Hiking Trails in Arkansas You Cannot Miss

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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A Hiker’s Guide to Hiking Trails in Arkansas

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Yellow Rock Trail overlook into Lee Valley

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!

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Sitting on top of the Yellow Rock Bluff

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!

Best Hiking Trails in Arkansas

Whitaker Point Trail (aka Hawksbill Crag)

  • Location: Ozark National Forest near Pettigrew, AR
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 2.9 miles out and back
  • Parking: Yes, small parking area near the trailhead.
  • Dog friendly: Yes, leash-requirement
  • Cost: Free
  • Restrooms: None
  • Cell Phone Reception: Hit and Miss

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.

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Whitaker Point

North Rim Trail

  • Location: Mount Magazine State Park near Paris, AR
  • Difficulty: Moderate-Strenuous
  • Distance: 2.7 miles (one-way) from the Visitor Center to the Cove Lake Trail parking lot north of the campground, or a 4.2-mile loop connecting to the Mossback Ridge Trail.
  • Parking: Yes, multiple trailhead parking lot options (east or west ends)
  • Dog friendly: Yes, leash-requirement
  • Cost: Free
  • Restrooms: Yes, at the Visitor Center or campground area
  • Cell Phone Reception: Yes, enough to use AllTrails online

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.

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Dill Point overlook along the North Rim Trail

Signal Hill Trail

  • Location: Mount Magazine State Park near Paris, AR
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 1.8 miles
  • Parking: Yes, near the campground entrance or at the Lodge.
  • Dog friendly: Yes, leash-requirement
  • Cost: Free
  • Restrooms: Yes, at the Visitor Center, campground, and Lodge
  • Cell Phone Reception: Yes, enough to use AllTrails online

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.

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Signal Hill Trailhead

Devil’s Den Trail

  • Location: Devil’s Den State Park near West Fork, AR
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 1.2 miles
  • Parking: Yes, at the trailhead
  • Dog friendly: Yes, leash-requirement
  • Cost: Free
  • Restrooms: Yes, at the Visitor Center or campgrounds
  • Cell Phone Reception: None

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!

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Devil’s Den Trail

Yellow Rock Trail

  • Location: Devil’s Den State Park near West Fork, AR
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 3.1 miles
  • Parking: Yes. There are two parking areas. One is at the CCC Overlook (upper trailhead), and the other parking area is near Camp Area A (lower trailhead).
  • Dog friendly: Yes, leash-requirement
  • Cost: Free
  • Restrooms: Yes, at the Visitor Center or campgrounds
  • Cell Phone Reception: Hit and Miss

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.

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Yellow Rock Bluff

Seven Hollows Trail

  • Location: Petit Jean State Park near Morrilton, AR
  • Difficulty: Moderately difficult
  • Distance: 4 ½ miles – trail loops
  • Parking: Yes, designated parking area
  • Dog friendly: Yes, leash-requirement
  • Cost: Free
  • Restrooms: Yes, at the Visitor Center or campgrounds
  • Cell Phone Reception: Hit and miss throughout the park – none while hiking

Hike the Seven Hollows Trail at Petit Jean State Park to an incredible natural bridge! The trail is well marked with signs every ½ mile or so, highlighting unique places designated along its course, such as The Grotto and Natural Bridge.

The path is well maintained, marked, and trafficked. The trail meanders through a cool forest with epic rock formations.

Be sure to take plenty of water and snacks because it can get hot and humid if hiking during the summer months. Most of the trail is shaded nicely by the tree canopy.

Don’t forget your camera – there are plenty of photo opportunities for anyone who enjoys hiking in nature’s beauty! Seeing the natural bridge makes this one of the neatest hiking trails in Arkansas!

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Natural Bridge along Seven Hollows Trail

Rock House Cave

  • Location: Petit Jean State Park near Morrilton, AR
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: ¼ mile – gravel trail
  • Parking: Yes, plenty at the trailhead
  • Dog friendly: Yes, leash-requirement
  • Cost: Free
  • Restrooms: Yes, at the Visitor Center or campgrounds
  • Cell Phone Reception: Some near Visitor Center and campgrounds – hit and miss throughout the area

One of our favorite things to do is find hikes in incredible or unique terrain! Rock House Cave at Petit Jean State Park in Arkansas does not disappoint.

