Let’s go hiking!
Once you’re at the park in west Little Rock, follow the sidewalk from the picnic area rest rooms until you reach the trail sign. Along your trek, make sure and notice the huge, 500-to 600-year-old bald cypress trees along the banks of the Little Maumelle River. There are also opportunities to see unique plants, wildflowers in season and animals that call the area home.
You can pick up a self-guided booklet describing the bottomland forest at the trail sign or visitor center. The brochure is free to use but the park asks that it be returned to the drop box at the beginning of the trail. The Kingfisher is a favorite for many school groups. Insect repellent may be needed during the late spring and summer months. For bird watchers the route can offer many species to see during the spring migration.
A new trailhead with lots of parking and connection to the hiking/biking/running trail system was recently opened on the east side. The trailhead is located off Cato Springs Road. Take exit 60 off I-49 and go south on Cato Springs Road about one-half mile and turn right on Judge Cummings Road (WC 200); the parking will be on your right. These trails are all on public land so no permission or waiver forms are required. For more information visit mtkesslergreenways.com.
Currently, from the Panther Day Use Park trailhead, about seven miles of trail is open going south and ending with a loop at Robinson Point Campground. Going north, crossing the lake via the Ark. 101 bridge, about 4.2 miles has been built. Volunteers are currently working on an Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department grant to extend the trail north toward the Arkansas/Missouri state line another five to six miles. That would provide a Robinson Campground to Red Bank access with a natural surface trail wide enough to hike, walk or run side-by-side while staying on public, Corp property. The Panther Bay Trailhead is located 9 miles east of Mountain Home on U.S. 62, then 1 mile north on Ark. 101. Turn right at the Panther Bay sign, then take the first left. For more information visit www.davidstrail.org.
The trail, which has rolling terrain, begins near the park amphitheater and circles the entire peninsula back to its beginning. Expansive views of Lake Ouachita, quartz crystal outcroppings, large boulder gardens, and an observation deck overlooking the lake are some of the highlights one can see along the route.
The trail was damaged by a tornado in 2011 and was completely rebuilt the following year with the help of AmeriCorp teams. Signs along the trail explain some of this history as well as information on what can be seen on the route. The trail is open for self-guided hiking or visitors can check the park’s schedule for guided interpretive hikes. Lake Ouachita State Park is located in Mountain Pine at 5451 Mountain Pine Road. For more information, visitarkansasstateparks.com/lakeouachita/.
Getting back to nature is a popular pastime, and hiking in Arkansas is a great way to experience the beauty and majesty of the Natural State.
Outdoor enthusiasts will find Arkansas trails designed for day hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, ATVs and water trails. You can download complete maps of the Ouachita National Forest, Ozark-St. Francis National Forest and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for reference.
Many of the state’s natural areas overseen by the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission have trails as well. You can find additional information by visiting the ANHC website.
* For information regarding pets on hiking trails, please contact the appropriate agency for the trail you are interested in. Each agency has their own regulations regarding pets. Contact information can be found with each listing.
Arkansas Hiking Safety Tips & Other Hiking Information
Twin Falls in Jasper, Arkansas
- Backpacking Preparations
- Selected Arkansas Trail Maps
- Keep Arkansas Beautiful!
- Trail Guides
- Hiking Guidelines
- Outdoor Clubs
- Phone Numbers
- Wary in the Wild
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