Step Outside - Arkansas WELCOME TO STEP OUTSIDE! Find the best outdoor fun near you! en-us 30 http://stepoutside.org/ Step Outside - Arkansas 144 144 http://stepoutside.org/ https://cdnstep-americantownscom.netdna-ssl.com/img/stepoutside_logo.gif Mon, 16 Jul 2018 15:30:05 -0500 5 Exhilarating Jet Skiing Spots in Arkansas Get ready to race across some of the beautiful waters here in Arkansas! There is an abundance of shimmering lakes across the Natural State just waiting to be explored on the back of a jet ski. Check out these five exhilarating jet skiing spots in the Natural State.

This natural wonder is located in the flat Delta area in southern Arkansas. Formerly a main channel of the Mighty Mississippi, Lake Chicot is now the largest oxbow lake in North America as well as Arkansas largest natural lake. With the Lake Chicot State Park nearby, this spot is perfect for camping after an exhilarating jet skiing adventure.

Lake Hamilton was created back in 1932 when a dam was completed on the Ouachita River. Today this 7,460-acre lake is one of the most popular recreational areas in Arkansas. In addition to jet skiing, folks also enjoy pleasure boating and fishing on this Hot Springs-area lake.

Known as one of the cleanest lakes in America, the 40,000-acre Lake Ouachita is a water sport mecca not just for jet skiing, but for boating, fishing, scuba diving, and much more. Rent your ride from DreamChaser Houseboat & Water Toy Rentals, located right on the lake! 

This 28,370-acre lake is one of the most popular jet skiing spots in the Natural State. Located in the Northwest Arkansas Ozarks, Beaver Lake never fails to provide a beautiful backdrop to any water sport adventure.

This 160-acre mountain lake is a popular recreational spot near Paris, Arkansas. Located in the shadow of Mount Magazine in the Ozark National Forest, Cove Lake is a beautiful spot for a thrilling jet ski ride! 

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5 Best Backpack Camping Spots in Arkansas There are more than a few great spots to camp here in Arkansas. Between the spirit of the Ozarks and the Ouachitas alone, there is so much to take in on these beautiful trails that backpacking often offers the perfect camping experience. Here are five of the most beautiful backpack camping spots in the Natural State. Please remember trail etiquette and only camp within the designated areas…and don’t forget to bring your camera!

Spanning the entire Ozark National Forest, the nearly 210-mile-long Ozark Highlands Trail is often called one of the most scenic trails in the United States. The western terminus (trailhead) of this ultra-popular trail is located at Lake Fort Smith State Park, just north of Mountainburg on US 71. Camping outside of the park’s recreational areas is permitted once visiting backpackers have hiked beyond the first six miles.

At nearly nine miles in length, Pigeon Roost Trail is located within Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area in Northwest Arkansas. You’ll find the trailhead just east of War Eagle Road, also known as Benton County 98. This popular spot is a stacked double-loop trail, with a smaller four-mile loop designated for day hiking and a longer 8.5-mile loop for overnight hiking. Backpackers wishing to camp may do so at one of the five primitive, first-come first-serve, camping sites on a ridge overlooking beautiful Beaver Lake (contact Ranger for availability).

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The popular Ouachita National Hiking Trail, also known as the National Recreational Trail, is located off Highway 300 in Little Rock and is designated for both hiking and backpacking. Although this entire trail is an exhausting 222 miles long, you’ll enjoy a beautiful (and less strenuous!) 2.5-mile stretch in Pinnacle Mountain State Park. The beautiful Ouachita National Hiking Trail will take you along the edge of the Big Maumelle River as well as through some scenic upland forests and rocky hillside areas.

At almost 10 miles in length, this trail offers some of the best hiking in the state for beginning backpackers. Cove Lake Trail, located within Mount Magazine State Park as well as the Ozark National Forest, features a variety of native wildlife and beautiful landscapes, like white-tailed deer and virgin hardwoods. Hunting is allowed inside the Ozark National Forest (where overnight camping is permitted), so visitors need to be aware of the seasons and should wear bright colors when appropriate. 

This awesome trail is located within Cossatot River State Park-Natural Area just south of Mena, Arkansas. The River Corridor Trail is an excellent trail for backpacking as it winds its way through some of the most scenic (and rough!) terrain in the Ouachita Mountains. Visitors are asked to limit camping to these areas: the Ed Banks, the Sandbar, the Cossatot Falls, and the Highway 278 access areas.

