ar canyons

6 AMAZING Canyons in Arkansas – MAPS Included!

There are over six beautiful canyons in Arkansas that make great hiking trips and photo opportunities.

When many people think about canyons in the United States, their minds automatically travel out west to the big canyons. Few people realize that Arkansas has beautiful canyons to explore and photograph.

BEAUTIFUL Canyons in Arkansas

These 6 canyons in Arkansas are all different and will each give you a very memorable experience. Whether you’re looking for a challenging hike or a restful evening by the campfire on a dude ranch, Arkansas canyons offer it all.

1. Arkansas Grand Canyon

The first Arkansas canyon that I think of is the Arkansas Grand Canyon. You’ll find this canyon near Jasper, Arkansas along the Scenic Byway 7.

Vance Randolph once said about the Ozarks, “It’s not that the mountains are so high but that the valleys are so deep.” (source) In Arkansas, our highest peak is only 2,753 feet compared to Pikes Peak at 14,114 feet. What makes Arkansas special is the deep, lush valleys.

Arkansas Grand Canyon
Arkansas Grand Canyon. Photo credit: Noel Pennington / Flickr

Be sure to stop at the Rotary Ann Roadside Park to get a full 180-degree view that is simply breathtaking!

See my full write-up with photos here: The Arkansas Grand Canyon is our best kept secret!

2. Little Grand Canyon in Arkansas

Not only can Arkansas boast a Grand Canyon but we also have a Little Grand Canyon in Arkansas.

This natural wonder is very different than the Arkansas Grand Canyon. Instead of being a lush, green valley, the Little Grand Canyon is made of exposed rock in beautiful formations. You can even swim in the creek within the canyon!

Little Grand Canyon Arkansas
The Little Grand Canyon in Arkansas. This beautiful photo was taken by Jeff Gray.

The sight of the Little Grand Canyon is truly unexpected. In fact, it might even catch you off guard! Seeing these beautiful rock formations deep in the Ouachita Mountains is a special treat.

While the Arkansas Grand Canyon and the Little Grand Canyon in Arkansas might be the two Arkansas Canyons that people have most likely heard of, we have another canyon in northern Arkansas that is simply beautiful.

3. Horseshoe Canyon near Jasper

Horseshoe Canyon near Jasper, Arkansas is just west of the Arkansas Grand Canyon. Not only is this canyon beautiful, it is also home to the Horseshoe Canyon Dude Ranch.

This dude ranch is a full working ranch that offers ranch vacations for dudes and dudettes! Horseback riding (of course), rock climbing, skeet shooting, and zip-lining are among the adventurous activities.

Photo Credit: Horseshoe Canyon Ranch

Don’t miss the opportunity to fully experience Horseshoe Canyon in Arkansas!

4. Devil’s Canyon near Mulberry

Southwest of Horseshoe Canyon, you will find Devil’s Canyon near Mulberry, Arkansas. This canyon is appropriately named because it is a very challenging area to hike!

Once you get on the trail that leads to Devil’s Canyon, you will experience many boulders, rock formations, narrow paths, steep mountainsides, and slick rocks that will lead you to the falls.

Devil's Canyon Junior Falls in Arkansas
Devil’s Canyon Junior Falls in Arkansas. Jonathan Ball/Creative Commons

There are two waterfalls in this area. The first waterfall has a beautiful pool at the base that is great for swimming and cooling off after that challenging hike. The second waterfall will take a bit more hiking and creativity to reach.

Devil's Canyon Falls Arkansas
Devil’s Canyon Falls in Arkansas. Jonathan Ball/Creative Commons

The second waterfall in Devil’s Canyon is about 60-80 feet tall. To reach this waterfall, you will have to scale steep, rocky, muddy, and slick terrain to reach it. Thankfully, it is worth the effort!

5. Cedar Creek Canyon in Morrilton

A more popular canyon in Arkansas is Cedar Creek Canyon in Morrilton. This canyon is within Petit Jean State Park.

“Once part of the Boy Scout Trail, this trail follows Cedar Creek’s many small falls and deep pools as it splashes through the Cedar Creek Canyon.” -source

Cedar Falls near Cedar Creek Canyon Trail
Cedar Falls near Cedar Creek Canyon Trail. Jonathan Ball/Creative Commons

Also of note here is that Petit Jean State Park offers a handicap accessible waterfall!

You’ll find the Cedar Creek Canyon trailhead here:
1285 Petit Jean Mountain Road
Morrilton, AR 72110
GPS: 35.117283, -92.938733

6. Thunder Canyon in Erbie

The last canyon we are going to explore today is Thunder Canyon in Erbie. Few people have heard of this canyon which makes it a beautiful, undisturbed place to experience.

“You’ll know when you are near when you hear the sound of roaring water. It really does sound like thunder when you approach the falls. Here we found what we had been waiting for; a gorgeous, and what will appear as an untouched, lost canyon. The waterfall flows down many cascading drops, which appears to possibly have more to see above.” -Joplin Outdoors

Falls in Thunder Canyon near Erbie
Falls in Thunder Canyon near Erbie. Photo by Jeff Lawson

The trail to Thunder Canyon starts at the Cecil Cove Loop Trail near the historic Erbie Church.

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