By Trent Jonas
Enterprising cross-country skiers across the northern part of Arkansas have plenty of opportunity for a truly beautiful adventure. With all of the Natural State’s mountains, forests, and stunning scenic spaces, you’re in for a real treat. Here are the seven best cross-country skiing spots in Arkansas.
The Mountain Home area is one of the few spots in Arkansas that sees an average annual snowfall in the double digits. And when the flakes start coming down, folks can grab their skis and hit the David’s Trail system along beautiful Lake Norfork.
The Hidden Diversity Multi-Use Trail cuts through 24 miles of Hobbs State Park Conservation Area in extreme Northwestern Arkansas. This area can sometimes see considerable snowfall—in 2011, a single storm dumped 24 inches on the region—which is good news for Nordic skiers. The trail itself, which is named for the diversity of landscape and wildlife it traverses, is wide enough to accommodate skiers for most of its length.
Named for an old Civilian Conservation Core road, Old Road Trail is five miles of wide, rolling track that comes close to circumnavigating Devil’s Den State Park. When there’s snow, cross-country skiers who hit this Northwest Arkansas trail will be treated to a spectacular vista from Yellow Rock.
Huckleberry Mountain Horse Trail, in spite of its name, is a 34-mile multi-use trail that starts in Mount Magazine State Park. The trail is an a old wagon road, so it’s nice and wide, but it does have 200 feet of vertical drop between the horse camp and the highway—tough, but not insurmountable for a skier. Its location near the highest peak in Arkansas, Mount Magazine, means that the chances for winter snow are good in this part of the state.
The Eureka Springs area not only has 25 miles of wooded, multi-use trails around its spring-fed lake, it also happens to get more snow than any other place in Arkansas. So, Nordic skiers hoping for a snow day would do well to keep on the weather in Eureka Springs.
Just south of Mountain Home, the Lower Buffalo Wilderness is one of the most remote wild places in the state. The Cow Creek-Cook Hollow Trails are old logging roads that carve a 10.5-mile loop into the woods. When there’s snow cover, they offer Nordic skiers an awesome opportunity to explore this gorgeous wilderness.
The Pigeon Creek Trail System is a National Recreation Trail that runs along Lake Norfork. Although the trail is primarily used for hiking and biking, on snow days, cross country skiers would enjoy the portions of the trail that track an old logging road. Watch out for the mile-long downhill (which translates to a mile-long uphill return) on the next trail section, though.