Hiking in Northwest Arkansas

Welcome to the adventure of a lifetime in the natural wonderland of Northwest Arkansas! Get ready to immerse yourself in lush green forests, glistening waterfalls, and towering peaks that are waiting to be explored. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie, a nature enthusiast, or just someone who loves a good hike, hiking in Northwest Arkansas has got you covered.

The hiking trails in this region are a sight to behold, and every step of the way leads to breathtaking views and unforgettable moments. You don’t have to be a seasoned hiker to enjoy the trails either, as the diverse terrain caters to all skill levels. From easy strolls to challenging treks, you’re sure to find a trail that suits you perfectly. Trust me, the views are absolutely worth the sweat and sore muscles!

All Photos Courtesy of Arkansas.gov

Updated: April 2023

Ozark National Forest

If you’re searching for a haven of natural beauty and exciting trails in Northwest Arkansas, look no further than the Ozark National Forest! This vast forest covers over 1.2 million acres and has some of the most spectacular hiking trails in the region. With stunning vistas, lush foliage, and an abundance of wildlife, the forest promises an unforgettable adventure for all who wander its trails.

Pedestal Rocks Loop Trail

hiking in northwest arkansas pedestal rocks

This trail is a not-so-well-kept secret that offers hikers an unforgettable experience with stunning views from atop massive rocks. If you’re looking for a hiking trail that’s off the beaten path but delivers big rewards, this is the one for you. The Pedestal Rocks Loop Trail is perfect for beginners or anyone looking for an easy hike with an incredible payoff.

Moonshiners Cave Trail

If you’re looking for an epic hiking experience in Northwest Arkansas, then the Moonshiners Cave and Falls Trail should be at the top of your list. This trail is a truly hidden gem, offering a perfect combination of natural wonders and a bit of a thrill.

As you embark on this 2.6-mile hike, you’ll feel the rush of excitement as you trek through the lush valley and towards the cave. The trail is a bit of a challenge, with some steep inclines and rocky terrain, but the payoff is worth it. Once you enter the cave, you’ll be greeted by a breathtaking view of the fascinating rock formations and a stream running through it. Keep your eyes peeled for bats and salamanders, which are just some of the cave’s fascinating inhabitants.

After exploring the cave, you’ll make your way to the falls, where you’ll be met with the sweet sound of cascading waterfalls. The falls themselves are nothing short of spectacular, with water plunging over the rocks and into the inviting pool below. Take a dip, have a picnic, or just bask in the serene beauty of your surroundings.

The trailhead to Moonshiner’s Cave can be a bit tricky to find. It’s located near the welcome sign for Devil’s Den State Park. When you see the sign, you’re going to want to look for a small parking area across the street. Park there, and you’ll walk about 100 yards toward the trees until you see a big opening. That’s the trailhead. The parking lot does show up as a location titled “Moonshiners Cave Trail Parking” on Google Maps, but for other map users, the coordinates are 35.780627, -94.236474.

Blowing Springs Park

Nestled in the beautiful Ozark Mountains of Arkansas, Blowing Springs State Park is a natural gem that promises an adventure like no other. Spanning over 1,000 acres, this park boasts some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the region, from rolling hills to stunning waterfalls. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or just looking for a relaxing getaway, Blowing Springs State Park has something for everyone. From exploring the winding trails on a mountain bike to relaxing by the cool waters of the spring-fed creek, you’ll never run out of things to do here. With its rich history, diverse wildlife, and stunning natural beauty, a visit to Blowing Springs State Park is a must for anyone seeking an unforgettable outdoor experience.

North Upper and Upper South Trails

Imagine yourself exploring the winding trail that leads you through the lush forests, past glistening streams, and over picturesque bridges. You’ll feel the thrill of discovery as you delve into the depths of the caves, marveling at the incredible rock formations and natural beauty that surround you.

And that’s not all! You’ll be captivated by the sound of cascading waterfalls, as they gush over the rocks and into the pools below. This is the perfect spot to take a break, snap some incredible pictures, or simply bask in the serene beauty of the surroundings.

