Arkansas offers stunning hiking trails that showcase its natural beauty. Explore the Ozarks and Ouachitas and witness the breathtaking mountain views, lush forests, and serene waterfalls. Don’t miss the popular trails like the Buffalo River Trail and the Pinnacle Mountain State Park Trail. For a challenging hike, try the Eagle Rock Loop or the Ouachita National Recreation Trail. Bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and insect repellent to make the most of your experience.
If you’re looking for a destination that combines natural beauty with outdoor adventure, Arkansas may just be the perfect place for you. Known as “The Natural State,” Arkansas offers breathtaking landscapes, with majestic mountains, picturesque waterfalls, and stunning rivers, making it a top destination for hikers from all over the country.
With such a vast array of trails, choosing the best ones to make the most of your trip can be overwhelming. To help you plan your hiking adventure in Arkansas, we’ve compiled a guide to the best hiking trails in the state.
1. The Ozark Highlands Trail
The Ozark Highlands Trail is an epic 165-mile trail that runs from Lake Fort Smith State Park to Lake Norfork. Along the way, hikers will encounter forests, waterfalls, and stunning views of the Ozark Mountains.
This trail is considered challenging, so make sure to come prepared with appropriate gear and supplies. But the stunning vistas and the sense of accomplishment that comes with completing such a strenuous hike are well worth it.
2. Petit Jean State Park
Petit Jean State Park is a gem in Arkansas, with over 20 miles of hiking trails that range from easy to moderate. One of the most popular trails is the Cedar Falls Trail, which takes hikers through stunning rock formations and the breathtaking Cedar Falls.
Another great option is the Seven Hollows Trail, which meanders through a diverse landscape of forest, caves, and rock formations. The park also offers camping, picnic areas, and scenic overlooks.
3. Whitaker Point Trail
If you’re looking for a shorter hike that still offers fantastic views, the Whitaker Point Trail is a must-visit. This 2.9-mile trail leads to a jaw-dropping overlook known as Hawksbill Crag, with panoramic views of the surrounding area.
The trail can be challenging in parts, with steep drops and inclines. However, the view from the top is absolutely worth it.
4. Buffalo National River Trail
If you’re a fan of hiking near the water, the Buffalo National River Trail is the perfect option. This trail runs parallel to the Buffalo River, offering fantastic views of the water and surrounding forests.
At 35 miles in length, the trail is perfect for hikers of all skill levels. Along the way, hikers can take a break and explore the area’s historic homesteads or float down the river for a unique perspective.
5. The Lost Valley Trail
The Lost Valley Trail is a popular choice for both tourists and locals alike. This easy 2.2-mile hike will lead you through lush forests to waterfalls and other stunning rock formations.
One of the highlights of this trail is the Eden Falls Cave, a wet cave that is home to a stunning 53-foot waterfall. Be sure to bring appropriate gear and a flashlight to explore this incredible natural wonder.
6. Lake Catherine State Park
Lake Catherine State Park is a great option for those looking for a more relaxed hiking experience. This picturesque park offers a variety of trails to choose from, ranging from easy to challenging.
One great trail is the Falls Branch Trail, which leads hikers through stunning hardwoods to scenic overlooks and waterfalls. The park also offers cabins, campsites, a marina, and a swimming area, making it a perfect destination for families and outdoor enthusiasts.
In conclusion, Arkansas offers some of the best hiking trails in the country, with breathtaking views, stunning waterfalls, and diverse landscapes. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a beginner, there is a trail here for you. So pack your bags, lace up your hiking boots, and get ready to discover the natural beauty of Arkansas.
Quick Guide to the Best Hiking Trails in Arkansas
|Ozark Highlands Trail||Challenging||165 miles||Mountains, waterfalls, forests||Lake Fort Smith State Park to Lake Norfork|
|Petit Jean State Park||Easy to Moderate||20 miles||Cedar Falls, rock formations, forests||Morrilton|
|Whitaker Point Trail||Moderate||2.9 miles||Hawksbill Crag, panoramic views||Kingston|
|Buffalo National River Trail||Easy to Moderate||35 miles||Buffalo River, historic homesteads||Ponca to Pruitt|
|Lost Valley Trail||Easy||2.2 miles||Waterfalls, rock formations, Eden Falls Cave||Ponca|
|Lake Catherine State Park||Easy to Challenging||5 miles||Scenic overlooks, waterfalls, cabins||Hot Springs|
Frequently Asked Questions About Hiking Trails in Arkansas
What are the best hiking trails in Arkansas?
There are numerous hiking trails in Arkansas that offer beautiful views and breathtaking natural landscapes. Some of the popular hiking trails include:
- The Ozark Highlands Trail
- The Buffalo River Trail
- The Hot Springs National Park Trails
- The Ouachita National Forest Trails
Do I need any permits to hike in Arkansas?
Most hiking trails in Arkansas do not require any permits, except for a few designated areas. However, it is always advisable to check with the park office before going on a hiking trip to avoid any confusion.
What should I pack for a hiking trip in Arkansas?
It is essential to prepare for a hiking trip by carrying necessary gear, including high-quality hiking boots, backpack, water bottles, sunscreen, map or GPS, insect repellent, and extra clothing layers. It is also important to pack your first aid kit and snacks to keep your energy up while hiking.
Are there any safety tips for hiking in Arkansas?
Hiking in Arkansas can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience, but it is important to take necessary precautions to stay safe. Always let someone know where you are going, carry a first-aid kit, stay on designated trails, and be aware of the local wildlife.
When is the best time to go hiking in Arkansas?
The best time to go hiking in Arkansas is during autumn and spring when the weather is mild, and the foliage is beautiful. However, hiking can be done in all seasons, and each season offers its unique experiences.
Can I bring my dog on a hiking trip in Arkansas?
Yes, most hiking trails in Arkansas welcome dogs. However, it is always advisable to check with the park office before bringing your pet along on a hiking trip. Additionally, many hiking trails require dogs to be kept on a leash and that you clean up after your pet when hiking.
What is the level of difficulty of the hiking trails in Arkansas?
Arkansas offers hiking trails for all levels of hikers, ranging from easy to challenging. However, the difficulty level of each trail may vary, so it is important to check the trail rating before embarking on a hiking trip.