We are so lucky to live in the Natural State of Arkansas, particularly in the NW region where there is of plenty of outdoor space to reconnect with nature. There are plenty of hikes in various ranges of difficulty where you can see stunning landscapes, rushing waterfalls and listen to the sounds of mother nature. Ahhh!
If getting outdoors more is on your list of things to do more of in 2021, check out the list of the best hikes in the NW Arkansas.
- Whittaker Point AKA Hawksbill – One of the truly iconic places in Arkansas. Whitaker Point Trail which leads to Hawksbill Crag, the pointed bluff that hangs precariously out over the edge. You have seen the image of this rock in all the Arkansas travel brochures, I am sure. This short hike is a must for any hiker’s bucket list. A gentle downhill eventually leads to a Waterfall area before turning to follow the bluff line. Be careful along this area as it is slippery near the edges. Hikers will soon start to get glimpses of the Crag just before it opens up. The trip back is mainly up and gradual, but still a bit strenuous if you are not used to hiking. There are no other amenities in the area so go prepared with food and water and use the restroom before you get there. To get there from Fayetteville Take AR -16 East through Elkins and Pettigrew, Turn Left on Cave Mountain Rd, Continue on to Co Rd 5, Whitaker point will be on your right.
- Yellow Rock Trail at Devil’s Den State Park – Devil’s Den is located in the quaint town of West Fork, just off I-49, South of Fayetteville. There are several great hiking spots here so you may want to plan an overnight camp or cabin stay. The Yellow Rock Trail is the favorite amongst hikers however, especially in the fall. The rock platform overlooks Lee Creek and offers spectacular views of the the valley below. The hike is fairly level with a few uphill/downhill spots. It would be considered moderate hike. To make your hike a bit easier you can begin from the CCC overlook right of Hwy 170. It will save you a bit of uphill areas. Devils Den State Park does have restrooms closer by the River and pool area.
- Tanyard Creek – Located in Benton County -The Tanyard Creek Nature Trail in Bella Vista is inside the city limits and was built and is maintained by volunteers. A favorite places to go because of the great scenery and all of the informational signs posted. Like most trails in the area, this is dog friendly as long as they are leashed and well behaved. The trail is about a mile west of Highway 71 on Lancashire Boulevard/Highway 340. There are plenty of bluffs, a waterfall and plenty of birds to see on this hike. The trail may be a small loop of 2.2 miles, but offers everything you crave from any scenic hike. You’ll start off in semi urban neighborhood with a large parking lot. This parking lot will act as your trailhead. . The trail will loop around in a couple places, and depending on the path you take, your elevation will change, but nothing drastic. If you take the part of the trail that goes up in elevation, you’ll be on your way to a lovely waterfall. If you continue on the trail you’ll come back down in elevation and you will see a wooden bridge that has a vintage feel and is easily accessible.
- Cooper Chapel – Ok this is easy peesey, but super scenic. The is a very easy paved path that loops by the Mildred B Cooper chapel, built by famed architect E. Fay Jones. It is less than a mile long and could be enjoyable for all skill levels. The path will also give you a glimpse of Lake Norwood, a few painted rocks, plenty of trees. It is located in Bella Vista at 504 Memorial Dr., Bella Vista, AR.
5. Lost Valley – Located in the Buffalo River National Park. This may be last on this list but is certainly not least. This is one of the more popular hikes in the area and considered by most to be one of the best hikes in NW Arkansas. It is a short hike of about 2.2 miles round trip. There are restrooms and picnic tables located at the trailhead. Plenty of parking and room to social distance so please give other hikers space. The first part of the hike is more flat so less able family members could join you on this part. There are benches for them to sit and relax if needed. Further up the trail there are some rocks and steps to climb. On this trail you can explore Cobb Cave which is an impressive overhang. Further up the tail with several steps involved you can see Eden Falls and Eden Cave. This hike gives you a lot of bang for your buck so take your time, take it all in, and please leave nothing behind but your foot prints.
There are so many more hikes in the area but we feel these are the best hikes in NW Arkansas. If you have to choose just a few, we recommend these. We hope you put a few hikes on your to do list for 2021 and enjoy time outdoors. Please remember to leave nothing behind but your footprints so we can all enjoy the hikes.