Hiking Trails In Northwest Arkansas

Undoubtedly, Northwest Arkansas is a beautiful place full of nature. If you love being outdoors or then check out some of the lovely trails it has.

The is amazing most of the year for hiking and being outdoors, and Ozark mountains offer some of the most beautiful trails in this area. We have put together a list of 17 amazing trails you can do in the Northwest Arkansas, Bentonville, Fayetteville area. So get your hiking boots ready and let’s start planning.

Day Hiking Trails in Northwest Arkansas

Depending on your expertise level, you can enjoy the outdoor scenery all day long or for a couple of hours. There are many day hiking trails in Northwest Arkansas; you only need to find out where they are, get your gear ready, and set out.

Rock formation at the Whitaker Point trail
Rock formation at the Whitaker Point trail

Whitaker Point Trail, Upper Buffalo Wilderness

Length: 2.9 miles
Difficulty: Moderate to difficult
Highlights: 413 elevation gain, out and back route, creek overlook

Whitaker Point trail is near Pettigrew, Arkansas, and it’ll take you about an hour and a half to two hours to complete from the trailhead to the end. So this can easily be a half-day outing for the whole family to enjoy.

This trail is very popular, and rightly so because of the amazing views when you get to the end, so be sure to take your camera along for your Instagram friends. The trail is a little sloppy at the start, but it does get better as you go.

It is an open walkway, so you can have fun as you go. You can go solo or with a friend, family member, or dog. If you want to take beautiful pictures, consider going around sunset or sunrise.

More importantly, the trail is well marked, so you can hardly miss your way. When you reach the trail end, you’ll see a rock formation from the cliff, and from there, you can view the Whitaker creek and the vast valley layout.

Because of the fantastic views at the end, this day hike makes the top of our list.

Yellow Rock Trail, Devil’s Den State Park

Length: 3.1 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Highlights: 551 feet elevation gain, loop route, Yellow Rock overlook, Lee Creek valley

Yellow Rock trail is another place to hike for a couple of hours and then head home. While hiking here you can enjoy the scenic views and take some amazing pictures along the trail. It is located south of Fayetteville, in the Devil’s Den state park.

This trail has always been a hiker’s paradise. Wear sturdy hiking shoes with great traction because this is a rocky trail. You’ll notice some eye-catching rock formations along the trail as you hike.

Moreover, this trail is well marked, and you’ll see a small lake as you pass the visitor’s center. The best spot for taking pictures is at the upper trailhead when you see the beautiful Lee Creek valley.

This trail can get crowded during weekends, so plan accordingly. In addition, it also has a campground in case you want to spend a night or two at the state park.

Big Bluff/Goat Trail, Buffalo Wilderness Area

Length: 6 miles
Difficulty: Moderate to difficult
Highlights: 1,076 feet elevation gain, out and back route, mountain and river view, rock formations

The Big Bluff is a must-do hiking trail whether you live here or visiting. It’s beautiful, challenging, and only takes a couple of hours to complete.

On the trail, you can enjoy the amazing Buffalo River. On the same trail, you see unique rock outcroppings. You should wear appropriate hiking boots since the path has rocky areas.

If you’ve been hearing about how large the Big Buff is, you can come to confirm it. It is the tallest bluff at 500ft along the buffalo river. While the Big Buff/Goat Trail has impressive views, you need to be careful here because of the heights.

Lost Valley Trail, Buffalo National River

Length: 2.3 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Highlights: 253 feet elevation gain, out and back route, waterfall, cave

The Lost Valley trail is another popular trail near Ponca, Arkansas. This trail is concise, so you can go for a quick hike and return home, but if you have all day, you can explore other notable highlights of the trail.

You can explore the cave, rock formations, the 8ft waterfalls, and more. You’ll see the Eden Falls and Cobb Cave at the trail end. Also, you’re likely to hike through the water to cross the creek, so make sure to wear waterproof hiking boots.

This place is usually crowded during weekends, so you can go during the week.

Indian Rock House Nature Trail, Buffalo National River

Length: 3.3 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Highlights: 482 feet elevation gain, loop route, cave, waterfall, creek, river

Another hiking trail to try in Arkansas is the Indian Rock House Nature trail. It’ll take you about a couple of hours to complete at a normal pace. This trail goes around hillsides and is along a  beautiful stream, which leads to the Indian Rockhouse cave.

You’ll also notice a small waterfall, creek, and river on the trail. The path switches from a stone staircase to dirt, but nothing complicated. Since this trail is very popular and linked to the popular Buffalo National River, you should consider going during quieter times of the week.

The Indian Rock House Nature trail is well marked, so you don’t have to worry about missing your way. Unfortunately, you can’t bring your pet hiking here.

Seven Hollows Trail, Petit Jean State Park

Length: 5 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Highlights: 613 feet elevation gain, loop trail, waterfall, rock formations

The Seven Hollows trail is near Morrilton, Arkansas, and it’s a total must-do trail. It features a beautiful waterfall, amazing rock formations, and some nice picture spots.

This route can be a bit challenging for beginners, but you’ll get used to it with time. It should take you about two and a half hours to complete your hike here, but if you’ve got time, you can take small detours on the rocks along the trail for pictures, Hiking Trails in Bentonville, Fayetteville area, etc.

However, you should be careful so you don’t sustain any injury while you’re out there. One more thing, you can bring your dog if you want.

