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 Sat, 20 Oct 2018 04:26:22 -0500 Best Places to Fish in the South This Fall Redfish are starting to move inshore and set up at the mouths of bays, inlets and deltas as their annual spawning run commences. The bottom line for fishermen is outstanding fishing from late September through November in the northern Gulf.

Likewise, bass fishing is starting to pick up again as the weather begins to cool. Huge schools of threadfin shad are starting to filter away from open-water ledges into bays and tributaries where feeding conditions and water temperatures are more optimum.

Bass follow the food, first setting up on ledges at the mouths of inlets and creeks to waylay shad, then migrating back toward shallower water to keep up with their quarry.

Fall Script for Southern Bass

Bass rule in Dixie and cooler weather brings out an army of anglers who go after them. Whether largemouth, smallmouth or spotted bass, they’re available in most waters and sometimes all three varieties are present in a fishery, ready to aggravate or gratify those who seek them.

Hot Spots To Fish: When it comes to the South’s best lakes for fall fishing, the big TVA impoundments fit the bill. Because this is bass tournament country, dozens of YouTube videos and Facebook sites of pro anglers offer useful advice on where and how to catch autumn largemouths. Likewise, guide services are plentiful; just Google “fishing guides” for the lake you’re visiting or type in the town nearest the lake you wish to fish on the interactive map on this page.

Tackle You’ll Need: A 7-foot medium/heavy rod such as the St. Croix Premier Cranking, a baitcasting reel like the Abu Garcia Revo Winch and 10- to 14-pound-test monofilament makes a good combination to fish downsized lures.

Quick tip: This is strictly a match-the-hatch deal. Use lures that are about the same size as wandering shad. If young-of-the-year threadfins are on the bass menu, try small swim baits fished on drop-shot rigs.

 

Best Lures/Baits: Shad-colored, shallow- and medium-diving square-billed or coffin-billed crankbaits are autumn standouts. Popular lures include the Strike King 6XD, Bandit 100 or 200, Duo Realis M65, Livetarget Magnum Shad BaitBall Squarebill, Megabass S-Crank, Lucky Craft Squarebill 2.5, Storm Arashi and Rapala Shad Rap.

Fish them around shoreline cover and on the flats between creek drop-offs and the bank. Other fallback baits include spinnerbaits like the Booyah Super Shad, Stanley Vibrashaft and Nichols Pulsator. Good buzzbait options can be found from Lunker Lure, Damiki, Santone and Dirty Jigs.

Rendezvous With Redfish

Along the northern Gulf Coast from Carrabelle, FL, to Grand Isle, LA, the redfish season begins in late September and continues in stages through December. Some anglers fish in the surf with cut bait, while others station themselves on area piers or in boats on relatively shallow flats near channel cuts.

Hot Spots To Fish: For boating anglers, a couple of spots stick out. Pensacola Bay Pass is a must-fish for boaters. Anchor up on the broad flat between old Fort Pickens and the channel, set out lines as the tide changes to incoming, and hang on. Need more help? Redfish University Pensacola Fishing Charters (850-748-4368, redfishuniversity.com) specializes in the big drum.

At Grand Isle, LA, book a trip with Gotta Go Fishing Charters (225-921-3642, gottagofishingcharters.com). The marshes and inshore waters around Venice, LA, are primo redfish haunts as well. Captain Mike Frenette (504-782-0924, laredfish.com or (mike@venicefishing.net) is a top guide here.

Photograph Courtesy of Strike King Lure Company 
Louisiana’s coastal waters are ground zero for the hottest autumn redfish action along the northern Gulf Coast. A variety of natural baits and artificials get the job done.

Tackle You’ll Need: “Rat” reds of 3 pounds and up, or real bruisers weighing in excess of 20 pounds require a range of tackle options. Bass fishing tackle – whether spinning or baitcasting – is perfect for handling smaller fish and for casting jigs or swimbaits that weigh less than an ounce. A Shimano Stradic spinning reel and 7-foot medium-action Shimano Compre rod with 14-pound-test monofilament.

For bigger fish, consider a Penn Battle II BTLII5000 with 20-pound-test monofilament or 40-pound-test braid, and a 30-pound-test fluorocarbon leader. A 7-foot medium-heavy spinning rod (such as the Penn Battalion BATIN1220S70) should handle any bait rigs or lures and wear down a bull redfish in short order.

