We went to the Riverview Cabins in Oden, Arkansas in the Ouachita Mountains the weekend of April 25, 2009 for 2 nights. This was our first time in this part of Arkansas as we usually go up around the Buffalo River or Jasper area in the Ozarks. It is a completely different nature experience in this part, really cool quartz crystals everywhere. We had the Sunflowers Cabin, which is very cute, and has everything you need (except charcoal for the grill-bring that!). The hot tub is great, and although you don’t have a river view, it is very private with woods all around, but you can cut down the hill to get to the river and the hiking trails. We saw some of the luxury big cabins from the hiking trail by the river, and they look really cool for a family, but for just the 2 of us, the little cabins are fine. The first night we just got the lay of the place down and checked out schedules for what we wanted to do. You can go horseback riding or canoeing right from the office. They have nice pool and picnic area too. We had champagne in the hot tub, and hot dogs and chili for dinner. We decided to sleep in the loft of the cabin because it was so cool. My husband brought his laptop and we watched a couple of scary movies up there and went to bed. The next day we went horseback riding, which Vicki set up for us (I felt bad for her-she had 2 kids sick with strep throat, running high fever). Cameron took us out on the horses, Bay and Sassy, both pretty horses, but he had a gorgeous big white stallion named Joe Cloud. Well, we started off down the mountain on the trail, and the horses did not want to go and were acting really skittish (seems that they could smell either a wildcat or a bear in the woods!) because these horses are used to snakes (you will be too at this time of year-we saw several, including water moccasins). Eventually, the wind changed and we all switched horses because Sassy was being, in a word, sassy, she is very aptly named. My husband, Shawn, got Bay, I got Joe Cloud (if you can get him, he is a smooth ride, and minds very well). Cameron got stuck with Sassy. I had to lead until Cameron could get Sassy in line and get up front. We went all over the mountain, and Cameron pointed out the scenery from the mountain, and a tree with a crystal stuck in the middle-very cool. We went through little streams and my horse did not like to get his white fur dirty, so he would really try to step around puddles and mud. We even got to trot the horses a little bit, which was fun. We have been horseback riding probably twice before, so we are not experienced riders and they really took care of us. They have special horses for children, too. After we got back, we went on a canoe trip. Rick took us up the river and gave us history about the mountain and the mining regulations, and the river and fishing. He’s had an interesting life and can answer any questions you might have about the area. By the way, make sure your cokes and beers and stuff you want to bring for a picnic are in cans as you can’t have glass bottles in the river or you risk a fine. He put us in and told us where to bank (you have to look for a big riding arena and power lines and you can go just past the pick up point and see a cool cave). This canoe ride is different from the Buffalo, only a few bluffs, but beautiful scenery and we pulled up on a sandbar island and ate our picnic about midway down. You’ll see some gorgeous houses with awesome river views and be jealous. We didn’t see any other people at all on the trip until we got to the take out point and met some partiers in kayaks (next time, I want my own kayak as I kept paddling the canoe against Shawn because I was looking at scenery and not watching what I was doing, in a kayak, you’ll only crash yourself into the bank, not the whole canoe). We joined the party kayak people and went around the bend to the cave, which is really cool, but also looks like a perfect home for a big varmint such as the wildcat or bear our horses got spooked at earlier. The kayak partiers told us that the rest of the trip, which is the whole day trip is more thrilling than the calm water we had coming down, like there are rapids and faster moving water. You can also start at the mid point and go to the end of the float trip too. One thing you need to know-bring your own sunscreen, I tan easily, but my husband absolutely fried! They don’t have any there available for purchase, and there aren’t stores in close proximity. When Rick picked us up, he had brought us a couple of really cool quartz crystals (although the mountains are made of quartz and crystals are everywhere, the ones he had found were beautiful, one had a square shaped prism sticking out). We got back to our cabin, bought the last bag of charcoal they had, and grilled up some steaks that had been marinating in Jack Daniels Garlic and Herb Sauce. I baked some beans and we had some red wine with dinner (outside on the deck), then more wine in the hot tub, which is a good cure for sore muscles from riding horses and paddling canoes. We saw a gigantic raccoon that smelled our dinner. Watched a little TV on the couch and read through the journals previous guests had written in, there are magazines too. We slept in the loft again (it is just so “Little House on the Prairie” neat to look down on the rest of the cabin, but there is a nice bed in a bedroom downstairs also. The next day, we got up, sadly packed our stuff, and went to Mena, a town a few miles away near Queen Wilhelmina State Park. Shawn was after catfish, and Rick had told him The Fish Net was the place to go. We went to the visitor center there and the old couple gave us plenty of brochures and maps and showed us right where The Fish Net was (way up on a hill outside of Mena). It started raining really hard, so we abandoned our plan of hiking the mountain and went to get our fish instead. The Fish Net has awesome food. They ask if you want the “set-up” and boy, do you ever! It is white beans and slaw, hushpuppies, and pickled green tomatoes. We ended up getting fried oysters, shrimp, and scallops. Everything was so good, but the scallops were delectable. Service was great, and it was very inexpensive. They didn’t even laugh at us as Shawn was wearing my white terrycloth slippers because his hiking boots had gotten wet when an inferior canoeist (that would be me) ran us into a sandbar the day before. It was really raining by then so we decided to just start the drive back down the mountain as all the good food, sore muscles and sunburn were really starting to kick in and we had to be at work the next day. It was a great trip, and Riverview is a great place to stay and there is much to do!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.