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http://stepoutside.org/article/5-best-backpack-camping-spots-in-arkansas http://stepoutside.org/article/5-best-backpack-camping-spots-in-arkansas Tue, 06 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0600
5 Best Fishing Holes in Arkansas The changing seasons and moderate weather here in Arkansas allows us to have some of the best year-round fishing. From streams and rivers to lakes and trout waters, Arkansas’s waters are stocked with a rainbow of fine fish. So, put out your “gone fishin’” sign and head out to one of these great Arkansas fishing holes.

The Arkansas River is a popular location for professional fishing tournaments like Bassmasters. Pools in the Arkansas River, formed by locks and dams, are stocked by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) with bass, crappie, catfish, and other sport fish. Additionally, stripers can be found along the entire 320-mile stretch of the Arkansas River that flows through Arkansas.

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The White River is one of the most popular fishing spots in the Natural State. While the upper section of the White River is swimming with bass, catfish, and sunfish, it’s catfish you’ll find just below Bull Shoals Dam. In recent years, the biggest trout have been caught downstream of the Houseman Access.

Flooded timber in this 29,000-acre lake provides the perfect environment for a variety of fish. Millwood Lake is a popular fishing lake that features bass, crappie, catfish, and bluegills. Millwood Lake is also a host various for fishing derbies and bass fishing tournaments held by local and out-of-state organizations. 

The Spring River is well-known for its stream walleye fishing and also has a reputation for being unique among Arkansas trout waters. Rather than coming from deep within a manmade lake, the cold water in the Spring River comes naturally from a spring. The three-mile stretch from Mammoth Springs to Dam 3 is ideal for those that enjoy fishing from the bank or while wading.

As far as fishing goes, Lake Ouachita is one of the most popular lakes in Arkansas and is well-known for its premier largemouth bass fishing. The deep, crystal-clear waters of Lake Ouachita are also ideal for large stripers, which are often caught by trolling with downriggers. 

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7 Best Spots for Cross Country Skiing in Arkansas 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.

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http://stepoutside.org/article/7-best-spots-for-cross-country-skiing-in-arkansas http://stepoutside.org/article/7-best-spots-for-cross-country-skiing-in-arkansas Tue, 26 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0600
A beginner’s guide: Ice fishing Vin T. Sparano, as excerpted from Complete Outdoors Encyclopedia: Camping, Fishing, Hunting, Boating, Wilderness Survival, First Aid

 

 

Ice fishing differs greatly from open-water fishing, and it is a demanding sport. It requires an understanding of and an ability to cope with winter weather, knowledge of the cold-weather habits of the fish, and the use of an unusual assortment of gear, most of it unique to ice fishing.

There are two basic ice-fishing methods: tip-up fishing and jigging. In general, tip-ups are usually used on larger fish—pike, pickerel, walleyes, trout, and such—that prefer bait and require the angler to play the waiting game. Jigging is usually preferred for smaller fish that tend to school up—bluegills, perch, crappies, and the like. But these are merely generalizations, not hard-and-fast rules. For example, jigging (sometimes called chugging) is often quite productive on big lake trout and salmon in the Great Lakes. 

Also called tilts, these come in various styles, but they all perform two basic functions: they hold a baited line leading from a revolving-type reel spool, and they signal the bite of a fish. The most common type of tip-up consists of three strips of wood, each about 18 inches long. Two are cross pieces that form an X as they span the hole. The third piece is an upright; at its bottom end is attached a simple line-holding spool, while the upper end holds the signaling device. The signal is usually a piece of very flexible spring steel with a red (some anglers prefer black) flag on the end. After the hook is baited and lowered to the desired depth, the steel arm is “cocked”—bent over and down and hooked onto a “trigger.” When a fish strikes, an arm on the revolving spool releases the steel arm and it flies erect.

In this type of tip-up, the reel is positioned underwater. In other variations, the reel is positioned above the ice. Each type has its advantages. The above-the-ice reel can be more sensitively adjusted for light-biting fish, but the line tends to freeze on the reel once it gets wet. The underwater reel largely eliminates the problem of freezing, but the fisherman must remove the tip-up from the hole before he can grab the line.

Baits for tip-up fishing are usually live. In general, it pays to match the size of the bait to the size of the fish you’re after. Baits range from tiny maggots (often called mousies) and grubs for panfish, to worms and small minnows for walleyes, and up to 6-inch baitfish for pike. 

As done by ice fishermen, jigging is simply a method of imparting an up-and-down movement to a lure or bait. Jigging can be—and is—done with any sort of line-holding rod or stick. 