Quick Tip: Incoming tides in late evening or at night are primo times for reds as the fish free-spawn then in the mouths of coastal bays and estuaries. If you can’t fish any other time, make sure you fish the incoming tides.

 

Best Lures/Baits: Redfish aren’t particular about their dietary requirements and will eat anything from blue crabs to halved mullet. Swimming spoons such as the Johnson Sprite (johnsonfishing.com), swimbaits and jigs or even topwater poppers, such as the Heddon Saltwater Spook, will elicit strikes.

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Photograph Courtesy of Strike King Lure Company Photo By Garrick Dixon Shallow- to medium-running crankbaits probably account for more bass than any other lure in the fall when the fish are on the prowl for shad in feeder creeks and coves. http://stepoutside.org/article/best-places-to-fish-in-the-south-this-fall http://stepoutside.org/article/best-places-to-fish-in-the-south-this-fall Thu, 11 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0500
10 Best Outdoor Fall Activities in Arkansas The Natural State is a beautiful place in the fall and what better way to experience it than with some great outdoor activities. From fishing and floating to hunting and hiking, Arkansas offers a variety of outdoor adventures. Check out this list of our favorites.

Get ready for a unique adventure searching for real diamonds! This 37-acre field is the only diamond-producing site in the world that’s open to the public. At the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas, you can search the eroded surface of an ancient volcanic crater for diamonds and other semi-precious stones.

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This great park in Alexander, Arkansas, features 24/7 access to a variety of ATV obstacles, trails, and more. With a goal of providing a safe place for the Central Arkansas community to ride and play in the mud together, Carter Off-Road Park was established back in 2014. Designed for riders to challenge themselves, there is something for everyone at Carter Off-Road Park.

You’ll find this campground in the Northwest Arkansas Ozark Mountains along the shores of Beaver Lake. With an abundance of spacious campsite and recreational activities, the Beaver Lake Dam Site Campground is one of the best of its kind in the Natural State. While camping, let your eyes feast on the natural caves, beautiful trees, and limestone bluffs.

Cast your nets at one of the most popular fishing spots in the Natural State.  You’ll find some noteworthy catfish on the White River just below the Bull Shoals Dam. On the upper section of this famous river, you’ll find sunfish and bass in addition to catfish. If it’s trout that you’re fishin’ for, you'll be happy to hear that the White River boasts some of the best trout fishing in the world.

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The 151-mile Buffalo is our nation’s first national river and is largely fed by rain. You’ll experience some of the most beautiful scenery in all of Arkansas while paddling the Buffalo National River. For great prices and friendly service, check out Lost Valley Canoe & Lodging. After your trip, stop into Ozark Café for a meal—a true local favorite. 

A beautiful spot in the fall, Devil’s Den State Park is known, in part, for its unique characteristics like caverns and rock formations. This state park features a variety of camping options, like camper cabins and cabins with kitchens and fireplaces. You’ll also find over 130 campsites ranging from Class AAA to Class D.

You’ll find this 650-acre lodging and event resort in the Arkansas Ozark National Forest. Off-roading is just one of the many recreational activities featured around the beautiful Mulberry Mountain. Navigate through one of their many long trails and get lost in the beauty of the red, orange, and yellow trees. 

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The Ozark Mountain Trailblazers Club is a group of outdoor enthusiasts with a mission of making the Ozark Mountains a bigger part of everyone’s lives by bringing people together. By joining together with like-minded hikers and trekkers, you’ll not only enjoy the company of others but you’ll experience the Ozarks through the eyes of education and advocacy. Be sure to come to the Annual Outdoor Rendezvous at the beginning of November. Check out their site page for more information! 

Barnyard Friends & Stables has been serving the Petit Jean Mountain area since 2006. This fun, educational horseback riding venue offers a true family experience, complete with a petting zoo that offers hand-on activity. Saddle up and enjoy 30 or 50-minute trail rides. What a way to soak up the crisp fall air and beautifully rich colors of Arkansas foliage.

