There’s something magical about exploring the great outdoors, and I have found my happy place in Northwest Arkansas. I’ve hiked through hidden valleys, climbed up steep mountains, and waded through glistening streams – all in this stunning region that has stolen my heart.
After countless expeditions just over the border, I decided to compile a list of the best hikes in Northwest Arkansas. As an avid adventurer who holds the Ozarks close to my heart, this was a task that truly fueled my passion for nature!
Hiking Trails In Northwest Arkansas – Map
What Should You Bring Hiking?
If you’re planning a hiking trip in North Arkansas, it’s important to be prepared with the right gear and supplies. Here are some essentials to bring along:
- Comfortable and sturdy hiking shoes or boots
- Weather-appropriate clothing (layers are always a good idea)
- Sunscreen and insect repellent
- Plenty of water and snacks
- Map or GPS device for navigation
- First aid kit with essentials like bandages, antiseptic, and pain relievers
It’s also a good idea to let someone know your hiking plans, including where you’ll be going and when you expect to return.
Top Hiking Trails in Northwest Arkansas
Whitaker Point Trail (also named Hawksbill Crag)
If you’re looking for a scenic hike with breathtaking views, look no further than Whitaker Point Trail. This popular hiking trail near Pettigrew, Arkansas is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike.
As you trek along the well-maintained ridge line, prepare to be awestruck by the epic crag jetting out from the mountainside. The views from the bluffs are simply breathtaking, offering a panoramic vista of the Ozark Mountains that will leave you feeling rejuvenated and inspired.
But don’t let the stunning scenery distract you from your surroundings – this trail follows steep cliffs on the ridge line. So it’s important to stay alert and watch your step for safety reasons.
Starting at the Whitaker Point Trailhead off Country Road 5, there’s a small parking area available for hikers. If it fills up, don’t worry – visitors can park along the county road nearby.
Related Reading: Fueling Your Adventure: The Ultimate Guide To Hiking Snacks
As you make your way downhill towards the end of the trail, keep your eyes peeled for a hidden gem in the forest: a small waterfall that glistens in certain times of year. And if you’re lucky enough to visit during autumn, prepare to be dazzled by nature’s vibrant colors that come alive on this trail.
Kings Bluff and Pedestal Rocks
Are you a fan of exploring unique rock formations? If so, make sure to add the Pedestal Rocks and Kings Bluff Scenic Loop to your Arkansas hiking bucket list.
Start your adventure by tackling Kings Bluff first, where you’ll be treated to stunning views of the surrounding mountains and bluffs. From there, head towards the Pedestal Rocks Scenic Area, where hikers can marvel at caves, arches, and other incredible rock formations that are truly a sight to behold. Don’t forget to bring your camera – the geology on display here is simply magnificent.
While the trails are easy to follow, it’s important to watch your step as there are steep ledges and cliffs without railings. But with proper caution and preparation, this hike is an unforgettable experience that’s not to be missed!
North Rim Trail
The North Rim Trail is nestled in the stunning Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas. With Signal Hill, the tallest point in Arkansas, as its centerpiece, this park boasts some of the most spectacular views in the state – and North Rim Trail offers the best vantage point to soak it all in!
There are several trailheads to choose from when embarking on this adventure. You can start at the east end near the Visitor Center or begin on the west end north of the campground. Plus, you have options to hike a loop or one-way – whatever suits your fancy!
Related Reading: Why Eat Salty Snacks When Hiking?
As you trek along the north rim of Mount Magazine, surrounded by cedars and oaks, you’ll encounter three small creek crossings that add an extra element of adventure to your journey. Don’t forget to take a detour onto the small lookout trail to Dill Point and other bluff openings where you’ll be rewarded with jaw-dropping panoramic views of the Arkansas River Valley. And if you’re lucky enough to embark on a clear day, keep an eye out for stunning vistas of Ozarks off in the distance too!
But be warned: while steep bluffs jetting out from the forest offer incredible photo opportunities, hikers should take extra precautions while enjoying these breathtaking views.
Yellow Rock Trail
This trail is perfect for hikers of all skill levels, making it an ideal destination for families, couples, or solo adventurers.
The upper trail winds its way through the forest and follows the ridge line, offering hikers several openings that provide glimpses of the surrounding landscape. But the real treat comes when you reach Yellow Rock Bluff – prepare to be blown away by the breathtaking panoramic views of Lee Creek Valley that await you!
As you trek along this trail, take a moment to appreciate the sounds of nature surrounding you. And if you’re lucky enough to visit on a breezy day like we did, let yourself get lost in the rustling leaves and gentle whispers of the wind.
