Multiple Regions- Not Your Everyday Walk in the Park! Adventure Arkansas
An outdoor adventure tour recommended for: Spring, Summer, Fall
Modifiable for: Winter and varying activity levels
From fairly mellow river kayaking to adrenaline-pumping hot air ballooning over a fairly mellow river, you'll find many places and ways to rediscover and fulfill your sense of adventure in Arkansas. The diverse topography and breathtaking scenery of The Natural State make for a bounty of memorable endeavors for active adventurers of all ages. In addition to great scenery, trails, lakes, campsites, cabins, and lodges the 51 Arkansas State Parks offer an abundance of outdoor activities, along with a few outside of the Parks' offerings. On your Adventure Arkansas tour, you'll choose from hiking, canoeing, cave touring, hang-gliding, scuba diving, horseback riding, and more! We can help you customize a selection of adventures just right for your group, and believe us, that short list just of activities merely scratches the surface! Please note: the Arkansas Adventure itinerary can be modified to meet the demands of those groups looking for adventure that is a bit softer, with lighter hikes, an easy and wheelchair accessible .4 mile walk in the caverns, and light canoeing on slower parts of the Buffalo River. Just let us know your group's desired level of activity, and we'll help you customize Adventures in Arkansas. No matter the level of adventure, this is not your everyday walk in the park!
You'll kick off your Adventures in Arkansas tour right here in Central Arkansas, starting with a little trek into Pinnacle Mountain State Park. This environmental education Park encompasses over 2,100 acres of diverse habitats, and offers seven peaks and extensive wetlands to explore. You'll see where vultures roost, beaver dams abound and wintering American bald eagles soar. You can enjoy guided hikes and expeditions with park staff, from the ever-popular "To Hill & Back" hike to river walks and wetland expeditions. (Here you might choose to work in a backpacking class. There are hikes on the Ouachita Trail you can make from this point - maybe even add another day and night of adventure!) Here's where we’d like to share with you something really special about the Little Rock area; it's just a 20-minute drive from your day among the wildlife at Pinnacle Mountain into the lively urban River Market area, with its nightlife and many delicious and innovative local restaurants. Come on downtown, check into your hotel, and it's time for some well-earned R&R and culture. After all, it'll only be a few hours before you head back out into the parts of Arkansas that make it truly, The Natural State!
After breakfast in your hotel, let's hunt for diamonds! It's finders-keepers at the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro. The only public diamond mine in the world, Crater of Diamonds offers you a one-of-a-kind adventure - the opportunity to hunt for real diamonds and other gemstones and to yes, you read it right, keep what you find! We'll get our hands dirty while we dig around a 37-acre plowed field, which is the eroded surface of an ancient, gem-bearing volcanic pipe. Begin your diamond hunting adventure at the visitor center featuring exhibits and an audio/visual program that explains the area's geology and offers tips on recognizing diamonds in the rough, literally! Since diamonds were first discovered on the site in 1906 over 75,000 diamonds have been unearthed. The Park also offers picnic sites, a summertime cafe, (we'll lunch at one of those) gift shop, hiking trails, interpretive programs and a water play area. This afternoon, cool off (and rinse off!) with some snorkeling nearby at DeGray Lake Resort State Park. We'll take a boat ride out to an island, learn how to use a mask and snorkel, and then explore the underwater world of DeGray Lake. Along the way, your guides will interpret fish, rocks, plants and mussel shells. When you're through, you can take your snorkel with you to use throughout the rest of your Arkansas adventure... and beyond! Dinner and overnight at DeGray State Park Lodge.
Today, following a hearty breakfast at DeGray State Park Lodge, it's time to step up the thrill factor (unless, perhaps, you found a record diamond yesterday!) with some awesome adventures at Mount Magazine State Park. Qualified hang gliders have flocked to Arkansas's highest point for many years; rising high above the Petit Jean River Valley and Arkansas River Valley, 2,753-foot Mount Magazine, Arkansas's highest mountain has near perfect conditions for flight. In addition to hang gliding (or watching hang gliding, which can be pretty exhilarating in itself), your group can choose to take on some of the trails at Mount Magazine by foot or with an ATV, rock climb or even ride horses if arrangements are made ahead of time, (or, just hide out and be mellow by the swimming pool - we won't tell!). You'll be among the first to stay in Magazine's new 60-room lodge, complete with the welcoming, spacious entry into the Hearth Room, featuring a two-story fireplace and large windows framing the view of the Petit Jean River Valley beyond. The Park also boasts a brand new conference center and 13 cabins, and all of this reigns from over The Natural State from atop the bluffs of Magazine. Dinner and overnight Mount Magazine State Park Lodge.
Let's continue deep into the Ozark Mountains for some breathtaking view from on and over the river and through and over the woods! Today you will descend your adventurous spirits upon the nation's first National River, the Buffalo. Something for everyone can be found on the Buffalo: Class I and II rapids, complete with hazards like "Gray Rock," the highest waterfall in mid-America (at Hemmed-in-Hollow); the 11,300-acre Ponca Wilderness; towering cliffs including the 500-foot-tall Big Bluff; and an excellent assortment of dreamy refreshing swimming holes. (Here's another chance for you to chill out for a little while in the midst of your adventures!) There's also a short mellow float plan option, if that's more your group's speed. No matter your style of tackling the Buffalo, you'll have the time of your life enjoying the beauty and scenery of The Natural State from the this gorgeous river. But, wait! How about an early evening hot air balloon ride over the Buffalo River wilderness? Then we'll land back on earth to delight in a rejuvenating evening outdoor cookout where we can regale one another with exaggerated tales of the day's adventures. Overnight at a nearby log cabin lodge.
Let's take our quest for adventure underground, with a jaunt over to Blanchard Springs Caverns, where we'll "take not-your-everyday-walk" hundreds of feet below the surface. Blanchard Springs Caverns is administered by the U.S. Forest Service, and is always a cool 58 degrees, year-round, day and night. You'll enter the world of a "living" cave where glistening stalactites, stalagmites, columns, and flowstones are ever slowly changing. The two most adventurous trails include, first, the Discovery Trail Tour, which takes you one way through the middle level of the Caverns, passing under the natural entrance and beside the cave stream before emerging into highly decorated rooms that most visitors don't get to see. (Don't worry - it's one way, but we will get you back to the surface at the end!) With nearly 700 stair steps, this tour is quite stimulating! If you want to go for the ultimate in adventure to cap off your week of thrills, choose the Wild Cave Tour, a strenuous trip through undeveloped parts of the middle level, where you'll need to crouch and crawl. Alternatively, there are ways to amaze at the caverns from the trails that are lighter in nature, including the wheelchair and stroller accessible Dripstone Trail Tour, a .4 mile trail which takes about an hour and offers plenty of seating for rest along the way.
1 Capitol Mall, 4A-900 - Little Rock, Arkansas 72201 | 1-800-872-1259 or (501) 682-7777 (V/TT)