lookout Window part. Even with that part, the net elevation change is only about 300 feet.
When I first did this hike last November, it was a gorgeous sunny day with beautiful fall color. The photos posted here are from that hike. Later I will post some photos from my more recent hike a few weeks ago.
I did not have any AT&T cell coverage on the hike except in the higher elevation areas.
Click here or below or below for full-screen photo gallery.
Cove Lake/Lookout Window Loop Trail Map
Cove Lake/Lookout Window Loop (Ozark Forest)
|Location||Cove Lake Recreation Area, Magazine District, Ozark National Forest, Logan County, Arkansas|
|Hike Length/Type||3.7 mile loop on trail. An extra .7 miles on the road to get back to the trailhead.|
|Difficulty||Moderate (3 of 5)|
|Gpx file (by Mike)||Link|
|Date Hiked||November 2, 2013 and September 7, 2014|
|Official Info||(479) 963-3076; |
|Directions (via Google Maps)||Directions to Cove Lake trailhead (north side of lake)|