For residents of the Natural State, there are a countless ways to workout outside the gym. Combining cardio with breathtaking scenery is an easy way to be healthy while having fun. Whether you’re just starting out, working your way up or have mastered hiking, Arkansas has trails to fit your hiking level.
Trail: Huckleberry Trail at Woolly Hollow State Park
Length: 3.5 miles
Time: 2.5 hours
Situated at the foothills of the Ozark Mountains, Huckleberry Trail features views of Lake Bennett and wooded scenery. Its perfect for beginners to build up stamina while experiencing natural beauty.
Pro tip: Bring your swimsuit and take a dip in Lake Bennett after the hike! Look for the designated swimming area across from the park office.
Trail: Cedar Falls Trail at Petit Jean State Park
Length: 2 miles
Time: 2 hours
Make your way down through the Cedar Creek Canyon to the 95-foot Cedar Falls, a waterfall that doesn’t disappoint no matter the season. The hike up on the return trip is what makes this trail a little harder than some easy ones, but it is suitable for the whole family.
Pro tip: Take your time at the waterfall. Though you cannot swim in the pool, it’s a great place for pictures.
Trail: West Summit Trail at Pinnacle Mountain State Park
Length: 1.5 miles
Time: 2 hours
If you’re looking for a breathtaking climb with equally breathtaking views, the West Summit Trail is it. The bouldering is worth the view of Lake Maumelle, the Arkansas River Valley and Ouchita Mountains from the top.
Pro tip: the East Summit is still strenuous, but a little bit easier than its western neighbor and ends at the same view.
How to prepare for any level hike:
- Wear hiking footwear. Hiking boots and shoes protect your ankles and offer more stability than running shoes. Sprained ankles are an extremely common hiking injury.
- Carry a trail map and a compass. When it comes to hiking, GPS is not enough. Your phone or GPS could run out of battery, especially in more isolated areas.
- Bring water and nourishment. Even if you think you’re in for a short hike, staying hydrated will allow you to overcome any obstacles that arise. Carry a protein bar or nuts, too, in case you’re out on the trail longer than you suspect.
- Pack a whistle. Three short bursts on a whistle is a signal for help.
- Prepare for weather. If you know Arkansas, you know the weather is unpredictable. A rain poncho can be packed in a pocket and can save you from a soggy hike back to the trailhead.