11 Hiking Trails in Arkansas | Family Friendly

Hiking trails in Arkansas. Easy hiking trails in the central Arkansas area for families and beginners. Explore central Arkansas this season.

Hiking trails in Arkansas

We love the outdoors! Moving here in 2017 we had a 2 year old and a 4 year old. It was important to explore but to do so in the central Arkansas area. I didn’t quite understand how large Arkansas was before moving here, but it’s huge!

Those amazing hikes in the Ozark’s are almost 3 hours away, one way! Since we needed to cater to little kid feet and little kid car ride attention spans, anything over 2 hours and over 3 miles for a trail, is off limits.

It’s forced us to explore local and I’m glad we have! When family visits we can show them the best family friendly hikes central Arkansas has to offer.

Save these hikes to Pinterest by clicking the photo below!

Family hiking trails central Arkansas

Gas up the car and grab some snacks for the road, because it’s time to get outside!

HIKING TRAILS IN ARKANSAS | CENTRAL

LITTLE ROCK AREA

Pinnacle Mountain State Park

This state park is very popular when the weather is nice.

Arkansas trail arboretum

This is a very small trail at Pinnacle State Park. It’s only 0.6 miles but it is paved and flat which is great for small feet and strollers.

Rocky valley trail

This two mile loop starts at the visitors center. It’s the same trail that takes you to the lookout point of the Arkansas river. Only before you get too far, it veers off to the right past a gorgeous turquoise quarry pond. Not paved- easy to moderate

Base trail

2.7 miles easy to moderate. To get to this trail it almost feels like your leaving the park entirely! But after you turn left at the stop sign you’ll see a playground and parking area on the left, with signs leading the way.

Kingfisher trail

½ mile easy-paved. This trail is located next to the playground and parking area and popular amongst bird watchers.

It is tempting to climb the summit at Pinnacle Mountain. After starting the trail the kids were doing amazing! But 3/4th of the way up it becomes a bolder field and I was not comfortable continuing our climb. We hung out on some rocks and let dad continue to the top.

Pinnacle mountain overlook
View of the Arkansas river from the overlook at the visitor center.
Rocky valley trail- Quarry pond
3/4th of the way up to the summit of Pinnacle trail. Where we took in the view and decided to let dad do the rest of the bolder trail on his own.

Burns Park- North Little Rock

Burns park is filled with an amazing trail system! But with that, it can get a bit confusing. My advise is to drive around the park first and get a feel for the area. This trail system connects to the Arkansas river trail and can take you over The Big Dam Bridge. That is, if you go far enough. For a full trail map of Burns park click here.

Covered bridge at Burns Park- North Little Rock
covered bridge over water

Two Rivers Trails– Little Rock

If you look over to the right as you head south and cross the Arkansas river on I-430, you can see Two Rivers Trail bridge. This trail is 6.3 miles round trip. It’s great for walking, jogging or having the kids ride their bikes.

Set your GPS for Two Rivers Trail bridge if you’d like to cross the footbridge that you see from the highway. Otherwise it will bring you over by Pinnacle Mountain to start there.

View of Two Rivers Park bridge from the peninsula.
trail lined with pine trees
Paved trail over the bridge
View of I-430 from Two Rivers Park

HOT SPRINGS AREA

Lake Catherine State Park

Falls Branch Trail

2 miles- Moderate. This two mile trail is no joke in the summer. Although it is beautiful, it has a few steep climbs and rocky areas. It was more an accident we did this trail. We were really looking to get to Falls Creek Falls. We did finally make it to the falls, but we found a much shorter way for next time.

Dam Mountain Trail

4.5 miles- Moderate. The only reason I put this one on the list is because this is the trail you’ll want to take for an easier walk to Falls Creek Falls. When the trail splits, go left following the lake. Continue to follow the trail next to the lake and it will be a nice, easy walk to Falls Creek Falls.

Falls Creek Falls at Lake Catherine State Park

Hot Springs National Park

If you haven’t been to Hot Springs yet, it’s a pretty interesting town. The town is part of the National park with lots of trails mixing throughout.

This trail map will also show you where you can get your own water from the hot springs. We’re huge fans of the water at Hot Springs. With it’s delicious taste and being completely free, you can’t go wrong! In fact, you’ll find us on a regular basis filling up gallons at time.

For more information on the water, click here.

Grand Promenade 0.5 miles
Turfa Terrace Waterfall- Hot Springs

Lake Ouachita State Park

Dogwood Trail

0.5 miles- Easy loop trail

Caddo Bend Trail

4 mile loop- Difficult- This trail easily made it to our families favorite trails list! I know it says difficult and 4 miles, but what makes this trail manageable is the service road that runs in-between the loop. At different points you can head to the service road for an easy walk back to the car.

Starting on the same side as the amphitheater, follow the trail. It does have a steep incline to start, bringing you right above the lake for the most gorgeous views. We made it a little past the observation deck and caught the service trail back to the car.

