Refresh your spirit. Disconnect from the stresses of life and reconnect with nature, your family and friends...yourself. The natural beauty of your surroundings at Turtle Cove Spa beckons you outdoors. Every season offers something special... come outside and play!! It's good for your body and soul.
Lake Ouachita is rated by the EPA as one of the cleanest lakes in the nation. With 49,000 surface acres, over 1000 miles of wilderness shoreline and over 200 islands, Arkansas' largest lake is host to a variety of water activities.
- Boating -- Explore Lake Ouachita with one of our rental deck boats, pontoons, or fishing boats. For details contact Mountain Harbor Resort Marina at 870-867-1212.
- Water Skiing, Jet Skiing and Tubing -- Tiny's Water Toys has everything you need for great fun and great exercise! To reserve equipment call 870-867-1296.
- Diving and Dive Certification -- Our PADI certified dive shop, Ocean Extreme offers scuba diving lessons and certification, and has all the gear you will need, or bring your own! They can even show you a place where you can feed the fish! Contact Ocean Extreme at 870-867-1223.
- Underwater Spear Fishing -- One of the few lakes where spear fishing is allowed.
- Fishing -- Walleye, Crappie, Catfish, Bass and Striper make their home in Lake Ouachita. Let Hugh Albright's Fishing Guide Service assist you with the best "hidey holes." We'll even cook up your catch!! Call Hugh Albright at 501-767-2171.
- Island Adventures -- Pack a picnic lunch and claim your own island -- you have over 200 to choose from! Most of the islands have gentle sloping shell shorelines -- and plenty of area to hike and explore. It's perfect for a day outing or overnight camping.
- Swimming -- Enjoy swimming in our clean lake (pick an island beach as your outpost or one of the designated campground swimming areas) or swim in one of our swimming pools at the resort. Just a few minutes away are recreational areas with good old fashioned "swimming holes," fed by cool clear underground springs.
- Kayaking and Canoeing -- Paddle peacefully in the cove behind Turtle Cove Spa or take to the nearby Ouachita or Little Missouri Rivers for some exhilarating fun!
- Eagle Tours (winter season only) -- Enjoy an interpretive barge tour to watch the majestic bald eagle in his winter home. Marvel at the geologic formations that created the Ouachita Mountains and learn about the flora and fauna of the area. Call Mountain Harbor Resort at 870-867-2191 for details.
- Star Gazing -- In our wilderness setting the celestial sky is spectacular! Take a moonlight boat ride to view the stars as you have never seen them before.
Hikes, Walks and Mountain Biking (on your own or with a guide)
The Ouachita National Forest covers 1.8 million acres of land in central Arkansas and southeastern Oklahoma and features over 700 miles of trails. Turtle Cove Spa at Mountain Harbor Resort is centrally located in the Ouachita National Forest region with easy access to several hiking and biking trails. In addition, old logging roads abound around the resort area and along the lake shoreline for easy to challenging hikes and mountain bike rides.
- Lake Ouachita Vista Trail (LOViT) -- The third phase of the new Lake Ouachita Vista Trail (LOViT) for hikers and mountain bikers is now open, and the fourth leg is almost completed!! With three trailheads just a five minute drive or less from the resort/spa you can enjoy nature at its best year round. Pack a picnic to eat at Lunch Log Vista, enjoy the serenity of Hush Hollow-a moss and fern lined hollow or catch a glimpse of wildlife at "Coon Tree Hotel & Vista"- a large dead oak tree where raccoons like to sleep during the day. The trail meanders through the national forest with spurs that provide beautiful lake vistas and a more challenging hike up to the top of Hickory Nut Mountain for a majestic view of the lake. The three trail heads link the entire trail allowing you to hike the entire 15 miles or take shorter hikes of 4 to 8 miles.
New for Spring 2009! LOViT “Trail Dogs” are working to complete the fourth leg of the trail that starts atop Hickory Nut and connects to the Charlton Trail (see Charlton Trail) by late Spring 2009. The LOViT Trail is sanctioned by the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA).
