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By: Robert Janis

Mena Mountain Resort

Mena Mountain Resort Pampers ATV Recreationists in Rugged Outdoors of Northwest Arkansas

Mean Mountain Resort

Mean Mountain Resort

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.

Mean Mountain Resort

The dining room serves breakfast from 6:00 to 9:00 a.m. Dinner is available by reservation only.

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. Rates are:

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: http://sites.google.com/site/omatvrentals.

There are all sorts of attractions a short distance from the Mena Mountain resort. These include:

  • 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 Arabian horses.
  • 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 other memorabilia.
  • The Ouachita, Cossatot, Caddo, and Little Missouri Rivers available for fishing, floating, swimming, canoeing, kayaking and camping.
  • Lakes for boating, fishing, camping, swimming and skiing.
  • Canoeing and Kayaking
  • ATV and Mountain Biking
  • Two Golf Courses
  • Fall Foliage
  • Hiking
Mean Mountain Resort

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 Festival
  • “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: www.menamountainresort.com.


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