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Statewide Travel 1

25 Urban Hikes and Walking Trails in Arkansas

H

Heading out into the forest or the mountains to do a little hiking is a great way to unwind, but it’s not the only way. Many people believe that they have to travel to someplace remote to take a proper hike or find a walking trail. That simply isn’t true, so I have gathered this list of 25 Urban Hikes in Arkansas to prove it.

The definition of the word hiking itself — taking long walks, especially through the countryside –perpetuates this notion that we have to be remote to be actually hiking and anything else is just a walk. Well, I’m here to tell you to get that notion out of your head. Hiking is a long walk. Period. And you can hike anywhere. You can climb Mt. Magazine; you can hike the Ouachita Trail, you can take long walks through your neighborhood or push a stroller around the park.

So, put aside the idea that hiking must involve special boots, backpacks and trekking poles. Grab your water bottle and head out for an Urban Hike right in your own backyard.

25 Urban Hikes and Walking Trails in Arkansas
Photo by Julie Kohl.

1. Arkansas River Trail – Little Rock

This 88-mile loop that extends through Little Rock, North Little Rock, Maumelle and Conway is arguably one of the best urban trail systems in all of Arkansas and perhaps beyond. The trail system joins 38 parks, six museums and more than 5,000 acres of public and federal land. The trail system’s popular features include the Big Dam Bridge, the Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden, and the Clinton Presidential Bridge adjacent to the Clinton Library.

2. Burns Park – North Little Rock

This park in Central Arkansas is over 1600 acres and offers various activities in an urban park setting. Hiking is a favored activity of many who visit the park, and you can access 4.6 miles of paved trails and 12.5 miles of unpaved trails. Burns Park also offers camping, golfing, footgolf and Frisbee golf.

Photo by Julie Kohl.

3. Searcy Bike & Walking Trail – Searcy

This 11.4-mile trail crosses the city of Searcy, connecting several parks and recreation areas. The route contains seven segments and users must navigate several main roads to complete the full trail. The trail is paved and well maintained. Parts of the trail are designated for bike use in addition to hikers.

25 Urban Hikes and Walking Trails in Arkansas
Photo by Amanda Fiveash.

4. Big River Crossing – West Memphis

Connecting West Memphis and Memphis, the one-mile-long Big River Crossing is the longest active rail/bicycle/pedestrian bridge in the country. The bridge connects to the 10-mile trail system, which crosses the Mississippi River and joins these Delta communities together.

Photo courtesy of Green County Historical Museum.

5. Paragould History Trail – Paragould

This 2.2-mile award-winning trail winds through downtown Paragould the seat of Greene County. Along the handicap accessible trail, hikers can learn about 18 historic locations dating back to the mid-1800s.

25 Urban Hikes and Walking Trails in Arkansas
Photo by Julie Kohl. 

6. Craighead Forest Park – Jonesboro

This multiuse park has many amenities and is well-loved and well-utilized by the locals. The park’s trail system contains approximately 20 miles of multi-use trails, including three connected to the nearby Forrest L. Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center.

7. Byrd Lake Natural Area Trail – Pine Bluff

This .5-mile trail is located right off I-530 in Pine Bluff. The short, paved trail is ADA compliant and follows along a small oxbow lake. It’s an excellent place for a short walk that offers the possibility of view birds, turtles, deer and other wildlife.

25 Urban Hikes and Walking Trails in Arkansas

8. South Arkansas Arboretum Trail – El Dorado

The 12-acre arboretum is operated by the South Arkansas Community College. The .8-mile walking trail is paved and peaceful. The park also has a gazebo, rental pavilion, restrooms and a butterfly garden.

25 Urban Hikes and Walking Trails in Arkansas

9. Lake Fayetteville Trail – Fayetteville

This urban loop trail circles Lake Fayetteville and provided users with 5.5 miles of paved multi-use trail and 6.9 miles of natural trail that is popular for walking, running and biking. Picnic areas, benches, and bridges dot the trail, so it’s perfect for all levels of hikers.

25 Urban Hikes and Walking Trails in Arkansas
Public Domain.

10. Grand Promenade Trail – Hot Springs

Located on the backside of Bath House Row in the heart of Hot Springs, this paved (brick) trail is a great way to take in some of the sites and history that the city has to offer. In addition to the town’s historical area, hikers will also get a glimpse of the quartz veins that run through the sandstone cliffs, can stroll across the Arlington Lawn and view the Hot Water Cascade.

25 Urban Hikes and Walking Trails in Arkansas
Photo courtesy of Friends of Lake Atalanta.

11. Lake Atalanta – Rogers

This public park is perfect for those in the Rogers area looking for a little wilderness close to home. Restored and upgraded in 2016, this park is ideal for families and has become a treasured green space. Visitors to the park can enjoy 4 miles of hard/paved trails and 10 miles of natural trails.

12. Crystal Bridges Museum Trails – Bentonville

In addition to being a world-class museum of American art, Crystal Bridges allows guests to connect with nature through its four-plus-mile trail system filled with outdoor art. The museum’s eight marked trails lead hikers through the 120-acre park and are designed to spark imagination and help hikers to connect with land and history as well as art.

25 Urban Hikes and Walking Trails in Arkansas
Photo by Julie Kohl.

13 – 25. Urban Arkansas State Parks – Statewide

Thirteen of Arkansas’s 52 State Parks are considered urban parks and are located near metro areas across Arkansas. Each of these parks offers a variety of hiking options and grounds areas to be explored. Many embrace the city culture, and many are designed to bring a bit of wilderness closer to the city. Here are a few of my favorites but you can find the complete list of Urban Arkansas State Parks here.

Historic Washington
Ozark Folk Center
Pinnacle Mountain

Cover photo by Julie Kohl. All other photos courtesy of Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism unless otherwise noted. 

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Julie Kohl works from home as a writer and virtual assistant while raising her young son. A former Yankee who was "converted" to the south by her husband, Julie has grasped on to rural life in a sleepy, blink-your-eyes-and-you'll-miss-it town in central Arkansas. Julie loves adventure. Not necessarily "scare-your-pants-off" adventure but the kind where you seek out new and exciting things. New foods, new places, new experiences. On her blog, Seek Adventures, Julie shares about the outdoor and travel adventures of her family as they camp and standup paddleboard across the South. You can also learn more about her writing on her site Seek Adventures Media.

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One response to “25 Urban Hikes and Walking Trails in Arkansas”

  1. Fox Alannah says:

    This historic section of the Arkansas Riverwalk Trail enters three separate tunnels and offers stunning views of the Arkansas River Gorge. Easy.

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