By: Robert Janis
Mena Mountain Resort
Pampers ATV Recreationists in Rugged Outdoors of
Many American outdoor enthusiasts often
praise the outdoor recreation available in the
Mena Mountains of northwest Arkansas. There is
plenty to do there. The region includes the
Cossatot River State Park, the Talimena Scenic
Byway, beautiful rivers to fish, swim, canoe and
kayak in and simply camp beside; and there is
the Wolf Pen Gap multi-use trail system. ATVers,
off-highway motorcyclists, horseback riders,
mountain bikers and hikers co-exist and enjoy
the 31-miles of trails which include unique
overlooks, a mine shaft, and creek crossings and
are rated from “easy” to “most difficult.” The
trail includes numerous loops and three
trailheads that provide parking. The resort is
open all year ’round, except for hunting season
which lasts from mid-November until early
December, and the trail can be used for free.
Donations are accepted in donation tubes at the
trailheads. The United States Forest Service
maintains the trails, places the signage,
installs trash receptacles, and collects the
trash. An ATV club based in Mena, the Ouachita
ATV Club, assists the USFS with maintaining the
Wolf Pen Gap Trails.
The added attraction of the area is that once
tough outdoorsmen play the rugged countryside,
they can find comfort and relaxation at a resort
that pampers to their needs.
The name of the lodging is the Mena Mountain
Resort, and it exists because of the diligence
of Lou Longoria and Denni Collins. Lou was
attracted to the area because he was and still
is an ardent motorcyclist who loves to ride in
the mountains. He brought Denni, who dreamed of
operating a bed and breakfast and yet also
enjoyed playing in the great outdoors, too.
As Lou tells it, the two were having breakfast
one morning in a local restaurant during one of
their many visits, and one of them happened to
pick up a real estate magazine that promoted
local properties that were up for sale. That was
a “Eureka” moment for the couple. They toured
homes featured in the magazine and finally
bought the property now known as The Mena
Mountain Resort/Retreat and Bed and Breakfast.
“We had been coming to Mena for over 20 years as
members of the Christian Motorcycle Association
and decided that it would be a great place to
retire,” said Lou.
The couple lived in an old, picturesque rock
cottage on the property starting in the end of
2004. It was during Christmas in 2005 when the
family was visiting that Lou and Denni decided
to leap forward with their plans, and in January
2006 they started constructing five new guest
suites. The suites were followed by a pool and,
later still, a lodge. When construction was
completed enough by April 2009, the resort
opened up to guests. Well, actually the first
guests were employees of the Federal Emergency
Management Association and The Corp of
Engineers. They needed a place to stay when they
came to support the town which had been ravaged
by a tornado. “We opened our rooms to house some
members of FEMA and The Corp of Engineers who
came to support the town during the aftermath of
the disaster,” said Lou. “We continued
construction during their stay.”
Today the property includes a total of 15 guest
suites, a clubhouse, pavilion, and pool. There
are also three fishing ponds and recreation on
the property also includes paddle boating,
canoeing, and barbecue grills. To top the whole
thing off, there is a porch with plenty of
rocking chairs that offers an outstanding view.
All 15 suites have sitting areas, coffee maker,
and a flat screen satellite television, king
size or queen size beds, microwave oven, private
modern bathrooms, and a small refrigerator. Each
suite is decorated in different themes and
features such things as original artwork on the
walls. In addition, each suite has French doors
that open to a veranda with an unbelievable
view. Each suite is available for $149 per night
plus taxes, and there are AAA, AARP, and
corporate rates available. There is also a
three-bedroom, fully-equipped cottage with a
private boat and fishing dock tucked away a
short distance from the resort. Lou said that
the cottage is ideal for a family.
The dining room serves breakfast from 6:00 to
9:00 a.m. Dinner is available by reservation
The Mena Mountain Resort is very close to the
Wolf Pen Gap trail system. According to Lou,
many guests trailer their ATVs from their home
and set up at the resort and then trailer their
machines to the Gap to enjoy the trails. The
resort does not rent ATVs. It has a source in
town that does that. The Resort does organize
rides and offers guides for trail riders.
Businesses that rent ATVs in the area include
Ouachita Mountain ATV Rentals, 209 Highway 71
North, Mena, Arkansas.
Ouachita Mountain ATV Rentals offers 2007, 2008,
and 2009 Yamaha 350 2x4s, Grizzlies and Kawasaki
360 4x4s. Single day rentals run from 8 a.m. to
6 p.m. For multiple days rents run from 8 a.m.
on the first day to 6 p.m. on the last day.
1-2 Days $150.00 a day
3-4 Days $135.00 a day
5 days $120.00 a day
6 and more days $105.00 per day
There is an additional charge of $18 for
insurance plus $15 a day after the first day.
ATVs are expected to be clean and full of fuel
when returned. If not, there is a $15 charge for
refueling and a $20 charge for cleaning. More
information can be found at:
There are all sorts of attractions a short
distance from the Mena Mountain resort. These
- Queen Wilhelmina State Park
- Mena Depot--A restored train depot that was
originally built in 1920 that includes a museum,
the Chamber of Commerce, and a travel agency.
- Cossatot River State Park
- Southern Belle Train Rides
- Talimena Scenic Byway--A 54 mile scenic highway
with spectacular views and scenery.
- Janssen Park -- Located in the heart of downtown
Mena, this is a 10-acre park that features an
1851 log cabin which is registered with the
National Register of Historic Places. It also
has two spring-fed ponds, two mountain howitzer
cannons and lots of green space.
- Shopping and Antiquing
- Ansata Arabian Stud Ranch -- In existence for
more than 40 years, the ranch cares for Ansata
- Ouachita Little Theatre
- Esso Gas Station -- The 1928 restored gas
station serves as a museum with muscle, classic,
antique cars and street rods, motorcycles, and
- The Ouachita, Cossatot, Caddo, and Little
Missouri Rivers available for fishing, floating,
swimming, canoeing, kayaking and camping.
- Lakes for boating, fishing, camping, swimming
- Canoeing and Kayaking
- ATV and Mountain Biking
- Two Golf Courses
- Fall Foliage
Events that take place in the area during the
calendar year include:
- Mountain Fest--Crafters come to Mena once a year
from six different states to show their wares.
- Ouachita Mountain Bluegrass Festival
- Rich Mountain Country & Western Swing Dance
- “Cruisin’ the Ouachitas” Car Show
- Queen Wilhelmina Rod Run--A 30-year old event in
which classic and muscle cars are showcased.
- Lum n’ Abner Festival--The event takes place on
the first weekend in June each year and includes
arts and crafts, a cook-off, car show,
entertainment, and more.
- Christmas Parade and Festival
Finally, the resort plans to make additions
including more guest suites with garden Jacuzzi
tubs, sitting areas, one king- or two-queen size
beds, cabins and tent sites with fire holes for
grilling, and more.
Lou concluded that the resort will tailor a
package for ATV groups.
For more information, check out the website: