2-Day Hiking and Camping Guide To Mount Nebo State Park


This guide provides details to help you plan a trip to Mount Nebo State Park in Arkansas, where you can hike and camp.

If you’re looking for a fun outdoor weekend, this Arkansas State Park is just what you’ve been searching for.

Along with incredible views of the surrounding mountains and Lake Dardanelle, there is a nice campground and quite a few historic trails to hike and mountain bike. The Visitor Center also has ice cream!

The park’s proximity to a few cities, such as Little Rock, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, and Memphis, makes it a perfect escape for an outdoor weekend.

Views from the top of Mount Nebo

2-Day Guide to Mount Nebo State Park

Mount Nebo State Park is located just 5 miles west of Dardanelle in the mountains of west-central Arkansas. It is a wonderful place to visit for an outdoor getaway, weekend retreat, or day trip (if you’re in the surrounding area).

Take a scenic drive around the park, watch wildlife, and take photos of the majestic sunrises and sunsets.

Day 1:

  • Check in to the campsite (or your cabins)
  • Set up camp
  • Drive around the park to get acquainted with where Sunrise Point, Sunset Point, and some of the trailheads are (image of the map below)
  • Have a camp dinner
  • Drive to the Sunset Point Overlook to enjoy the views and take photos along the rocky bluffs

Day 2:

  • Wake up early and catch the sunrise at Sunrise Point
  • Have camp breakfast
  • Head towards the Visitor Center to hike to Nebo Springs along the Rim Trail and Nebo Steps Trail (more on hiking below)
  • Hike to Nebo Springs or mountain bike one of the trails along the Monument Trail System
  • Come back to camp to refill your water bottles and snacks or have lunch.
  • Head back out to hike to the Gum Springs and see the waterfall
  • After hiking, head to the Visitor Center for ice cream and to enjoy the views of Lake Dardanelle and watch for deer
  • Back to camp – enjoy the evening at camp (there is also a pool)
Mount Nebo Visitor Center porch

Things To Do

Camping at Mount Nebo

Mount Nebo State Park has two different types of camping available: improved as well as backpacking sites.

The improved campsites have running water and electricity (no sewer), while the backpacking (primitive) sites are rustic havens where you can unplug from all your hectic life distractions and hike in.

To ensure availability throughout peak seasons, making reservations in advance is best.

Attention RVers: Large RVs over 24 feet are not allowed at the park – the road is steep, with 18% grades in places and 11 tight switchbacks.

Campground at Mount Nebo State Park

Hiking Trails

The hiking trails range from easy to steep and difficult, with various trails, including forested areas, rocky bluffs, and hills.

You can trek 14 miles of scenic beauty with trails ranging in length anywhere from 0.25-mile all the way up to seven miles long.

Check out this guide on what to wear hiking if you need ideas.

Mount Nebo is a flattop mountain named after the mountain in the Bible by the White family, who built the first home on the mountain. There are natural springs coming out of the mountain with stone enclosures dating back to the early 1800s. Hiking to these springs is popular because of the history of the area.

We hiked to a few of them and have the details to share.

Hiking trails at Mount Nebo State Park

While hiking to the famous springs, the trails are steep.

Some of the trails we hiked down were handcrafted intricately with giant boulders by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the 1930s. These features definitely make for a better experience than what people probably experienced in the 1800s.

Nebo Springs Trail along the Nebo Steps Trail

  • 0.75-mile trip
  • Moderate to difficult – lots of steps
  • Historical spring for the community
  • Intersects Bench Trail – a great hiking and mountain biking trail around the mountain
The historic Nebo Springs

Waterfall/Gum Springs Trail

• .25-mile trip
• Difficult – straight up and straight down
• The rock outcroppings and trail were really neat
• Also, option to connect to the Bench Trail at the bottom near the spring
• Waterfall runs seasonally

The Gum Springs Trail was our favorite. The rock outcroppings were so neat, but the descent was steep!

Other popular trails to hike along are the Bench Trail and Rim Trail.

The historic Gum Springs

Mountain Biking Trails

Mountain biking opportunities are also available. The Monument Trail System offers 25 miles of trails to explore.

Mountain bikers can explore a variety of terrain types. Multiple loops that range from easy to difficult make this perfect for riders of all skill and experience levels.

Arkansas is famous for its world-class mountain biking, and the Monument Trail system has International Mountain Bicycling Association ratings.

Check out the Mt. Nebo Monument Trails mountain biking Facebook page for trail conditions.

Basic overview map of Mount Nebo State Park

Catch a Sunrise or Sunset at the Overlooks

If you’re an early bird or looking for an epic sunset, then the park’s two overlooks are right up your alley. There are two designated points (in different locations) – one for catching sunrises and one for chasing sunsets.

Don’t miss this – Arkansas is known for its incredible sunrises and sunsets.

Sunset Point Overlook

Wildlife Watching

Wildlife viewing in the park offers many opportunities for unique outdoor experiences. Expect to see lots of deer. Be sure to slow down for wildlife when driving along the road.

We saw a toad hiking.

Directions to Mount Nebo State Park

  • Take the Russellville exit off I-40 – exit 81 and take a right at the light for AR-7.
  • Head into Russellville and towards Dardanelle along AR-7 to State Hwy 155.
  • Once you make the left to turn onto State Hwy 155, it is 4.6 miles to the top of Mount Nebo.

Google Maps will get you there.