Some jigging rods—more appropriately called sticks—are simply pieces of wood 18 inches or so long, with U-shaped notches in each end. The line—10-pound-test monofilament is very popular—is wound lengthwise onto the stick around the U-shaped notches and is paid out as needed. There are other types of jigging sticks of varying designs, and many ice anglers use standard spinning or spincast rods or the butt half of a fly rod. 

Rods made specially for ice jigging are simple affairs consisting of a fiberglass tip section that is 2 or 3 feet long seated in a short butt. The butt may have a simple revolving-spool reel or merely a pair of heavy-wire projections around which the line is wound. The tip section may have two to four guides, including the tip guide. The shortness of such a rod lets the user fish up close to the hole and have better control over the lure or bait at the end of his line. 

There are many and varied jigging lures and baits, but flashiness is built into most of them. Others produce best when “sweetened” with bait. Two popular jigging lures are: an ungainly looking critter with a heavy body shaped and painted to resemble a baitfish, a hook at each end and a treble hook in the middle of its underside, and a line-tie ring in the middle of its upper surface; and a long, slim, three- or four-sided, silvery model with a treble hook at one end and a line-tie ring at the other. 

Jigging methods vary with the fisherman and with the fish being sought. However, a productive way to fish many jigging lures, especially flashier types, is to twitch the lure slightly and then jerk it suddenly upward with a quick upward movement of the arm. The proper interval between jerks is learned with experience. 

Popular jigging baits include a single perch eye (either impaled on a small hook or used to sweeten a tiny hair or rubber-bodied ice fly), worms, grubs, maggots, insect larvae, minnows, and cut bait (pieces of skin or flesh that are cut from the tail or body of such fish as smelt and perch). 

Jiggers tend to move around more than tip-up fishermen, boring holes in different areas until they find a productive spot. 

Like most other forms of fishing, ice angling requires some auxiliary equipment. Most ice anglers prefer to keep such gear to a minimum, for they have to haul it with them wherever they go on the ice. 

If you’re going to fish through holes in the ice, you need something to make those holes. The ice auger is a popular tool for this job. Augers come in different designs. One has a long handle with a U-shaped bend at the top, and a rounded cutting blade at the bottom. The handle is turned much like that of a manual drill, and the blade cuts a round hole through the ice. Another type looks like a giant ice drill with sharp, widely spaced threads. It is used in the same way. Gasoline-powered ice drills are also available. 

Then there’s the ice spud or chisel. This is a heavy metal handle with a large, chisel-type blade at the bottom. The spud’s weight helps the angler punch down through the ice, but the user must shape the hole once he has broken through. 

An indispensable item of accessory gear is the ice skimmer, a ladle-type device that is used to keep the hole clear of ice chips and chunks and to skim ice. A heavy sinker will serve the same purpose. 

Many ice anglers like to use an attached spring clip. It is attached to the fishing line and used to determine the water depth—an important factor because in winter most game fish are found on or near the bottom. 

Winter is the time of year when ice fishermen venture out onto frozen waters. Most will have fun, but a few will get into trouble because they don’t know how to make sure that the ice is safe. The first rule is never take chances. There are two periods when accidents are likely to happen: early in the season when slush ice doesn’t freeze uniformly and late in the season when ice melts at an uneven rate. It takes prolonged periods of freezing to make ice safe. Here are some rules to remember: 

Be cautious of heavy snowfalls while ice is forming. Snow acts as an insulator. The result is a layer of slush and snow on top of treacherous ice. 

Clear, solid river ice is 15 percent weaker than clear lake ice. 

River ice is thinner midstream than near the banks. 

River mouths are dangerous because currents create pockets of unsafe ice. 

When walking with friends, stay 10 yards apart. 

Lakes that have a lot of springs will have weak spots of ice. 

 

 

 

 

About the author:

Vin T. Sparano is the author of Complete Outdoors Encyclopedia as well as three other guides for Rizzoli

He has been an outdoor editor and writer for more than fifty years. He is editor emeritus of Outdoor Life, and has written and edited more than fifteen books about the outdoors. In 2013, he was inducted into the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame.

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10 Best Archery Outfitters in Arkansas Whether you’re an experienced bow hunter or a sport archer who targets bullseyes on the range, you need the right gear. From equipment like sights and broadheads to services like bow tuning and string replacement, when you’re looking for archery gear in Arkansas, these are our favorite places to get it.

Ingram Archery Supply and Tackle is a family-owned and operated business that’s furnished the Quitman community with all its archery needs for years. In addition to sales, the shop offers first-class service, including bow tuning and string replacement. There is also a 3D archery range on premises.