For details about each leg of the LOViT Trail, Maps and other facts go to lakeouachitavistatrail.org/Joplin.htm
- Joplin Campground Loop (4 miles) -- Starting at Mountain Harbor Resort this loop is an easy walk, jog, or bike ride on paved road. Gentle rolling hills take you to the campground peninsula where you are surrounded on three sides by Lake Ouachita. A midway stop at Micah's Point provides a rest stop and a panoramic view of the lake. Bathrooms and water stops available during spring, summer and fall seasons. Allow 1 to 1.5 hours. Difficulty level: Easy to Moderate
- Charlton Trail (4.3 miles one way) -- This trail begins and ends at Charlton Area and Crystal Springs Recreation area. This hike trails up and down mountain slopes through a mixed hardwood and pine forest. Beautiful displays of wildflowers abound during spring and summer. Allow 1.5 to 2 hours. Trailhead is a 10 minute drive from Turtle Cove Spa. Difficulty Level: First half mile is most difficult; the rest of the trail is easy to more difficult.
- Prayer of the Woods Trail (3/4 mile) -- This interpretive trail has over 55 species of plants native to the area with interpretive signs located at key interest points. Allow 1 hour. Trailhead is a 10 minute drive from Turtle Cove Spa. Difficulty Level: Easy
- Little Missouri Trail - (15.4 miles one way) This trail winds along a portion of the Little Missouri River, a designated wild and scenic river. Cascading waterfalls, stately hardwoods, old-growth pine stands, wildlife and seasonal color changes are just a few of the natural delights awaiting you. The trail is fairly level with a few steep inclines. Allow 10-12 hours one way. Trailhead is a 45 minute drive from Turtle Cove Spa. Difficulty Level: More difficult.
- Big Brushy Trail Complex -- (3 to 12 miles) Brushy Mountain, Mountain Top, Rockhouse and Brushy Creek Trails allow many opportunities for loop trail hiking and biking. Along the trails are flowing streams, waterfalls, geologic formations and quiet woodlands. Trailhead is a 30 minute drive from Turtle Cove Spa. Difficulty Level: More difficult
- Womble Trail (37 miles) -- The Womble Trail stretches from Northfork Lake to the Ouachita National Recreation Trail. It is considered one of the single best mountain bike trails in the area. Short segments of the trail meander along the bluffs of the Ouachita River providing breathtaking views. Travel time is 2 to 4 days, but shorter trail spurs are accessible. Trailhead is a 45 minute drive from Turtle Cove Spa. Difficulty Level: More difficult.
Other Outdoor Activities
- Horseback Riding -- Mountain Harbor Riding Stables offers a 45 minute guided trail ride through the Ouachita National Forest with surprising lake vistas. Available for groups or individuals. Hours vary by season. Call 870-867-3022 to schedule riding times.
- Tennis -- The resort has 3 tennis courts for use year round. Equipment is available from guest reception at Mountain Harbor Resort.
- Horseshoes, Volleyball, Half Court Basketball -- For information or to reserve time for these activities please contact reception at Mountain Harbor Resort.
- Golf -- For tee times and information about nearby courses, please contact reception at Mountain Harbor Resort.
- Crystal Digging -- The Ouachita Mountains was considered a mystical location by the Native America Tribes and today geologists say that Arkansas and Brazil have the best quality quartz in the world.. Many "dig-your-own" crystal mines are close by in the Hot Springs and Mount Ida area.
- Diamond Hunting -- It's finder's keepers at the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, just an hour drive from Turtle Cove Spa. The only public diamond mine in the world, Crater of Diamonds offers you a one-of-a-kind adventure and the opportunity to hunt for real diamonds and to keep any you find. You'll search over a 37-acre plowed field, the eroded surface of an ancient, gem-bearing volcanic pipe. Since diamonds were first discovered on the site in 1906 over 75,000 diamonds have been unearthed.
- Hot Springs National Park -- Just a 30 minute drive from the Spa, Hot Springs National Park’s rare natural features were first protected when Congress declared the area a "reservation" in 1832, some 40 years before Yellowstone became the world's first national park. From prehistoric natives forward, people have been using the hot springs for therapeutic baths for millennia. While preserving an array of 47 hot springs and their watershed, the park, which is located in the business district of historic Hot Springs, also provides hiking trails, scenic drives, camping and picnic areas.
While there visit Oaklawn Park for exciting thoroughbred racing, enjoy Magic Springs Water Park and Theme Park, and find art galleries and unique shopping right across the street from famous Bathhouse Row in Hot Springs, AR. Enjoy nearby tourist attractions such as great finds in antiques, arts and crafts. And, for history buffs — we're a short drive from Arkansas’ capitol city and the William J. Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, his birth place, in Hope and his boyhood home of Hot Springs.