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Finding the best hang gliding spots can be tough since you need to know where to go. Use this expert guide to plan the perfect hang gliding trip to Arkansas.
Hang gliding gives you a bird’s eye unlike just about anything else in the world. It’s freeing, exciting, and relaxing all at the same time. But to have the best experience possible, you need to know where to take off and glide. Some states are easier to hang glide around than others, and Arkansas does not get the credit it deserves. Where should you launch?
The best locations for hang gliding in Arkansas include the Ouachita Mountains, the Arkansas River Valley, Mount Nebo, Short Mountain, Mount Magazine, and the Petit Jean River Valley. You can also learn how to paraglide at River Valley Paragliding if you’re interested.
Even if it doesn't jump out as one of the most popular locations in the world to go hang gliding, there are many great locations around Arkansas to go hang gliding, each with its own unique set of views and attractions. In this blog post, we will discuss the best and most popular places to go hang gliding in Arkansas.
FlightNotch is on a journey to become the number one site on the web for all things gliding. As part of that, we’re creating a series of the best places to go hang gliding around the world, including each and every state in the country. These locations are the result of research, our personal experience, and input from other pilots that frequent the area.
Is Arkansas A Good State To Go Hang Gliding?
Before we can even get into the actual launch sites and areas in Arkansas that you can hang glide around, it's important to discuss whether it's worth it to go there in the first place. No matter where you decide to go hang gliding, two things will make it a better experience for you: great views and good weather.
So does Arkansas have beautiful views and great weather?
Let's start with the views. In Arkansas, there are many places where you can get a stunning view while hang gliding. One such place is atop Mount Magazine, which is the highest point in Arkansas. From up there, you can see for miles and miles in every direction. Heck, you might even be able to see all the way into Oklahoma!
But Arkansans don't just have to stick to the mountains to get amazing views. There are also plenty of great locations along rivers and lakes. For example, Lake Ouachita is a beautiful spot for hang gliding, with its clear blue waters and surrounded by forests. You can also find some great views along the Buffalo National River, which runs through the Ozark Mountains.
So what about the weather?
Arkansas generally has good weather for hang gliding, especially from around mid-March through the end of October. However, it's important to keep an eye on the forecast before you head out, as there can occasionally be thunderstorms. That being said, the fall and winter months can also be great for hang gliding in Arkansas, as the cooler temperatures make it more comfortable to fly.
Best Hang Gliding Launch Sites in Arkansas
Now that we know a bit about what makes a state good for hang gliding, it’s time to explore the best spots for it in Arkansas. Most of the other states that we've covered as part of this journey to write about the best hang gliding locations in every state have included companies as well as launch sites.
Unfortunately, Arkansas doesn't seem to have any reputable companies that can get you up into the air and soaring through the skies on a hang glider. There's one exception (though for not hang gliding), that we'll touch on at the end. So instead, let's focus on launch sites and areas where you can take your glider and experience the beauty of the state.
Let's start our list off with arguably the most popular place to go hang gliding in Arkansas: the Ouachita Mountains. Located in the west-central part of the state, the Ouachita Mountains offer some of the most intriguing views in Arkansas. As we mentioned earlier, one great spot for hang gliding in this area is Lake Ouachita. But there are plenty of other launch sites in the mountains as well.
For much of the year, you can expect pretty good weather in this area as far as hang gliding goes. Arkansas tends to stay fairly warm throughout the year, so you'll be comfortable flying even in the winter months. Just make sure to keep an eye on the forecast and avoid any days where there is a chance of thunderstorms.
If you get done gliding for the day, you can also explore the area (and the mountains) in other ways to enjoy your trip. There are hiking trails, camping sites, and even some great spots for fishing if you want to try and catch your dinner.
One thing to keep in mind if you're planning on hang gliding in the Ouachita Mountains is that the area can be quite popular, especially on weekends. So if you're looking for a more secluded experience, you might want to try somewhere else.
Arkansas River Valley
From the mountains to the valleys, the next stop on our list is the Arkansas River Valley. This area is located in the northwest corner of the state and offers some stunning views, especially of the river itself. The valley is also home to some great towns like Eureka Springs and Fayetteville, which offer plenty of things to do if you're looking for a break from hang gliding.
The weather in the Arkansas River Valley is pretty mild, especially compared to the rest of the state. The summers can be a bit hot and humid, but the winters are usually fairly mild. This makes it a great place to fly year-round. Plus you can usually catch some good thermals rolling through the valley area to keep you up in the air for extended periods of time.