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Folks in the tristate Texarkana area need look no farther than Archery Outfitters Pro Shop for their bowhunting and archery gear. The 10,000-square-foot store boasts the area’s best selection. A knowledgeable staff will help you find what you’re looking for and even point you to the shop’s indoor range, where you can put your new gear to use.

Better Outdoors Archery & Bowfishing can help you find a compound bow or crossbow—and even outfit it for fishing, if you’re so inclined—as well as arrows, sights or just about any other archery gear you need. The shop also offers tuning and repair services and has an indoor range where you can practice your skills. 

12 Ring Archery is a full-service pro shop that is a dealer for several of the top archery brands. In addition to bow sales and service, the shop sells arrows, sights, releases, and other accessories. They also have a range with 3D targets, where they host regular shooting events.

Slingin’ Arrows, in El Dorado, has just about everything an archer would need. The shop sells bows, arrows, and gear. They also offer archery lessons, can tune your bow, or repair your gear. The shop has an indoor range where they host leagues and tournaments, as well.

Folks in Tumbling Shoals look to Neshoba Archery for the best gear and service in the area. As one customer says, “Hands down the best bow shop… No need to go to any other bow shop.” They sell bows and accessories, offer service and advice, and have a range where you can practice. 

Archer’s Advantage is the place where capital city archers can find the gear they need. From traditional longbows and recurves to compound bows and cross bows, they’ll likely have what you’re looking for. The shop also offers a full menu of bow and arrow services, including custom fletching, as well as an indoor range.

#recurve #100HappyDays

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Pinpoint Archery prides themselves on the skills and depth of knowledge of their pro staff. In addition to sales of new and used equipment, Pinpoint also offers an array of services, including bow tuning and repair, arrow repair and customization, and string replacement. The shop also has a range.

If you lean more toward traditional—or even primitive—archery, Pine Hollow Longbows is the spot for you. Whether you’re looking to build your own bow, and need supplies and/or knowledge, or want to order a custom bow, Pine Hollow can help you out. 

If you need a bag of ice, some snacks, and some archery equipment, Mt. George Archery & Quick Stop is the place to go. The shop has been in business more than a dozen years and can offer the depth of knowledge that only experience provides.

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http://stepoutside.org/article/10-best-archery-outfitters-in-arkansas http://stepoutside.org/article/10-best-archery-outfitters-in-arkansas Fri, 22 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0600
10 Best Bait and Tackle Shops in Arkansas From the huge brown trout in the White River to Norfork Lake’s hard-fight striped bass and whatever you can pull out of the Mississippi, there’s a whole lot of fishing to be done in Arkansas. And unless you’re noodling, you’ll need the right gear. These are our favorite bait and tackle shops in Arkansas.

Hook Line & Sinker Outdoors has two locations, one in Rogers and one in Bentonville. They carry many top fishing brands and a deep selection of rods, reels, and tackle, as well as both live and artificial baits. They’re also active in the local community, hosting or sponsoring events like fishing tournaments.

No matter what you’re targeting in Arkansas fisheries—from bass and trout to catfish and panfish—you’ll find the gear you need at Rock Springs Tackle. In addition to carrying a full line of rods, reels, baits, and tackle from top and popular brands, the shop can alo repair your rod or reel.

Our New, Top Water Spook check us out at Rock Springs Tackle in Harrison, Arkansas

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Fly anglers chasing the rainbows or massive brown trout in Arkansas’ many awesome fisheries can find the flies and gear that they need at the Ozark Angler’s two locations: Heber Springs and Little Rock. They’ve been helping put fly anglers on the fish since 1989. 

A panoramic view of the store today. We are ready for you this holiday!!!

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While they carry products most any angler will need, Fish’N Stuff has specialized in helping bass hunters pull hogs out of Arkansas lakes and rivers since 1987. Whether you’re a newbie or a tournament veteran, this shop probably has the gear and tackle you’re looking for.

Combo game strong 💪 #lews #machII #LaserMG #machcrush #fishnstuff

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If you need live bait—from minnows and nightcrawlers to crickets—jigs, soft baits, rods, or reels, Lisa’s Bait Shop can hook an angler up. As one customer said, Lisa’s has the “[b]est bait around, and can’t beat the prices. I won’t buy any fishing gear anywhere else.”  

BMT—“Bass Mafia Tackle”—Outdoors was formed by five enthusiastic anglers who wanted to build a tackle store that offered the best products so that local anglers could go out and catch fish. They’re happy to help everyone from bass pros to recreational anglers. The shop also regularly sponsors school fishing teams and bass clubs.

Found the bait of the week.

