Arkansas is home to some of the most beautiful hiking trails in the United States. Hiking enthusiasts can find various terrains and landscapes, including pine-oak forests, mountain ranges, and lush valleys. The highest point in Arkansas is Mount Magazine, at an elevation of 2,753 feet. Hikers will enjoy a variety of different types of trails, including those with waterfalls or caves, as well as challenging treks along rocky terrain leading to majestic bluff overlooks. Outdoor lovers are sure to find just what they’re looking for when exploring these amazing hiking trails in Arkansas! This article introduces excellent day-hikes that you should try if you are looking for new adventures!
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We love hiking in Arkansas and have been anxious to hike enough trails to put together a guide for our readers! However, since we live in Oklahoma, it has taken a few incredible weekend trips to gather all the best trails for you all.
One of the most exciting things about trekking through Arkansas is that you never know what to expect. The forests are quite dense and lush, so sometimes you can be trekking along a narrow trail with the forest brushing right up against you, sometimes the trail is more open, and sometimes the next thing you know, there is a clearing, and you’re on top of a mountain overlooking a vast Jurassic Park-like valley. I mean, the forest is thick in the Ozarks and Ouachita Mountains!
When hiking in Arkansas, you’ll be able to find all different types of terrains, including pine-oak forests, mountain ranges, lush valleys with waterfalls, bluffs, and even caves. These different types of terrain are what make each hike unique. Hiking enthusiasts can enjoy a variety of different types of hikes in Arkansas, whether you are looking for day-hikes or challenging treks through the rocks.
Hikers are sure to find just what they’re looking for when exploring Arkansas’s fantastic hiking trails! This article focuses on some of the best day-hiking trails with epic views! So, let’s go to it! We can’t wait to share the best hikes in Arkansas with you!
Whitaker Point Trail (a.k.a. Hawksbill Crag) is located near Pettigrew, Arkansas. It is one of the most famous hikes in the state, with views of the epic crag jetting out from the mountainside. The trail is well maintained and follows the ridge line offering hikers great views from the bluffs. Hikers are surrounded by the Ozark Mountains along this trail. Though the trail is not strenuous, it does follow a ridge line with steep cliffs. Be aware of your surroundings and where you’re stepping to stay safe.
The hike starts at the Whitaker Point Trailhead off Country Road 5. There is a small parking area, and once that fills up, hikers park along the county road.
You’ll hike downhill towards the end of the trail, where the crag is hidden in the forest. The trail slowly switch-backs from the parking lot along the ridge through the trees. Depending on the time of year, there is also a small waterfall along the way.
The hike to Whitaker Point is one of our favorite hikes in northwest Arkansas, especially in the fall. The magic of this notorious crag will engulf you. Take time to enjoy the views and one of the best hikes in the Ozarks.
The North Rim hike is located in Mount Magazine State Park in the Ouachita Mountains. As we were saying earlier, Mount Magazine has the tallest point in Arkansas – Signal Hill (more on Signal Hill below). The North Rim Trail has the best views at Mount Magazine (in our opinion). You don’t want to miss it!
There are multiple trailheads to complete the North Rim Trail. Hikers can start at the east end near the Visitor Center (which we did) or start on the west end north of the campground. In addition, you can hike a loop or one-way.
Hikers walk along the north rim of the mountain through the cedars and oaks. There are also three (3) small creek crossings. Be sure to take the small lookout trail to Dill Point and some of the other bluff openings to see incredible views of the Arkansas River Valley. On a clear day – hikers can see the Ozarks off in the distance too!
Hikers should take precautions while enjoying the steep bluffs that jet out from the forest. The trail offers incredible panoramic views from atop.
Dill Point overlook is not marked, so bring a map to ensure you don’t miss it! You can hike this trail year-round; however, we bet it is really incredible in the fall.
Hike in the clouds! Well, kind of… Signal Hill is located within Mount Magazine State Park. Signal Hill is the tallest point in Arkansas at an elevation of 2,753 feet above sea level. This trail makes the list of the best hiking trails in Arkansas because you have to hike to the tallest point in the state – it is just too fun!