The combination of these two trails into one loop trail promises to provide an unforgettable experience.

See the Alltrails map of combined loop

Upper Buffalo Wilderness and Surrounding Areas

As you make your way through this pristine and secluded area, you’ll feel completely immersed in the rugged beauty of the wilderness. The lush forests, towering peaks, and shimmering streams are home to an abundance of wildlife, from deer and elk to black bears and eagles.

You can take a leisurely stroll along an easy day hike or push yourself to the limit with a strenuous multi-day backpacking trip on the more than 45 miles of trails found here. But be warned, once you experience the breathtaking vistas and natural wonders of the Upper Buffalo Wilderness, you may never want to leave.

Whitaker Point Trail

hiking in northwest arkansas whitaker point

Get ready to experience a hike that will take your breath away, in more ways than one! The Whitaker Point Trail in Arkansas is a hidden gem that will leave you speechless. This moderate hike is perfect for hikers of all skill levels and offers stunning views of the Buffalo River Valley. As you make your way through the shaded forest on the 2.9-mile round-trip hike, you’ll feel your heart race with anticipation of what’s to come.

And when you reach the overlook, get ready for a jaw-dropping view that will literally take your breath away! To fully enjoy this adventure, be sure to wear sturdy shoes and bring plenty of water, especially during the hot summer months. Don’t miss out on the unforgettable experience of hiking the Whitaker Point Trail – it’s worth every step!

Lost Valley Trail

If you’re looking for an off-the-beaten-path adventure, Lost Valley Trail in Arkansas is the perfect destination. This challenging hike winds through a narrow canyon and leads to a hidden valley surrounded by cliffs. The scenery is breathtaking, and it’s easy to see why this spot is known as “Little Zion.”

The natural beauty of the Ozark Mountains is on full display at Eden Falls. With a height that reaches 53 feet over lofty cliffs, visitors get an up-close look into what this picturesque region has to offer them.

Kings River Falls Trail

hiking in northwest arkansas kings river falls trail

Prepare yourself for an unforgettable adventure with the Kings River Falls Trail, tucked away in the pristine wilderness of Cossatot River State Park-Natural Area. This two-mile moderate hike is a challenging climb, but the reward at the end is simply breathtaking – a picturesque waterfall cascading down into a tranquil pool.

As you make your way uphill through the lush green forest, the sound of rushing water grows louder and louder, building up anticipation for the incredible sight that awaits you. Once you arrive at the falls, take a moment to relax and soak up the peaceful surroundings. This is a perfect spot for a picnic or a refreshing swim in the natural pool below. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the moment, as this is one memory that you’ll want to keep forever.

Magnolia Falls

Looking for a hike that combines adventure and beauty? Look no further than Magnolia Falls Trail in the Upper Buffalo Wilderness. This moderate two-mile trail takes you through the forest and leads you to a stunning waterfall. The waterfall is a perfect spot to rest and take in the serene surroundings. Be sure to bring your camera to capture all of the stunning views of the lush greenery and cascading waters.

Devil’s Den State Park

This natural gem boasts miles of hiking trails that wind through some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the region. From the famous Devil’s Den Trail to lesser-known hidden gems, there’s something for every level of hiker. But that’s just the beginning. You can also enjoy excellent camping, fishing, and swimming opportunities, making it the ultimate destination for a weekend getaway.

Yellow Rock Trail

Have you ever hiked a trail that’s as beautiful as it is fascinating? The Yellow Rock Trail in Devil’s Den State Park, Arkansas, is just that kind of trail. This moderate 3-mile hike winds through the forest, past unique rock formations, and alongside a stunning stream, before finally reaching the summit of Yellow Rock. And let me tell you, the views from the top are absolutely breathtaking! You’ll get to see panoramic views of the Ozark Mountains and the surrounding landscape that will leave you in awe.

hiking in northwest arkansas yellow rock trail

Devil’s Den Trail

Get ready for a hiking trail that will transport you into the heart of a fairy tale – Devil’s Den Trail in Devil’s Den State Park is a must-visit destination for nature lovers. This 1.2-mile self-guided trail is a National Recreation Trail that offers hikers a chance to explore the charming beauty of the Ozark Mountains.