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From live bait to bowfishing, Bald Knob Bait Shop has what anglers need to hit Lake Bald Knob, Greers Ferry Lake, or the Little Red River. Whether you’re need a rod, some fishing line, a swimbait, or just some advice about where the crappies are biting and what they’re hitting, Bald Knob Bait can help you out.

Whether you’re looking to catch a catfish or just take home a fried catfish dinner, complete with cole slaw and hushpuppies, Point Cedar Grocery can accommodate you. So grab some minnows or nightcrawlers, a cup of coffee, a gallon of milk, and hit the water.

Before you hit the Arkansas River, if you need a fishing rod or a fishing license, a stringer or sinkers, you’ll find it at Creel-Outdoors in Lavaca. They can even hook you up with snacks, ice, and marine supplies. Heck, they even rent U-Hauls if you find yourself in need of a truck or trailer.

Folks who want to buy or rent (if you’re in town for a fishing trip or tournament) pro-level fishing equipment need only visit Geared in Hot Springs, to find what you’re looking for. In addition to rods and reals, they also carry hard and soft baits and sponsor a pro bass fishing team.

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http://stepoutside.org/article/10-best-bait-and-tackle-shops-in-arkansas http://stepoutside.org/article/10-best-bait-and-tackle-shops-in-arkansas Fri, 22 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0600
6 Best Ice Skating Rinks in and Around Arkansas Whether it’s Learn-To-Skate programs or stick time, the local rinks in Arkansas and right across the border in neighboring states have plenty of opportunity to hone your skills. When winter rolls around, nothing is quite like putting on a pair of skates and hitting the ice. Here are the best ice skating rinks in and around Arkansas. 

Hit the ice rink at Arkansas Skatium, and you’ll feel more like you’re in Regina than in Little Rock. They offer broomball, hockey, figure skating, and of course, public free skating. You can also take ice skating lessons and learn to play hockey at the Skatium.

fall count : lanie-1 montana-1 ashe-3 #iceskating #funfunfun ❄️💙

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From November to January, folks in the Bentonville area can find ice at Lawrence Plaza. The Rink offers skate rental and special events like “Frosty Flix,” where you can enjoy a movie after skating. Group and private ice skating lessons are also available while the Rink is open.

When you think of Arkansas, you probably don’t think about the sport of curling—unless you’re a frequent visitor to the Jones Center, where you can learn and compete on the ice. But you don’t have to curl to enjoy the Ice Arena, you can skate, figure skate, or take lessons to learn how.

If you live in southeast Arkansas and are itchin’ to put on the skates, head across the river to the Mid-South Ice House in Olive Branch, Mississippi. This year-round facility is an NHL-size rink that’s home to a skating and open to public skating. It’s a great place to practice your figure skating or hockey moves, as well.

Folks in Fayetteville have another ice skating option if they make the quick trip to Tahlequah, Oklahoma. The Snowflake Ice Rink is 7,000 square-feet of ice that’s open to the public from November until January. The rink is also the centerpiece of the annual Snowflake Winter Festival in downtown Tahlequah.

Skaters in North Central Arkansas can head across the border and hit the ice year-round at Mediacom Ice Park in Springfield, Missouri. You can take lessons, figure skate, or simply enjoy skating around the ice during public skate times at this indoor arena. 

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5 Energizing Hikes in Arkansas From the Ouachita Mountains to the Ozarks, there’s plenty of magnificent, rustic terrain to be explored in Arkansas. These moderate trails will get your heart pumping and take you through a variety of incredible landscapes. Here are five energizing hikes to enjoy in the state. 

If you’re looking for a hike with scenic views of the ancient geology of the Arkansas Ozarks, then the Pedestal Rocks Loop Trail is the one for you. This trail gets its name from the amazing limestone columns scattered throughout the area. As well as numerous shelters and caves, these columns have been formed from natural weathering and look like large pedestals. Prepare to spend at least 2-3 hours as you hike the roughly 2.5-mile Pedestal Rocks Loop Trail.

This moderate Northwest Arkansas trail is one of the most popular in the state. The natural Lake Fayetteville Trail is 6.9 miles of soft surface, while the paved multi-use trail is 5.5 miles. Because this is a multi-use trail, hikers should expect to share the ground with bikers, runners, and walkers. The plant and wildlife views on the Lake Fayetteville Trail are so exhilarating that you’ll want to bring your camera to capture the memories.