It is a very popular hike and provides some truly amazing experiences for hikers at all skill levels.
There are three (3) different trailheads to choose from when hiking Signal Hill. The trail is well marked from the road.
Hikers can expect to see beautiful foliage during their hike, including spring flowers and fall colors! Signal Hill is considered an easy-moderate difficulty hiking trail.
Hiking in the Ozarks is always an unforgettable experience. Hike past caves and a waterfall on this scenic hike along Devil’s Den Trail in the Ozark National Forest. The trail is short and moderately challenging; however, hikers are sure to enjoy themselves along the way with neat rock formations and caves tucked within the forest.
The hardest part of this hike is keeping your eyes off the beautiful scenery around you and being careful as you step along the stone pathways.
To protect the local bat population from White-Nose Syndrom, all of the caves are closed, but you can still take pictures of them from the opening.
Devil’s Den State Park is an excellent place for hikers of all skill levels to explore nature. We want to show you another one of our favorite hikes at Devil’s Den below!
Yellow Rock Trail is in the Ozark National Forest and is a fun hike for all skill levels. The upper trail meanders through the forest and along the ridgeline, where hikers are treated to a few openings and the epic view of the Yellow Rock bluff. From Yellow Rock, you can see amazing views of Lee Creek Valley.
The sound of the forest here is impressive. Hopefully, you’ll get to catch a beautiful breeze as we did. Once you get to the Yellow Rock Bluff, enjoy the views, take photos, and breathe in the unforgettable smell of the Ozarks. This is another one of our favorite hikes in the Ozarks. Be sure to add it to your bucket list of the best hikes in Arkansas.
Hiking can be a fantastic way to explore and enjoy the natural world. But you should take time before your trip to prepare for all of the different things that could happen, like getting injured or being lost in unfamiliar territory.
One key preparation is packing appropriate footwear and socks – hiking shoes or boots are preferable due to their increased stability on uneven terrain. Good ankle support is important as well. We hike with wool socks to keep our feet from getting blisters.
Finally, bring some snacks along – they’ll give you energy during long hikes or adventure trips while providing much-needed sustenance too!
When hiking in Arkansas during the summer, wear long pants to avoid being bitten by bugs (mosquitos or ticks). Spray yourself with bug spray before you set out on your hike too! Start hiking as early as possible to beat the summer heat. We try to be on the trails no later than 8:00 am.
We always like to protect ourselves from the heat with a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen.
If you’re not sure if you will have cell phone reception, you can download the hiking route ahead of time from AllTrails, or other program of your choice. We use AllTrails on our iphones.
Fall is one of the best times of the year to hike in northwest Arkansas because the sides of the mountains have incredible foliage displays. However, you can hike year-round.
The key to hiking in the summer when it is hot and humid is to start walking early in the day and be done before noon. All of these hikes are in the trees and there is lots of shade.
Shop our favorite hiking gear below!
Oboz Women’s Hiking Boots – Buy on Amazon
Oboz Men’s Hiking Boots – Buy on Amazon
Osprey Day Hike Bag – Buy on Amazon
Arkansas is a beautiful state that offers some of the country’s best and most remote hiking experiences. Hikers can enjoy exploring nature without having to venture too far from home if they live in Arkansas or a neighboring state like we do. The mountains, forests, and valleys are all waiting for you. Hiking in Arkansas will give you memories that will last a lifetime.
Explore Arkansas’s trails today!
Ashlee & Pablo
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I’m a travel and outdoor recreation writer with dreams to inspire happiness through an outdoorsy lifestyle. I want to help people live their best life by sharing free adventure guides. The USA has been my backyard most of my life, and it’s the place where you’ll find most of our escapades! I’m married to an expat Argentine, chihuahua Mom, and am passionate about the environment. I hold a BS degree in Biology and MS in Environmental Policy & Sustainability. We camp in our Aliner often, love road trips, hiking, and SUP’ing!