Mount Nebo State Park Map

Other Questions You May Have While Planning

How much does Mount Nebo cost?

It is free to enter and use the park.

However, visitors do need to pay to camp or stay in the cabins.

How high is Mt. Nebo, Arkansas?

Mount Nebo is located at an elevation of 1,350 feet.

The highest point in Arkansas is Signal Hill at Mountain Magazine State Park.

Does the campground have showers?

Yes, the campground does have a bathhouse (next to the pool) with running water, flushing toilets, and a shower stall.

Does Mount Nebo have cabins?

Yes, visitors can stay in cabins at Mount Nebo if not up for camping.

Is there cell phone reception?

There is some cell phone reception.

Are dogs allowed?

Yes, dogs are allowed at the campground and on the trails. So, bring your fur baby.

In loving memory of Sunny, our dog. Forever in our hearts. Sept. 15, 2007-Aug. 13, 2021.

Is there a pool?

Yes, there is a pool near the campground overlooking the city of Dardanelle.

What is the best time of year to visit?

Mount Nebo State Park is open all year.

Spring: Spring in Arkansas has cooler temperatures, and the forest is beginning to green up. If you don’t love camping and hiking during the summer heat, spring is an excellent time of year to camp and hike.

Summer: Even though Mount Nebo is at a slightly higher elevation, it gets hot and humid. Hike earlier in the day to beat the heat. Tent camp at your own risk. We camp in our Aliner Ranger, which has air conditioning so we were comfortable camping in the summer.

Fall: Fall is always an incredible time of year to be in Arkansas. The color of the fall foliage is a treat, and camping and hiking in the crisp air are more comfortable.

Winter: Be sure to check weather conditions before driving to the top to hike in the winter. The road to the top is steep with sharp turns. It does get cold here in the winter, so be sure to pack the appropriate layers to hike.

Views from the top of Mount Nebo

Is the park crowded?

We visited during the middle of the week in July, and there were no crowds. The campground and trails were empty.

We always find that camping in the middle of the week is a great way to secure a campsite and beat any crowds.

When in doubt, be sure to make reservations in advance. Most state park campgrounds in Arkansas fill up fast on the weekends (Friday through Sunday).

We hope you have a wonderful trip.

Ashlee & Pablo

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Ashlee Fechino

Ashlee Fechino is an outdoor recreation and travel writer sharing the best-kept secrets that aren’t in your typical guidebook. Her goal is to inspire people to travel with a sense of adventure by sharing hidden gems across the U.S. and beyond. She is married to an expat Argentine, Pablo. They camp in their Aliner often and love wandering the world. Follow their latest adventures on Instagram @thehappinessfxn.


  1. Shelbs on September 14, 2021 at 1:06 pm

    I feel like it’s so rare that a visitors center has epic views like that!? We’re hoping to head to Arkansas for our anniversary and camping soon so definitely saving your guide. We had Mount Nebo on the list already but these are great tips!

    • Ashlee Fechino on September 14, 2021 at 1:27 pm

      Hi Shelbs! Thanks for commenting. An anniversary trip to Arkansas sounds perfect. Have fun!

  2. Cristina Sala on September 2, 2021 at 7:53 am

    Ashlee y Pablo
    me encanto la visita a Mount Nebo. Lugar cercano a vuestra vivencia en Oklahoma
    Los Manantiales . Los amaneceres y atardeceres en Arkansas,
    Bellisimo el lugar.

    • Ashlee Fechino on September 3, 2021 at 7:12 pm

      Hola Cristina, gracias por leer y comentar. Esperamos que pueda visitarnos algún día. Te amamos.

  3. Shelley on September 2, 2021 at 7:41 am

    i have had Mt. Nebo on my bucket list for some time! i can’t wait to visit, especially the Overlook — the views look amazing.

    • Ashlee Fechino on September 3, 2021 at 7:13 pm

      Hi Shelley! Thanks for commenting. We hope you can make it soon!

  4. Elyse on September 1, 2021 at 6:24 pm

    This looks like so much fun! Thanks for sharing so much detail

    • Ashlee Fechino on September 3, 2021 at 7:13 pm

      Thanks for reading! We hope you are having a nice summer.

  5. Burt Randall on September 1, 2021 at 5:41 pm

    I would like to hike these sometime…sounds like fun !!

    • Ashlee Fechino on September 3, 2021 at 7:14 pm

      Hi Uncle Burt! You’d love seeing Arkansas! Thanks for reading. Sending you love.

  6. Brittany on September 1, 2021 at 3:18 pm

    Arkansas is such a hidden gem! I love hiking, so Mount Nebo sounds like somewhere I would love to visit. Thanks for sharing this great guide!

    • Ashlee Fechino on September 3, 2021 at 7:15 pm

      Hi Brittany – We agree! Arkansas is a gem. We hope you can make it to visit Mount Nebo State Park someday.

  7. Trea on September 1, 2021 at 2:56 pm

    Wow, there is so much to do here. I especially love the lookout point! There is no way I could convince my husband to stand there. He is so afraid of heights! It’s so great that it’s free to visit too! I am seeing so many parks charge entry fees. Thanks for such a detailed guide, and for breaking it up by the weekend days too! Very helpful.

    • Ashlee Fechino on September 3, 2021 at 7:16 pm

      Hi Trea! Tell him, “Just don’t look down!” You don’t have to climb to see the lookout points. The access is really easy. It is a treat that Arkansas State Parks are free. It is a beautiful state. Thanks for reading!