Covering more than 10 miles, the Sunset Trail is the longest trail in Hot Springs National Park. So long, in fact, that most visitors break up this scenic hike into three sections. You’ll experience a variety of terrain on the Sunset Trail as it crosses through the park’s remote areas as well as its highest point of elevation. As if this trail wasn’t energizing enough on its own, there are also two beautiful spurs for you to explore: Balanced Rock Trail and Fordyce Peaks Trail.

Located near Caddo Gap, Montgomery County’s Eagle Rock Loop is an energizing hike that is almost 30 miles-long. Eagle Rock Loop is actually made up of three smaller trails: the Athens-Big Fork, Little Missouri, and Viles Branch Trails. Experienced adventurers love the beauty of the Ouachita sights that can be seen from this trail. Caution should be taken when hiking Eagle Rock Loop at spots where it crosses the Little Missouri River, as flash-flooding can make water levels extremely dangerous.

Set aside at least four hours to hike Seven Hollows Trail in the beautiful Petit Jean State Park. This energizing trail takes hikers on a scenic journey through a system of small caverns as it passes through a forest of hardwoods. Seven Hollows Trail is 4.5 miles in length and also features a breathtaking waterfall.

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5 Stunning Foliage Hikes in Arkansas The Natural State puts on a special show of color come autumn. To fully experience the beauty of these painted landscapes with palettes of orange, red, and yellow, strap on your hiking boots and head outdoors. Enjoy the rainbow of ever-changing leaves on these five stunning hikes in Arkansas.

This popular trail is known by two different names: Hawksbill Crag Trail and Whitaker Point Trail. Despite the name you call this stunning trail, it is a great hike for everyone and ends at one of the most photographed points in Arkansas. Hawks Bill Crag stretches hundreds of feet tall and has long-served as an amazing spot to explore. The trail itself is decorated with the natural beauty of the Ozarks. From forest to wildflower, your eyes will feast on the rich, wonderful colors that Arkansas is famous for.

Perhaps one of the most well-known hiking trails in the state of Arkansas, there is never a bad time to hike Lost Valley. Wildflower and medicinal plant folklore enthusiasts greatly enjoy this trail as it features a wide variety of species, including crested iris and Ozark trillium. The waterfalls in Lost Valley run best after a rain, but it’s as beautiful in the cooler months as it is in the spring.

You’ll experience nature and adventure at historic White Rock Mountain, in the Ozark National Forest. This majestic mountain stretches 2,260-feet above sea level, providing visitors with breathtaking scenic views. White Rock is a center for multiple national forest hiking trail systems, including the 1.5-mile loop around the rim of the mountaintop.  

Spanning 192 miles, the Ouachita National Recreational Trail is the longest trail in the Ouachita National Forest. Elevations on this trail range from 600 to 2,600 feet as it passes through forested mountains, valleys, and clear-running streams. 

Tanyard Creek Nature Trail is loop trail near Bella Vista. Best used from April until November, this dog-friendly trail features a waterfall and is good for all skill levels.

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http://stepoutside.org/article/5-stunning-foliage-hikes-in-arkansas http://stepoutside.org/article/5-stunning-foliage-hikes-in-arkansas Tue, 03 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0500
5 Perfect Fall Camping Spots in Arkansas For a picturesque, pine-scented, foliage-painted camping experience, head to Arkansas for a fall camping getaway. With awe-inspiring views of the transforming landscapes, autumn in Arkansas is an experience that you’ll remember for a lifetime. Here are five perfect fall camping spots in the Natural State. 

One of the most popular activities at this naturally beautiful state park is camping. The campgrounds at Petit Jean State Park feature a total of 125 reservable campsites that are divided into four campground areas. Each area includes a modern bathhouse with hot showers and flush toilets. Folks who don’t own camping equipment can take advantage of the parks four rent-a-yurts that are available year-round. Petit Jean is Arkansas’ only state park with its own airport, so if you happen to be an aviation enthusiast you will enjoy the airport’s fly-in campground that features five amenity-filled tent sites.

What was once a thriving river port in the 1800s is now a beautiful, sprawling state park. At the park, you’ll find 20 Class A campsites with water and electric, a standard pavilion, picnic sites, playground, and the beautiful Tunstall Riverwalk Trail. 

This 291-acre state park in the Arkansas Delta is one of the most popular state parks in the Natural State. Just north of Jonesboro, or just west of Paragould, Crowley’s Ridge offers 18 Class B and eight tent campsites. Campers can enjoy the park’s picnic areas, trails, and baseball field, as well as exploring the native log and stone structures.

The fall sights, smells, and sounds of Daisy State Park can’t be beat. Choose from Class A, Class B, Class D (tent), and rent-a-yurt sites year-round at this state park. The centerpiece of this park is Lake Greeson, a shimmering, clear water, 7,000-acre lake. Enjoy bird watching, kayaking, fishing, and a cozy campfire to finish off the day. 

