Devil’s Den State Park, Arkansas. 6 Family friendly hikes to explore at Devil’s Den. Plus a few tips on what to expect along the way.
Devil’s Den State Park has been high on our places to explore for a long time. It’s just out of reach of our two hour drive time from central Arkansas. It’s not the kids, it’s the (senior) dogs! Having to get back home to them, is a bit of a challenge sometimes.
But since we’re now the proud owners of a new (use) travel trailer, we took a long weekend to explore this beautiful state park. Two kids, two dogs and a bird. Yes, we took our bird. He’s kind of a travel expert.
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While we were camping there, we took advantage of the beautiful 50 degree weather in February and explored everything little kid and dog friendly. Some multiple times. Because every so often you just need a short hike with a cup of coffee in hand, at 7:30am.
-6 Family friendly hikes
DEVIL’S DEN STATE PARK
Devil’s Den Trail
- 1 ½ miles -Easy to Moderate depending on the route you take
Devil’s Den Trail is one of their most popular hikes with it boasting two waterfalls at the end destination. We were trying to take the easy trail, but had left our map in the car.
Walking up some stone steps the trail starts out in a gradual, easy climb. After a bit you come across a fork in the trail. We veered to the left up a switchback path. This switchback brought us to our first cave where we found bars across the entrance and a very eerie feeling as you use your phone as a flashlight.
You then make your way though a beautiful small canyon with some steep rock drop offs. After a bit you come across another closed area for the cave and walk down some stone steps right before you reach the waterfall.
Since we were visiting in February, we were met with a lot of ice on the path. So be sure you take that into consideration and be cautious of where you step.
Despite the ice, we made it to the waterfall and I can only image how gorgeous this hike is in the spring with greenery on the trees and the waterfall after a heavy spring storm.
- Devil’s Den Hike – The easy way
Since the map was left in the car, this more adventurous route we took was completely by accident.
Instead of taking the stone stairs next to the parking lot, head over to the guard rail and take the path just behind it. This trail hugs the river and ends with the same beautiful waterfall and is a lot more little kid and grandparent friendly.
- Why is the cave closed off?
- The short answer is to keep the bats safe, but it goes a lot deeper than that. For more information you can read this article about emergency closures.
Lee Creek Trail
- 1 ¼ Miles- Moderate
I was excited to explore Lee Creek Trail since it was the perfect length at just over 1 mile long. There is designated parking over by camping area A and the trail starts off nice and wide.
Shortly after our start, we came to our finish.
This trail is not accessible after a good storm. Although our boots are waterproof, this water is pretty fast moving. It is advised by the park to not continue this hike if water is flowing across the trail.
We’ll be back soon to fully hike this path and I’ll be sure to post an update.
Yellow Rock Trail
- 3 mile loop – Moderate
With little feet and dogs with old knees, three miles can be a bit of a challenge. Although my husband was excited for this trail, I was nervous on how well the kids would do.
Yellow Rock Trail is so unique and definitely a must see if you visit Devil’s Den State Park. You start off by walking through a small canyon and looking over to the left you see people walking under/in between large rocks and only hope that is where the trail is leading you!
The trail curves back around and you do in fact get to walk in between the face of the rock wall. A bit further you come to a switchback before the trail levels out to some great views.
Eventually you’ll come to a fork in the trail. We made our way over to the right to head to yellow rock overlook. After some family photos and a small break, we decided it was best to turn around as we were not even halfway yet.
So if you have older little kids, Yellow Rock Trail overlook is a great place for a picnic and maybe even to turn around. In the end I’d say we walked just under 2 miles round trip and this adventurous route was well worth it.
- 1 Mile round trip- Easy
This easy Lake Trail starts just over the bridge from the visitors center and ends at the bathhouse in camping area E. At the starting location you’ll find a small parking area and picnic tables alongside the river.
The trail is fairly level though-out with only a couple of small hills. You’ll cross over a beautiful wooden bridge and at about the halfway point, you’ll reach a pedestrian suspension bridge.
Since this isn’t a loop trail, you’ll also be taking this path back to your vehicle. You can either backtrack or take the suspension bridge over to the other side of the park.
Over the bridge you’ll get a beautiful view of the waterfall created by the dam.
You can continue by the docks and past the cafe and you’ll reach an old cabin right on the river.
By creating your own loop trail you will have to cross over the bridge, back to your vehicle. So keep that in mind. If it’s a heavily trafficked day, it may be best to head back to the pedestrian bridge and back to your car that way, since there isn’t a designated sidewalk on the bridge.
You can access this waterfall and dock area by taking your car back over the bridge and making your first right into the large parking lot.
CCC Trail (Civilian Conservation Corps)
- ¼ mile – Easy
The CCC Interpretive trail is a small loop trail that brings you past old ruins of the CCC camp back in the 1930’s. Next to the pavilion in the park, you’ll find a stand alone tall chimney. Which is all that remains of the old recreation hall.
Behind you will be the start of the CCC Trail.
Although this trail is very short at ¼ mile, it does walk you through what life was like back in 1934. As the trail loops around it brings you by the modern cabins they have here today. Which is an interesting contrast to the path and ruins you saw just moments before.
It’ll also make you want to rent cabin 17 since it looks like it came right out of a storybook.
Woody Plant Trail
- ¼ mile – Easy
This easy trail is perfect for campers in camping area E. The trail starts right at the campsites and follows the river up towards Lake Trail. Along the path are several spots where you can get close to the water to dip your toes or sit on a large rock.
Don’t worry if you aren’t a camper, you can also pick this trail up along the Lake Trail path. After the suspension bridge keep left at the fork and this will bring you down to Woody Plant Trail and closer to the river.
Although this path isn’t very long, it’s the start of a perfect morning stroll at 7:00am, with a cup of coffee.
Devil’s Den State Park is a great place to spend the day exploring nature in Arkansas. If you’re looking for a few easy walks or something a bit more challenging, this place might just have what you’re looking for.
So don’t forget to pack some water and a picnic lunch and get out and explore!
P.S. If you are camping and have a camper over 25 feet, take exit 53! There is a switchback road leading into the park and exit 45 is not camper friendly.
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