If you're looking for an amazing hang gliding experience with some incredible views, then the Arkansas River Valley is definitely worth checking out. And with so much to do in the area, you can easily make a weekend (or even a week) out of it. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start exploring!
Well, back to the mountains we go, with Mount Nebo coming in as one of the best spots to hang glide in Arkansas. Located in the Ozarks, this mountain offers some of the most amazing views in Arkansas. You'll be able to see for miles and miles while you're up there, making it an ideal spot for hang gliding.
The weather is also pretty good here, with temperatures from April through October averaging in the mid-70 to the mid-80s. However, it can get a bit chilly in the winter, with temperatures dipping into the 30s and 40s. But overall, this is a great spot for hang gliding no matter what time of year it is.
If you're looking for other things to do near Mount Nebo, there are lots of options. You can go hiking or camping in one of the many state parks, or take a scenic drive down the winding roads. There are also numerous small towns to explore, each with its own unique charm. So whether you're looking for a peaceful day in nature or a fun-filled day of exploring, Mount Nebo is a great spot to hit.
Yet another mountain, Short Mountain comes in at the next spot on our list (even though this list isn't really in any sort of order!). This one is located in the Ouachita Mountains, and like Mount Nebo, offers stunning views of the surrounding area. You'll be able to see for miles in every direction, making it a great spot to take in all the beauty that Arkansas has to offer.
The weather here is pretty mild and good for gliding much of the year, temperatures remaining above freezing even during most of the winter. Like always when you're gliding, make sure you check the forecast before heading out. You don't want to be caught in a storm!
There's plenty to do around Short Mountain as well. The Hot Springs National Park is only about an hour away, and there are multiple lakes and rivers nearby where you can go swimming, fishing, or canoeing/kayaking. Or if you're feeling really adventurous, you can head over to Talimena State Park and go camping! Just be sure to leave your glider at home.
I know, I know. We've gone on and on about mountains, but I promise this is the last one. Mount Magazine is the highest point in Arkansas, coming in at a whopping 2,763 feet. But what it lacks in height, it makes up for in views. When you're high in the sky, you can see all the way to Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Texas. And on those nights when there's a full moon? The view is even more incredible.
The average temperatures are perfect for flying high, especially during the spring and fall, and there's always a cool breeze blowing through the valley. Plus, there are plenty of other things to do in the area. You can hike to your heart's content, go camping, or even take a scenic drive down the winding roads. Trust me, you won't be disappointed.
If you're looking for a place to go hang gliding in Arkansas, Mount Magazine is the place for you.
Petit Jean River Valley
To round off our list, we're going back down into the valleys with the Petit Jean River Valley. This area is located in the northwest corner of the state near Ozark National Forest. The views here are incredible, with bluffs and cliffs towering over the river below. You'll also get amazing views of some of the tallest peaks in Arkansas, including Signal Hill and Rich Mountain.
The weather here, like most of the other spots we've talked about, is great throughout most of the year. Summers can be pretty hot and winters can have a few cold days here and there, but you shouldn't have any trouble planning a hang-gliding trip here really any time of year.
Petit Jean River Valley is a great place to visit if you're looking for other things to do as well. There are plenty of hiking and camping opportunities in the area, and you can also find some great restaurants and shops in the nearby town of Morrilton. Whether you're looking for a place to enjoy the views or just want to find a new spot to explore, Petit Jean River Valley should be at the top of your list.
River Valley Paragliding
As we mentioned earlier, there is one exception to the lack of hang gliding companies in Arkansas. River Valley Paragliding offers training in paragliding rather than hang gliding. I know that this list (and most of this website) focuses on hang gliding in particular, but hang gliding vs paragliding is something that all enthusiasts should explore to see what they like most.
This company is worth checking out because they are one of the only ones in Arkansas that offer this type of service. They are based out of Fort Smith, which is a beautiful area with lots to do. The views from paragliding here are amazing and you can see for miles. If you're interested in taking to the skies and you want to experience something a little different than hang gliding, make sure you check out River Valley Paragliding.
And that's it, that rounds out our list of the best hang gliding locations in Arkansas. As you can see, there aren't many options when it comes to hang gliding in this state. However, the few that are available are definitely worth checking out if you're looking for a new place to fly. Remember to always check the weather conditions before you go and to always follow the safety procedures. Happy flying!