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Though the hike to the Rock House Cave is a short 1/4 mile walk from the parking lot, this protected archeological site makes the list because it is just so epic! It is a tucked-away Arkansas gem perfect for taking photos – and it is easy to access so anyone can see it.

There are also pictographs on the ceilings! It is a special place – go see for yourself!

Exploring Rock House Cave and Bear Cave Trail on the same day pair nicely together. Both trailheads are within close driving distance of each other at Petit Jean State Park, and they are both shorter day hikes making them easy to see on the same day.

More on hiking the Bear Cave Trail below!

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Rock House Cave

Bear Cave Trail

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: ¼ mile – gravel trail
  • Parking: Yes, plenty at the trailhead
  • Dog friendly: Yes, leash-requirement
  • Cost: Free
  • Restrooms: Yes, at the Visitor Center or campgrounds
  • Cell Phone Reception: Hit and Miss

Bear Cave Trail at Petit Jean State Park is just so neat!

It’s a short hike – only 1/4 mile but scrambling in the rocks is the best part. The scramble through the rocks will make you feel like a true adventurer!

You’ll have a blast taking pictures and talking to other happy hikers.

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Bear Cave Trail

What Should You Bring Hiking?

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.

You should also bring water to stay hydrated. We like our insulated Hydro Flask water bottles – they keep the water cooler in the summer heat.

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.

Best Time of Year to Hike in Arkansas

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 Hiking Gear

Shop our favorite hiking gear below!

Oboz Women’s Hiking BootsBuy on Amazon

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Oboz Men’s Hiking Boots – Buy on Amazon

Osprey Day Hike BagBuy on Amazon


Explore Arkansas’s Amazing Hiking Trails

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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Ashlee Fechino

I’m an outdoor recreation writer with dreams to inspire happiness. My goal is to help people live their best life by sharing how simple and fun it is to travel locally. I hold a BS degree in Biology and MS in Environmental Policy & Sustainability. I’m married to an expat Argentine, Pablo! We camp in our Aliner often, love road trips, and hiking.

10 Comments

  1. Aimee Stephens on July 28, 2021 at 11:26 am

    I’m loving the views from Yellow Rock Bluff, I could sit there for hours. I bet it gets hot there though.



    • Ashlee Fechino on July 28, 2021 at 1:58 pm

      Hi Aimee – the views from Yellow Rock Bluff are world-class. You would love them. It did get hot in the sun on the bluff but the rest of the trail is shaded.



  2. Amy Aed on July 28, 2021 at 11:27 am

    Wow, Arkansas looks like such a beautiful, mesmerising place, I would love to visit someday!!! It seems like there’s plenty to keep a traveller busy 🙂



    • Ashlee Fechino on July 28, 2021 at 1:57 pm

      Hi Amy – there are so many incredible hiking trails in Arkansas. We hope you can visit someday!



  3. Carmina on July 28, 2021 at 4:49 pm

    The USA has some of the best national parks I’ve seen. I would love to explore some of them someday. Your suggestions for the hiking trails in Arkansas is what I would definitely go for if I ever end up in this part of the world.



    • Ashlee Fechino on July 29, 2021 at 9:53 am

      Hi Carmina! We agree – the USA has incredible National and State Parks to explore. You would have an amazing time. Thanks for reading.



  4. Jan on July 29, 2021 at 12:54 am

    I have never been to Arkansas. This place looks awesome. I would love to do those hikes especially Devil’s Den Trail with the unique rock formations towering above you. Great capture! I am adding this to my bucket list. 🙂



    • Ashlee Fechino on July 29, 2021 at 9:54 am

      Hi Jan! Arkansas has really neat places to explore. You’ll love visiting.



  5. simplyjolayne on July 29, 2021 at 5:24 am

    You have covered the hikes in Arkansas so well with detailed info. I love my Oboz hiking boots as well and highly recommend them.



    • Ashlee Fechino on July 29, 2021 at 9:55 am

      Hi there! Thanks for reading! Sweet on your Oboz! We agree they make the best hiking shoes and boots. We recently got a new pair of the low tops and love them just at much at the mid-leather.