Once you reach Yellow Rock Bluff, take your time to savor the experience. Soak up the unforgettable smells of the Ozarks while taking in jaw-dropping vistas that are sure to leave lasting memories. Don’t forget to snap some photos too – this is a view worth capturing!
Yellow Rock Trail is one of our favorite hikes in Arkansas, and we’re sure it will become one of yours too.
Seven Hollows Trail
Seven Hollows Trail at Petit Jean State Park! This well-marked trail is a must-visit destination for hikers of all skill levels.
As you embark on this adventure, keep an eye out for signs marking designated areas along the trail, such as The Grotto and Natural Bridge. But it’s not just about the landmarks – the path itself is a wonder to behold, winding through a cool forest with epic rock formations that are sure to leave you in awe.
Be sure to come prepared with plenty of water and snacks if you’re hiking during the summer months when temperatures can soar. However, most of the trail is shaded by the tree canopy, providing a welcome respite from the heat.
And don’t forget your camera! The Seven Hollows Trail offers countless photo opportunities for anyone who loves immersing themselves in nature’s beauty. But perhaps the highlight of this hike is reaching the natural bridge – an incredible feat of nature that makes this one of the neatest hiking trails in all of Arkansas.
Nestled among tree-covered mountains, this trail boasts a crazy rocky overlook that is simply unforgettable. Whether you’re catching the sunrise or sunset, the view from the trail is nothing short of stunning.
And if you’re an avid rock-climber, Sam’s Throne is a haven for Ozarkian climbers, with its rugged face offering several pitches to challenge even the most experienced climbers.
We’ve fallen in love with this craggy mountain and its awe-inspiring overlook, making it a must-visit spot on our hiking trips time and time again.
Rock House Cave
This is one of the shorts Hiking Trails in Northwest Arkansas. Although the hike to the cave is only a short 1/4 mile walk from the parking lot, it’s an experience you won’t soon forget.
As a protected archeological site, Rock House Cave offers visitors a rare glimpse into the past while also providing plenty of opportunities for taking unforgettable photos. And with easy access, this tucked-away gem is perfect for hikers of all skill levels.
But perhaps the most impressive feature of Rock House Cave are the pictographs adorning its ceilings – a true testament to the rich history and culture of this incredible region.
For those looking to make the most of their visit to Petit Jean State Park, we recommend pairing your trip to Rock House Cave with a hike on Bear Cave Trail. Both trailheads are within close driving distance of each other, and both offer shorter day hikes that make them easy to see in one day.
Centerpoint to Big Bluff (Goat Trail)
Located within the Buffalo National River National Park boundaries, this 6-mile hike (out and back) offers stunning views of the Ozark Mountains and one of the tallest bluffs in the area.
But it’s not just the elevation gain that makes this hike so memorable – it’s also famous for its narrow trail along Big Bluff, affectionately nicknamed the “Goat Trail”. And with million-dollar views of the Buffalo River Valley at every turn, you’ll want to be sure to bring your camera along for the journey.
But make no mistake – this is not a hike for the faint of heart. Be sure to come prepared with proper footwear and plenty of water, as well as a sense of adventure and willingness to push your limits.
Lost Valley Trail in Buffalo National River
For hikers seeking easy yet breathtaking hiking trails in Northwest Arkansas, the Lost Valley Trail in Buffalo National River is a must-see destination. With plenty of stunning scenery, unique rock formations, and exciting points of interest to explore along the way, this trail has something for everyone.
The first mile of the trail is a leisurely stroll through a picturesque box canyon, eventually leading hikers to two beautiful waterfalls and an enormous 200-foot bluff shelter. But perhaps the most impressive sight on this hike is Eden Falls – a stunning 53-foot waterfall that will take your breath away.
Hemmed in Hollow Trail in Buffalo National River
One of the tallest waterfalls in mid-America, cascading over 200 feet from the bluffs. Its sheer size is so immense that it’s almost overwhelming to look up at!
While the falls are undoubtedly a sight to behold, reaching them requires a challenging hike along the Hemmed in Hollow Trail from the Compton Trailhead. With significant elevation changes, climbing back up can feel like hiking to the top of the Empire State Building. However, for those who prefer a more leisurely approach, you can also access the falls by floating on the Buffalo National River.
But trust us – it’s worth every step to witness this natural wonder firsthand. And once you reach the river, be sure to take a refreshing swim before beginning your return journey.
This incredible hike typically takes around 4 and a half hours round trip, so be sure to bring plenty of water and snacks and take your time enjoying all that this trail has to offer.