Caddo Bend Trail
View from the observation deck on Caddo Bend Trail

WEST OF CONWAY

Petit Jean State Park

Petit Jean State Park is a fun all day trip. Not only does it have hiking trails but there is a little petting zoo close by and an automobile museum. The petting zoo is a little bit more rustic, but the kids had a great time feeding all of the farm animals.

Check out The Outpost for delicious fudge, sandwich lunches or homemade salsas and preserves. If coffee is more your style, right next door they have Petit Jean Coffee House.

Just before you enter the state park you’ll pass Petit Jean overlook. Be sure to stop in for the most gorgeous views of the Arkansas river.

Petit Jean overlook
The Arkansas River from Petit Jean overlook
Green fields and a twisting road from the overlook.

Bear Cave Trail

0.5 miles- Easy. Not exactly a cave but it does give off a very cave feel. This awesome little trail is all about large boulders and explore the area.

Bear Cave Trail – Petit Jean State Park Arkansas

Cedar Falls overlook

Although this is not a trail, this is a great place to check out the waterfall. This wheel chair accessible path takes you right to the waterfall overlook. Take the stairs underneath and you’ll find really interesting stones and a short path back to the lodge.

Cedar Falls Overlook

Cedar Falls Trail

2 miles round trip- moderate/difficult. My two year old (at the time) kicked my behind on this trail! The worst part of this trail are the stairs at the beginning. If you can make it past those, the rest of the trail is fairly flat with a few boulders to go around. Don’t forget you’ll be doing these stairs to get back up.

Rock House Cave Trail

0.25 miles-Easy. Again, not a cave. But this LARGE rock shelter is very cool. Just after the visitors center turn right onto Red Bluff Drive and head over the bridge. Continue down Red Bluff drive. At the first fork in the road bear left. This road turns into a dirt road. At the second fork bear left again and you’ll see the trailhead.

Rock House Cave – Petit Jean State Park

NORTHEAST OF CONWAY

Woolly Hollow State Park

The Cabin Trail

0.5 mile- Easy. This shaded half mile trail is great for small kids. At one point the trail turns to sand. No, I don’t understand either.

Sand on The Cabin Trail at Woolly Hollow State Park
Old cabin homestead
The Old Cabin at Woolly Hollow State Park

Huckleberry Trail

3.5 miles- Easy/moderate. This loop trail takes your around the edges of Lake Bennett and back to the visitors center.

View both trail maps here.

Although this is a small state park, it offers camping, a playground, picnic area, kayaking and swimming. Better yet, stop in at Pickle Gap Village in Conway, and grab some fudge for a special snack after your hike.

Fudge at Pickle Gap Village
Homemade fudge and preserves at Pickle Gap Village in Conway
Homemade preserves with stone fireplace in the background

HEBER SPRINGS AREA

Collins Creek

1.2 miles-Easy. We love taking the dogs and kids to Collins Creek! It’s an easy drive to get up there and just long enough to tire out our old dogs, and young kids! The trail takes you by cascading water and large flat rocks and continues following the creek downstream.

Creek surround by greenery

There is a large playground on the other side of the creek and a footbridge just bellow that takes you over to that same side. Continue down and you’ll reach this beautiful emerald green water. Depending on when you go, you may find more or less water since this water is controlled by a dam.

playground at collins creek

The trail eventually disappears and you’ll have to turn around and head back.

Josh Park Memorial Trail

This 1.3 mile easy loop trail is located near Dam Site Marina. Here you’ll also find outdoor fitness equipment next to the trailhead along with restrooms.

Josh Park Memorial Trail in Heber Springs Arkansas

Mossy Bluff National Nature Trail-

1.8 moderate. You’ll find this trail at the visitors center just before crossing over the dam in Heber Springs. There are stairs, and a some points, steep areas. This trail leads you to Mossy Buff overlook where you can see a gorgeous view of the dam. Take the same trail back or head back on the road.

There is a road that takes you from the visitors center to the overlook, if you’d rather drive. You’ll also find Buckeye Trail on this road, which is a very small loop trail. But if Frisbee golf if your thing, you’ll be happy to know that you can find a Frisbee golf course opposite of Buckeye Trail.

Frisbee golf course across from Buckeye Trail in Heber Springs
Hidden painted rock found at the William Carl Garner Visitors center in Heber Springs Arkansas. We hid it on another hike in a different town.

You’ll find us hiking around Arkansas through the fall, winter and spring. Unless you start early in the summer, the heat is just too much. Better to find a lake instead.

Of course there are many beautiful hikes here in central Arkansas and these are just a few of them. Now that the kids are a little older, we’ll start to branch out some more. Hopefully this helps guide you to some easy day trips right in our own backyard.

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Hiking trails in central Arkansas

Just a reminder to check individual trail websites for latest hours of operation and Covid guidelines. Always be prepared and know your limits and skills. The content on this website is meant for entertainment and informational purposes only. This information is not intended to give advice or directions on any hiking trail. This website is not responsible for any accidents, inconvenience, injuries, or loss of life by anyone attempting these hikes. Hike at your own risk.

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