The meeting point of the West Gulf Coastal Plains and East Arkansas’ Mississippi Delta region, the 2,000 acres of Cane Creek State Park are a sight to behold. This is a great campsite for guided walking, biking, kayaking, and bird watching. Enjoy picnic sites, a screened-in pavilion, a visitor center with exhibits and a gift shop, a playground for the kids, and so much more. 

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http://stepoutside.org/article/5-perfect-fall-camping-spots-in-arkansas http://stepoutside.org/article/5-perfect-fall-camping-spots-in-arkansas Mon, 02 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0500
5 Cool Rock Climbing Spots in Arkansas Get ready to experience Arkansas from an angle you’ve never seen before. The best way to enjoy the Natural State’s natural beauty is by climbing it. Across Arkansas, you’ll find a variety of excellent rock climbing spots to truly challenge your abilities. From sandstone sport climbing to top-notch bouldering, here are the five coolest rock climbing spots in the state. 

A real Arkansas dude ranch! Well-known in the climbing community as a great destination for some of the finest sandstone sport climbing, the certified and experienced guides at Horseshoe Canyon Ranch will show you the ropes. This place has been featured in multiple outdoor magazines as one of the best climbing areas east of the Rockies. From the beginner just starting out to the repelling expert, HCR has routes available for all skill levels.

Sam’s Throne, located up on Mt. Judea, is a popular spot for rock climbing, hiking, and more. Top roping is popular here at Sam’s Throne, which features climbs that range from short bouldering up to 75-foot pitches to challenge all skill levels. 

With some routes reaching near 200 feet, Red Rock Point is one of the tallest established climbing areas in the state of Arkansas. Access to these red sandstone walls is tricky so use caution in your approach (do not try to access from the top!). Red Rock Point towers above the valley, just north of the Sam’s Throne area.

At 2,753-feet high, Mount Magazine is the highest point in Arkansas, making it a dramatic location for technical rock climbing. Traditional Arkansas bouldering, sport climbing, and rappelling is allowed in a designated area on the mountain’s south bluff that overlooks the Petit Jean River Valley. 

This indoor rock climbing center is one of the best places in the Central Arkansas area to find extreme fun and a great alternative to the average workout. The Little Rock Climbing Center features over 5,000-square-feet of 30-foot high textured walls with angles for all skill levels.

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5 Gorgeous Beach Campsites in Arkansas The Natural State affords some seriously stunning spaces in nature. To immerse yourself in its wonder, consider reserving a lakeside campsite. Arkansas’ excellent waterfront campsites allow you to fall asleep to the sound of water gently lapping against the beach. Spend the night star gazing, watching as the moonlight twinkles against the shimmering water. Does it get more heavenly than that? Here are five gorgeous waterfront campsites in the state. 

Nestled in the natural beauty of the Ouachita Mountains, Lake Catherine State Park is a gorgeous spot for lakeside camping. This popular 1,940-acre Diamond Lake in West-Central Arkansas features CCC/Rustic-style facilities constructed of native stone and wood in the 1930s. Lake Catherine State Park features 20 cabins with fully-equipped kitchens and most have wood-burning fireplaces. 

Lake Dardanelle is an expansive, 34,300-acre reservoir on the Arkansas River that is surrounded by the natural beauty for which the Arkansas River Valley is known. Lake Dardanelle offers two areas on the lake: one park site is at Russellville and the other is located at nearby Dardanelle. You’ll find great camping sites at both of these locations. The Russellville site also features a 10,527-square-foot visitor center on the lakeshore that overlooks Lake Dardanelle. 

Located just a short drive from America’s Spa City of Hot Springs, Lake Ouachita State Park is a gateway for water sports and camping. Lake Ouachita, named one of the cleanest lakes in America, is surrounded by the breathtaking Ouachita National Forest. The pristine waters of this 40,000-acre lake form the largest manmade lake within Arkansas’ borders. Lake Ouachita State Park campgrounds feature 58 Class AAA, 23 Class D, and 12 walk-in tent sites. 

Lake Wedington is well-loved among visitors who want to kick back and fish the day away, race along well-maintained bike paths, or stay overnight in a lakeside cabin. The space offers multiple cabins and other campsites, as well as picnic areas dotting the edge of the lake. This will make for a memorable camping experience. 