The trail will take you through towering bluffs, serene pools of water, and mystical rock formations that make you feel like you’re walking in a dream. With the sound of babbling creeks in the background, this trail is perfect for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. Make sure to bring your camera along, as this trail is a feast for the eyes.

Devil’s Den Lake Loop

A perfect hike for families, this easy 1-mile roundtrip trail takes hikers on a scenic journey around the tranquil waters of Devil’s Den Lake. The trail offers stunning views of the surrounding Ozark Mountains and the peaceful lake, providing the perfect backdrop for a relaxing hike.

Along the way, hikers can stop to take in the sights and sounds of nature, including beautiful wildflowers and a variety of birds. With its calm and peaceful setting, Devil’s Den Lake Trail is a great place to unwind and connect with nature.

Hobbs State Park

Looking for a natural oasis that’s perfect for all your outdoor adventures? Check out Hobbs State Park Conservation Area for some of the best hiking in Northwest Arkansas! This park spans over 12,000 acres and is home to some of the most beautiful landscapes you’ll ever lay your eyes on. With a variety of trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding, as well as opportunities for fishing, kayaking, and wildlife viewing, there’s never a dull moment at Hobbs State Park.

Pigeon Roost Trail

Looking for a hike that will challenge your skills while still taking in some beautiful scenery? Then Pigeon Roost Trail is a must-try trail in Arkansas! Located in the Ozark National Forest, this trail spans 4.2 miles and is rated as moderate to difficult. Along the way, hikers will encounter steep climbs, stunning rock formations, and even a picturesque waterfall, Pigeon Roost Falls. Despite the challenging terrain, the trail is well-maintained and easy to follow.

Hurricane Creek Wilderness

Do you want to experience the breathtaking beauty of Arkansas’ Ozark National Forest? Then head to Hurricane Creek Wilderness, a natural wonderland that will leave you speechless. Spanning over 4,300 acres, this wilderness area offers everything from rugged mountains to stunning waterways. With miles of hiking trails to explore, you can immerse yourself in the wilderness and discover hidden gems around every turn. Along the way, you’ll be treated to stunning vistas and unique geological features that will make you feel like you’re in another world.

Haw Creek Falls Trail

Looking for a quick and easy way to experience the beauty of an Arkansas waterfall? Look no further than the Haw Creek Falls Trail!

This short and sweet .2-mile hike is perfect for all ages and skill levels, and it leads you straight to the breathtaking 50-foot Haw Creek Falls. Whether you’re looking for a quick adventure or just a scenic picnic spot, the Haw Creek Falls Trail is a must-visit destination. So grab your family and get ready to be wowed by the natural beauty of this Arkansas gem!

Lake Fort Smith State Park

Nestled amidst the magnificent Ozark Mountains, Lake Fort Smith State Park is a nature lover’s paradise that promises to take your breath away. Spread across 2500 acres, this park is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages. The highlight of the park is the stunning Lake Fort Smith, which offers endless opportunities for adventure, including fishing, kayaking, and swimming. Visitors can also explore over 20 miles of hiking trails that wind through the park’s lush forests, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

Sheperd Springs Trail

If you want an easy hike that’s big on scenery, check out the Shepherd Springs Loop in the Lake Fort Smith State Park. This 5.6-mile trail is perfect for hikers of all skill levels, with a variety of terrain to explore. You’ll wind your way through lush pine forests, cross babbling creeks, and take in some of the most breathtaking views in the area. Shepherd Springs Loop is the perfect choice for anyone looking to explore the natural beauty of the Ozarks.

Have you had the chance to go hiking in northwest Arkansas? There are so many beautiful trails to choose from, and we’ve shared just a few of our favorites here. From the rugged beauty of the Ozark Mountains to the peaceful serenity of the state parks, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

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