The only resort lake state park in Arkansas, DeGray Lake offers a variety of opportunities to enjoy in the fall months. One of the best outdoor fall activities is boating. You’ll find first-class lodging and amenities in which to relax after your boating adventure. From tandem kayaks to a 25-foot barge with a party deck, be sure to check their site for all of the different options available to rent! 

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http://stepoutside.org/article/10-best-outdoor-fall-activities-in-arkansas http://stepoutside.org/article/10-best-outdoor-fall-activities-in-arkansas Tue, 18 Sep 2018 00:00:00 -0500
5 Best Fishing Spots 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 spots.

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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5 Cool Spots for ATV Off-Roading in Arkansas Arkansans understand the need for adventure. Off-roading is the perfect remedy for the thrill bug. If you’re searching for an exciting off-roading experience, check out these five great spots in Arkansas to start your journey. 

Designed for riders to test their limits, there isn’t an obstacle too tough or trail too muddy at this great spot in Alexander, Arkansas. Carter Off-Road Park was established in 2014 to provide a safe place for the Central Arkansas community to ride and play in the mud together. This impressive park features 24/7 access to a variety of ATV trails, obstacles, and more. 

#muddaze2017 😈💜🍇

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The Wolf Pen ATV Campground and Cabins is home to the Wolf Pen Gap Trail. The well-known off-roading spot features 42 miles of loop trails and three trailheads. The scenic trail at Wolf Pen Gap takes riders across Board Camp and Gap Creek and through a mix of forest and rugged areas in the Ouachitas. Although there is no fee to use this trail, donations are accepted at the trailheads. The Wolf Pen Gap Trail is open year-round except in November and December during modern gun season.

This River Valley spot features miles of riding opportunities on 800 acres in the scenic Arkansas Ozarks. Byrd’s Adventure Center is well-known for its off-road play areas that include challenging obstacles, mud pits, and jumps. In addition to the great trails available at Byrd’s ORV Park, riders can also enjoy designated trails in the surrounding Ozark National Forest.

Mulberry Mountain Lodge, located along Highway 23 on the Pig Trail National Scenic Byway, is a great spot for the ultimate ATV getaway. This 650-acre lodging and event resort on Arkansas’ Mulberry Mountain features direct access to many of the Ozark National Forest ATV trails. One of the more popular trails, the Mill Creek Off-Highway Vehicle Trail, features a scenic ride over mountainous terrain in remote areas of the forest. 

The popular ATV trails at the Renegade Ranch feature over 300 acres of hills and forest as well as open spaces adjoining the Ouachita River. Experienced riders may be interested in Renegade Ranch’s extreme trails, the Outlaw Pass and Cougar Canyon. Although guests can rent cabins here, ATVs cannot be rented here, and trail use fees include $5 per ATV for half-day and $10 per ATV for full-day. This area is also well-known for its wealth of arrowheads.

*Note: Age restrictions, special licenses, and other requirements for off highway vehicles vary from state to state. Before heading out on your OHV, please consult your local regulations.

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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 Thu, 30 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0500
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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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, 14 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0500
5 Awesome Campgrounds for Families in Arkansas Camping in Arkansas is as natural as the beauty found throughout the state. With so many great campgrounds, it isn’t hard to find the perfect spot for family camping adventures. Here are a few great picks for family-friendly campgrounds in the state!  

Located in the beautiful Ozark-St. Francis National Forests, just 13 miles west of Fayetteville, the Lake Wedington area is one of the best family-friendly campgrounds in the Natural State. This popular spot features activities such as birding, boating, kayaking, mountain biking, hiking and swimming. Amenities include an accessible fishing dock, boat ramp, cabin rentals, and picnic areas. The picnic pavilion can accommodate up to 75 guests, and the lodge can hold 200 (both of these areas can be utilized during the day). 

Breakfast #noms #eggs #bacon #sausage #coffee #mimosas #camping #campstove #perculator #lit

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The Crater of Diamonds State Park is an obvious choice when it comes to family camping trips in Arkansas. In addition to priceless hidden treasures, this “keep what you find” diamond site also features 47 Class AAA campsites and five walk-in tent sites. Families of all ages enjoy the water park after digging up memories at this campground.