Lake Charles State Park features 23 Class AAA and 37 Class B campsites, two rent-an-RV sites, and one rent-a-yurt site. The proximity to picnic sites, hiking trails, a standard pavilion, swimming beach, and playground area for the kids, make this a great site for the whole family. During the summer months, guests can choose from a variety of interpretative programs including guided kayak tours and barge lake tours. 

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Vladimir Simovic/Shutterstock.com http://stepoutside.org/article/5-gorgeous-beach-campsites-in-arkansas http://stepoutside.org/article/5-gorgeous-beach-campsites-in-arkansas Tue, 05 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0500
5 Amazing Dirt Motorcycle Trails in Arkansas Whether you’re a novice or an expert, it’s important to know where to find the best stretches of trail to unleash your inner dirt bike devil. So, get your motor runnin’ and head out to one of these amazing dirt bike trails in Arkansas!

Your Ouachita Mountain dirt bike adventure begins right here! The Wolf Pen Trail near Mena is one of the most popular ATV trails not only in Arkansas, but also in the country. This area boasts 42 miles of marked, looped trails, and features some unique attractions such as a few abandoned mines and a two-footed oak tree. Wolf Pen is open year-round except during hunting season.

Since 1989 the Gamble family has owned and operated Mack’s Pines, “your Trailriding Headquarters of the Ozarks.” Here you’ll find 40 miles of marked trails and an additional 1,000 miles of unmarked trails, all for your dirt biking pleasure. 

For just $3 per vehicle per day, riders can enjoy this great trail in the Ozark National Forest. Mill Creek OHV Trail leads riders through some spectacular mountain terrain with views worth writing home about. Add in the beautiful surrounding hardwood forests and clear mountain streams and you’ve got yourself the perfect scene for a great dirt bike ride. 

The Fourche Mountain Trail is a free trail in the Ouachita National Forest. Riders can enjoy amazing views of Fourche Mountain and Buck Knob as well as other views of the beautiful Arkansas Ouachita Mountains. Difficulty levels on this trail vary from very easy to quite difficult. 

One of the most popular spots in Arkansas for all things off-road is Sandtown Ranch, which is 1,800 privately-owned acres of dirt bike heaven. Sandtown Ranch is open year-round and features awesome attractions like a cave with an underground river and waterfall. Riders of all levels enjoy this trail for many reasons including its numerous creek crossings. 

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5 Beautiful Scenic Hikes in Arkansas In Arkansas, scenic landscapes are abundant. You’ll find beautiful hiking spots just about anywhere that your feet touch the ground here in the Natural State. So, get out your walkin’ sticks and hiking boots while you check out our picks for five of the most beautifully scenic spots to hike in the Natural State.

This moderately traveled scenic hike is a 3.5-mile looped trail near Yellville, Arkansas. The Indian Rockhouse Trail features a waterfall, stream, and winds itself across the beautiful Arkansas landscape and hills. Open year-round, this self-guided hike offers a variety of activity options, including the Indian Rock House Cave which used to shelter prehistoric Native Americans.

This six-mile round-trip trail offers beautiful views of the Buffalo National River as well as a geologic experience like no other. Just like its name implies, at 550-feet tall, Big Bluff is BIG! So big, in fact, that it is the tallest sheer bluff face between the Appalachian and Rocky Mountains. Hikers should exercise extreme caution while experiencing this scenic hike, as it can be hazardous in certain areas. 

The popular looped North Rim Trail is located in the beautiful Mount Magazine State Park near Paris, Arkansas. This trail follows the north rim of Mount Magazine (hence the name) to where it reaches Cameron Bluff Overlook Drive. Accessible year-round, North Rim Trail features fantastic wild flowers and is a great spot for bird watching. 

The Eagle Rock Loop Trail is a 26-mile scenic hike located near Caddo Gap, Arkansas, in the beautiful Ouachita National Forest. This lightly-trafficked loop trail, the longest in Arkansas, is only recommended for the very experienced adventurer. Eagle Rock Loop Trail is probably the best location in Arkansas for a multi-day backpacking trek.

Best traveled from March to October, this six-mile out and back trail on the Buffalo National River features the breathtaking, single-drop Hemmed-In Hollow Waterfall. The strenuous Hemmed-In Hollow Trail is much better suited for experienced hikers rather than for children or folks who tire easily. All hikers are urged to bring water and a snack as they embark on this 4-5-hour hiking adventure.

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IrinaK/Shutterstock.com http://stepoutside.org/article/5-beautiful-scenic-hikes-in-arkansas http://stepoutside.org/article/5-beautiful-scenic-hikes-in-arkansas Wed, 09 Aug 2017 00:00:00 -0500