Hiking Trails in Bentonville, Fayetteville area

Here are some suggestions if you want to stay closer to the Bentonville-Fayetteville area.:

Coler Mountain Bike Preserve-Bentonville, AR

Length: 3 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Highlights: 341 elevation gain, a loop route

One of the easier trails to try in Bentonville is the Cooler Mountain Bike trail. It’s suitable for all levels, and it’s kid-friendly. 

The area is easy and paved with a mountain biking trail by the side if you would like to try it. This is an ideal trail for a quick walk after work to unwind and clear your mind.

Mt. Sequoyah Woods Trail-Fayetteville, AR

Length: 1.25 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Highlights: 364 feet elevation gain, loop route, wilderness, forest

Mt. Sequoyah is a nature-given trail, and you should check it out. Its location is in Fayetteville central, and it features a forest pack. The trail is heavily wooded, but you’ll still get the city feel on the trail.

The trail features a wilderness, and if you go at a normal pace, you’ll complete your hike in about an hour. Apart from hiking, you can run or do some mountain biking here. However, you should know that the trail can get muddy if it rains.

Fossil Flats Trailhead-West Fork, AR

Length: 6 miles
Difficulty: Moderate to difficult
Highlights: 538 elevation gain, loop route, wildflowers, rock formations

Fossil Flats trailhead is another hiking site in Devil’s Den state park. It features flat exposed rocks on the creek beds. You’ll notice fossils, wildflowers, and some Ozark rock formations here.

This trail takes about two hours to complete, and it loops with the Outlaw loop, Sawmill loop, and Raver’s hill loop. You may experience ticks here, so ensure you wear protective clothing and carry bug spray.

Slaughter Pen Trail-Bentonville, AR

Length: 5.7 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Highlights: 495 feet elevation gain, a loop route

Slaughter Pen is a moderate hiking trail, and it’s suitable for all levels and is kid-friendly. The trail is popular, so you may meet a few other hikers while out here.

In addition, it takes about two and a half hours to finish, so you can plan your day beyond hiking. You’ll notice some public art installations here and nice spots for Instagram shots. If you’d love to hike with your pet, you can bring them along.

Hobbs State Park Trails – Rogers, AR

Length: 52 miles
Difficulty: Easy to moderate to difficult
Highlights: 13 to 1,184 feet elevation gain, loop route, at least 13 trails, river view

Hobb State Park houses about 13 must-do hiking trails in Northwest Arkansas. The park spans the southern Beaver lakeshore, which you can see on any trail. 

The difficulty level of the trails differs depending on the one you walk. You’ll walk various terrains if you decide to hike here, so ensure you wear appropriate gear.

Lake Atlanta – Rogers, AR

Length: 1.8 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Highlights: 114 elevation gain, loop route, lake

Another amazing short and easy trail to hike is Lake Atlanta near Rogers, Arkansas. You can visit here if you want a quiet and serene “hike in nature” experience. 

This trail is popular and a multi-use one for biking, running, and walking, so it can be a bit crowded. You can visit any time of the day with your dog and be done in less than an hour.

Blowing Springs Park – Bella Vista, AR

Length: 3.8 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Highlights: 341 elevation gain, loop route, waterfall, wildflowers, river, cave, forest

Another hiking site to enjoy nature is Blowing Springs Park near Bella Vista, Arkansas. It features a waterfall, caves, springs, a footbridge, and an overlook with nice views. 

The atmosphere at this trail is cool, and you can capture amazing views for your hiking collections. Hiking in this trail will likely take you less than two hours, that’s if you stick strictly to hiking.

Tanyard Creek Loop-Bella Vista, AR

Length: 2.2 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Highlights: 164 elevation gain, loop route, creek, waterfall

Tanyard Creek loop is an easy, family-friendly trail for all levels. It’s also close to Bella Vista, and it features views of waterfalls and creeks. Since hiking on this trail is pretty easy, you can cover the area in an hour. 

Also, the Tanyard Creek loop lies in the city, so you may hear distracting traffic noise. However, some of the noise might also come from the trail because it is quite popular and can sometimes get busy.

Lake Fayetteville-Fayetteville, AR

Length: 5.5 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Highlights: 216 feet elevation gain, loop route, lake view

Lake Fayetteville is a very popular trail in the city, and many people hike there. The terrain is paved and gives off a natural aura with flora and fauna beautifying the area. 

While hiking here, you could try doing other fun things in the area like fishing, biking, or running. In just under two and a half hours, you should be done here.

Mud Creek Trail- Fayetteville, AR

Length: 4.5 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Highlights: 75 feet elevation gain, out and back route, nature

This is a multi-use trail you can check out for hiking, biking, or running. It’s a beginner-friendly area and fits all levels. If you go in the morning, you should be done in less than two hours and return to your normal routine. Hiking here, you’d discover that the trails are paved and very easy.

A small waterfall you can see form one of the trails at Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville
waterfall near one of the trails at Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, AR

North Forest Trail – Crystal Bridges Museum -Bentonville AR

Length: 1.8 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Highlights: 114 feet elevation gain, loop route, nature, forest, wildflowers

This is one of the shortest and easy trails on this list as it takes only about 48 minutes to complete. Hikers can walk this trail at any level, and it’s wheelchair and family-friendly. You may experience a little bit of steepness here, but overall, it’s all good.

Conclusion

There are many hiking trails in the Northwest Arkansas area that you can explore; you can stay closer to the city by picking trails in the Bentonville Fayetteville area or explore further away trails if you have time. While you are here, check out our hiking guides in other parts of the country.

However, remember that to get the best hiking experience, you should always ensure you wear the right gear and take essentials with you. Enjoy your hike!

Emily Winters

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