Trips On A Tankful: Arkansas / Spiro

Tuesday, April 13th 2021, 2:11 pm
By: News 9

SPIRO, Oklahoma -

The view from the top of Mount Magazine in Arkansas is magnificent. It isn’t Oklahoma, but you can see it from here. In fact, you can almost see the first stop on our trip: Spiro Mounds.

Located just south of the Arkansas River in LeFlore County, the 150-acre American Indian archaeological site is one of the most important American Indian sites in the nation.

“Back in the 30s, it was called the King Tut of the Arkansas River or the King Tut of the West because no one has ever seen anything like this site,” said director Dennis Peterson.

The location was a permanent settlement for the Spiro people from 800 AD until 1450. The largest mound, where the leaders were buried, held one of the greatest collections of artistic and utilitarian prehistoric American Indian artifacts in the United States. The mounds also offer a glimpse of the lives and culture of the ancient people.

From there it was onto Arkansas and to the top of Magazine Mountain and the mountaintop lodge.

The lodge is a half mile from one end to the other and has 60 rooms, 13 cabins, and a full restaurant. 

“It’s breathtaking. I didn’t know all this was here when I was growing up in Arkansas,” said Lee Woodward, who is now the park superintendent.

Mount Magazine is over 2,700 feet high and is the tallest point in Arkansas. Being so high, it has its own microclimate. It generates it’s own weather. The first day we visited, it was cold, cloudy and windy. But 24 hours later, the winds were light and you could see for miles down the valley.

The sprawling vistas from the front deck or after a short hike are the main attraction here. No matter where you go, the scenery is breathtaking. And you'll want to keep your eyes open for wildlife.

“There are bears around here. I think the last count was 16 or 17. I ran into one with my supervisor several years ago,” said Woodward. “They’re bigger than I thought.”

At the bottom of the mountain is the quaint town of Paris, complete with an Eiffel Tower and Locks of Love bridge.

Just down the road is Altus, the home of several vineyards and wineries, many that offer tours.

After a quick but delicious lunch at the cafe, Owner Joseph Post gave us an extensive tour of the Post Winery.

“My family has been in this business here in the United States since 1880,” said owner Joseph Post, part of the fifth generation to work at the winery. “So, we’re actually one of America’s oldest wine-making families.”

Seven generations of Posts have worked at the winery over the years.

“This is my life. This is my way of life,” Post said.

Our tour included samples and entertainment. Joseph has quite the voice.

According to him, they are the leading wine producer in the mid-US and also the leading grape grower. They make 68 different wines, something for every palate.

Of course, we couldn't leave the area without a stop at the famous Alligator Ray's in downtown Altus. You may remember it from the reality show featuring Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie, “The Simple Life."

The authentic Cajun food and live music attracts a crowd of locals and tourists every night of the week. It was a great way to end to our Arkansas adventure.