Heart Healthy: Hike Bear Hollow

My Thursday blogs are all about being Heart Healthy. It’s a new year, after all, and I’m sure many of us have made a resolution to get fit – to make a change.

Jill M. Rohrbach
When you see a red heart beside a program title in the Arkansas State Parks Calendar of Events, it indicates it is a “Heart Healthy” event. On Saturday (March 27), Mount Magazine State Park near Paris will offer a heart healthy hike along the rim of Bear Hollow. Meet a park interpreter at the Benefield Picnic Area at 9 a.m. The hike will be finished about 11:45 a.m. and a shuttle van will take hikers back to the parking lot at the picnic area. You should wear sturdy hiking shoes and take your own water. I suggest you also take your camera. Read the park department’s description below to get an idea of what you’ll be able to capture through the lens.

Bear Hollow Trail
2.8 miles
Time: 3 hours
Difficulty: Moderate

The Bear Hollow Trail follows the upper rim of Bear Hollow from the Benefield Picnic Area to the northern trailhead at Hwy 309 just below the horse camp. Points of interest include WPA steps, Sunrise Rock, Inspiration Point, Bear Head Bluff, and Shoal Creek. Some of the best scenery on the mountain is found along this trail. It crosses several wet-weather creeks which lead to beautiful waterfalls. The upper part of the hollow has never been logged and is some of the last remaining virgin hardwood forest in Arkansas. This trail offers hikers options of starting at the picnic area or near the visitor center to create a 7.5-mile loop connecting four other trails.

The first part of this trail, just north of the picnic area, was originally constructed by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in 1938. For those wanting to make a short loop, a spur trail reconnects with the Benefield West Loop just west of the main trail junction. (Orange blazes)

Location: On Scenic Highway 309, 17 miles south of Paris

For Information: Park Superintendent, 16878 Hwy. 309 South, Paris, AR, 72855, (479) 963-8502; www.mountmagazinestatepark.com; mountmagazine@arkansas.com

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