When I hike, I always take a spider stick. In Arkansas, you just never know what might happen. This all started 6 years ago when my husband and I and our infant daughter were spending a weekend on Petit Jean Mountain.
We were hiking the Bear Cave trail and the spider webs across the trail were obnoxious. If you’re a hiker, then you know what I’m talking about. You’re having a great time and smiling as you walk along and talk with your hiking companion. The sun the shining, the birds are chirping, and there’s a warm breeze that makes you feel alive.
Then, BAM! You walk straight into a huge, sticky spider web. You start grabbing at your face trying to get it all off while you do the spider dance.
You know what I’m talking about.
The spider dance is when you start jumping around saying, “IS IT ON ME?! IS IT ON ME?!” While you’re hiking partner starts checking your face and hair for a big, ugly spider.
After one particularly sticky incident, we grabbed a large, forked stick that had fallen on the trail and began waving it in front of us as we walked.
We took turns so that one of us would be in front waving the spider stick, and the other would be behind carrying the baby. We walked single file and probably looked like we were performing some weird ritual as we walked.
Up, down, side, side. Up, down, side, side.
We looked ridiculous and we didn’t care.
Now, we never hike without our spider stick.
Now, if you’re looking for those “must do” hikes in Arkansas, you’re in the right place. I asked my friends and hiking experts, Josh and Sarah, for their BEST recommendations and reasons why you need to lace up your hiking boots.
“Must Do” Hikes in Arkansas
Just don’t forget your spider stick. Many of these trails have been named some of the BEST hiking trails in Arkansas!
Signal Hill – Mt. Magazine
While not a spectacular trail it is a “must do” because it is the highest point in Arkansas!
At an elevation of 2,753 feet above Mean Sea Level, Signal Hill is the highest point in Arkansas. At the top is a 400 square feet stone map of Arkansas. A wide variety of plants make this a nice nature walk. This well-groomed trail is a gentle forest walk connecting Cameron Bluff Campground with the Mossback Ridge Trail and the Lodge at Mount Magazine.Arkansas State Parks
You’ll find Signal Hill Trail here:
Paris, AR 72855
GPS: 35.170317, -93.644783
Cedar Falls Trail -Petit Jean
This is the most impressive waterfall in the state. Try camping or staying in a cabin at Petit Jean in the spring and hiking to it after a big spring storm.
The trail begins behind the breezeway at Mather Lodge, a majestic CCC rustic style mountain lodge, and winds down into Cedar Creek Canyon. Massive stone boulders and large trees adorn the trail-side. The trail then follows Cedar Creek to 95-foot Cedar Falls, one of the tallest continuously flowing waterfalls in the state. This is a photographer’s paradise.Arkansas State Parks
After you’re finished, you can check it off your EPIC Arkansas Bucket List!
You’ll find Cedar Falls here:
1285 Petit Jean Mountain Road
Morrilton, AR 72110
GPS: 35.11707398671, -92.93882131576
Hemmed-in Hollow – Compton
This is tallest waterfall between the Appalachian Mountains and the Rocky Mountains and hence a “must do” hike.
The best time to view the waterfall is during times of recurring rainfall, such as springtime, early summer thunderstorm season and even fall. In winter, spray from the waterfall fall can form an ice dome at the fall’s base, which offers the hiker an entirely different way to appreciate the scenery.source
For full details and directions, visit buffaloriver.com.
Named one of the BEST Arkansas Hiking Trails with a Waterfall, you’re going to LOVE Hemmed in Hollow.
Whitaker Point – Ponca
Perhaps one of Arkansas’ most iconic hikes. A portion of this trail follows along a massive bluff line and ends at Whitaker Point otherwise known as Hawksbill Crag. Use extreme caution on the trail, numerous people have been injured or killed by being careless and slipping off the bluff.
You’ll find Whitaker Point here:
Co Rd 406
Kingston, AR 72742
Lost Valley – Ponca
A mild yet beautiful hike that follows a creek and ends with a waterfall and a cave. This is very much a four-seasons hike, you can cool off in the cave in the summer, enjoy the fall leaves in the spring, see incredible ice formations in the dead of winter, or enjoy the roaring falls and creek after heavy spring rains.
For directions, visit this site.
Rim Trail – Mt. Nebo
The Rim Trail runs around the rim of Mt. Nebo and offers some of the best views in the state.
Mount Nebo Rim Trail is a 3.6 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Dardanelle, Arkansas that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.source
You’ll find the Rim Trail here:
16728 West State Hwy. 155
Dardanelle, AR 72834
The Mt. Nebo Rim Trail has also been named as one of the most [INCREDIBLE] Arkansas Hiking Loops.
Centerpoint Trail to Big Bluff
This trail ends at what is known as the “Goat Trail” a narrow rock ledge atop a massive bluff overlooking the Buffalo River. The view here is majestic, but the hike is not for those fearful of heights. Use extreme caution on this portion of the trail.
Hwy 43 Firetower Road junction
Buffalo National River
Compton, AR 72624
Pinnacle Mountain – Little Rock
This is a steep trail to the summit of Pinnacle Mountain near Little Rock. It offers excellent views.
This day-use park offers a variety of outdoor adventure on the Big and Little Maumelle Rivers, in the Arkansas Arboretum, and along over 15 miles of trails including 7 miles of challenging mountain bike trails.Arkansas State Parks
You’ll find Pinnacle Mountain State Park here:
11901 Pinnacle Valley Road
Little Rock, AR 72223
“Must Do” Hikes in Arkansas
A special thanks to Josh and Sarah for all their awesome insight!