Grab Your Pack and Hit the Natural State’s Hiking Trails

Adventure awaits in Arkansas

With a nickname like the Natural State, you know that Arkansas features some breathtaking sights. If you love the outdoors and want to find some new places to explore, then add these spots to your next trip. From easy trails to challenging walks, you will be able to see the natural wonders of Arkansas with these must-do hiking trails.

Lake Ouachita / Facebook

Lake Blakely North Loop Trail – Mountain Pine

For those wanting an up-close look at Lake Ouachita, head over to Lake Blakely North Loop Trail. Many locals and visitors use this 5.3-mile loop for birding, hiking, and mountain biking. This spot is open throughout the year, and you can even bring your furry friend for some exercise in the great outdoors. As you travel throughout the woodlands, there are great views of Lake Ouachita, which is the cleanest and largest lake in the state. The trails are well-maintained, but you do have to pay attention to the trail markers on the road. Lake Blakley North Loop Trail is one of five loops around the lake area, but it is one of the easiest to navigate. If you are thinking about grabbing your camping gear for the night, there are a few primitive sites available near the trailhead.

Mt. Magazine State Park /

North Rim Trail – Mount Magazine State Park

Mountain Magazine is the highest point in the state, and it is home to several challenging trails. The North Rim Trail is one of the most relaxing and scenic hikes. You can find the trailhead due west of the Red Blazes Visitor Center. From there, travel along the trail to get a glimpse at the surrounding hardwood forest. During the summertime, you will see the forest flowers in full bloom. This 2.2-mile hike has a moderate rating, but it can be strenuous to navigate in some areas. From the trail, you can see the mountain valley and get some striking views from the bluffs. Visitors from all over the state come here for the hiking trails. North Rim Trail is just one of the hiking trails in this area. You can connect to the Mossback Ridge Trail for a 4.4-mile loop hike to the visitor center. The Mountain Magazine area has plenty of accommodations for visitors. Make sure to check out the lodge and cabins during your visit.

View of Ouachita Mountains from Hot Springs Mountain Tower, Hot Springs National Park / Ken Lund / Flickr

Long Valley Trail – Ponca

Long Valley Trail is the perfect spot to get away from it all. This trail is only 2.3 miles, but it packs plenty of bang for your buck. Throughout the trip, you can see some beautiful trees and forested beds. The trail is well-maintained and features everything from crushed rock to natural dirt. While most of the hike is a moderate walk, the scenic view will require a little more work. There are many caves throughout the area, including Cob Cave with its natural bridge leading the way. Eden Falls are one of the main sites on the trail, and you can get a great view of the water as its cascades down the rock face. The Long Valley Trail is another popular spot in the state. As a result, it can get very crowded during the weekends. If you want to reconnect with nature or need some solitude, you might want to visit during the week. There are few amenities located at the trailhead, including restrooms, picnic tables, and a shelter. The Steel Creek campground is also nearby for those wanting to make a full day of the area.

Indian Rock House Nature Trail /

Indian Rock House Trail – Marion County

If you want to see some history intertwined with nature, head over to the Indian Rock House Trail. This hike is only 2.8 miles on a moderate loop. This area was once home to rock-dwelling Native Americans, and you can still see some of their caves. While on the trail, you will travel past streams and climb up a hillside. The leading site is called the Indian Rock House that features an incredible natural element known as the natural bathtub. This spot has water freely flowing into the rocks, creating a bathtub shape in the formation. There are some other unique rocks, sinkholes, mini waterfalls, and an abandoned zinc mine. You have access to all the amenities in the park located in Buffalo National River Park. However, there is a fee for those who want to camp overnight.

Petit Jean State Park / robert thigpen / Flickr

Seven Hollows Trail – Conway County

The Seven Hollows Trail is located in Petit Jean State Park, which is one of the first state parks in Arkansas. The park is named after seven streams in the area, with each one carving out a hollow in the park. This is one place for those who want to reconnect with the natural beauty of the state. The 4.5-mile trail will take you past some interesting rock formations, including a series of canyons and the famous Natural Bridge. You have plenty of chances to see the diverse plant life in the region with everything from cacti to ferns. There is also a spectacular grotto waterfall within easy reach from the trail.  Since there is a lot to observe on this scenic hike, you will want to keep your eyes peeled on the path.

Ozark Highland Trail /

Ozark Highland Trail – Winslow

If you really love the outdoors and hiking, then you will not want to miss the Ozark Highland Trail. This trail is over 280 miles long, and it traverses throughout the state, including stops in Lake Fort Smith State Park, the Ozark National Forest, and the Buffalo National River. Most of the trail is remote, so you have to be well-equipped for all types of terrain and weather. This trail is accessible throughout the year, and many people head here when other spots close for the winter.

Arkansas has a wide variety of trails for those who want to get out and explore. There is no better place to plan your adventure than in the Natural State.

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