The Lake Dardanelle area, surrounded by the breathtaking scenery of the Arkansas River Valley, is so large that it is divided into two parts. The Russellville and Dardanelle locations offer a total of 74 camping sites, launch ramps, restrooms and bathhouses with hot showers. Guests also enjoy the fishing and hiking opportunities available at Lake Dardanelle State Park.

Located in the beautiful Boston Mountain Range of the Ozarks, Lake Fort Smith State Park has 20 Class AAA and 10 Class B campsites, as well as 10 cabins. This popular spot features hiking trails, a swimming pool, playground, and marina where guests can rent kayaks, pedal boats, and party barges.

Devil’s Den State Park may be best known for its cool caves and hiking trails, but it also features an impressive number of camping spots: 44 Class AAA sites, 12 Class B sites, 13 Class C sites, eight hike-in (tent-only) sites, and more. Visitors should always check cave closings before planning a trip to Devil’s Den State Park.

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5 Awesome RV Campsites in Arkansas When it comes time to break out the RV for a family trip, it’s important to know the best spots to park it. Across Arkansas, you’ll find a variety of excellent campsites with all the amenities you’ll need for a perfect weekend away. Here are our picks for five awesome RV campsites in the Natural State. 

This great RV campsite in Hot Springs is a Kampgrounds of America (KOA) approved location. Tucked away in the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains, the Hot Springs National Park KOA is one of the best RV campsites in the Natural State. Amenities and activities include a pool (open seasonally), fishing, snack bar, mini golf, and more. 

Striving to be the “campsite of choice” in the Ozarks, the Eureka Springs KOA is one of the best RV campsites in Arkansas. Another Kampgrounds of America location, you’ll find full-hook-ups and pull-through sites at this big-rig friendly RV campsite in Eureka Springs. There is a pool open seasonally, as well as firewood and propane available.  

This awesome park is your “home on the road” in the Arkansas Ozarks. Located near Historic Batesville, the Speedway RV Park is a full-service RV lodging facility that features awesome amenities like climate-controlled bathrooms, a laundry room with washer and dryer, an RV dumping station, and much more. Next door to the Speedway RV Park you’ll find a flea market and a gift shop that feature collectibles, antiques, and more. 

Big rigs are welcome here! You won’t have to travel down Arkansas backroads to reach this awesome spot on the White River. The RV campsites at Blue Heron are spacious, level, and most are pull-through. Guests can enjoy fishing and bird watching while taking in the scenic views of the beautiful Ozark Mountains.

This four-acre resort in Jasper offers 20 RV campsites as well as many other amenities including a swimming pool, pavilion, picnic tables, and fire rings. Most sites at the Dogwood Springs Campground Resort feature full hook-ups with 30-amp or 50-amp electrical service. 

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http://stepoutside.org/article/5-awesome-rv-campsites-in-arkansas http://stepoutside.org/article/5-awesome-rv-campsites-in-arkansas Mon, 13 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0500
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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http://stepoutside.org/article/5-energizing-hikes-in-arkansas http://stepoutside.org/article/5-energizing-hikes-in-arkansas Thu, 09 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0500
5 Great Hiking Trails in Arkansas It’s no surprise that the Natural State is home to some of the most sprawling and stunning organic beauty in the country. One excellent way to soak that up is by getting out for a hike with the family when the weather is nice. The immaculate land in Arkansas provides many perfect settings to spend time with the people you care about. Here are five great hiking trails in Arkansas the whole family can enjoy. 

The Withrow Springs State Park in Madison County features three moderate trails: the .75-mile Dogwood Nature Trail, the 1.25-mile Forest Trail, and the two-mile round-trip War Eagle Trail. The Dogwood Trail takes about an hour and is named for the beautiful flowering dogwood trees, making it quite colorful in the springtime. The Forest Trail takes three to four hours, following an old railway on the eastern side of the Withrow Springs State Park. The War Eagle Trail takes about an hour and is named for the scenic river that runs the length of the trail. Whichever trail you decide to take, your family will definitely enjoy being outdoors in this section of the Natural State.

Cassy took all the puns. Keep killin the pun game and the Kamp game, Cass.

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This half-mile trail is perfect for families of all sizes and ages. Although its official name is Twin Falls, this trail is more commonly known as Triple Falls because there are three distinct waterfalls during high water. Those waterfalls, by the way, are 48 feet-tall! Triple Falls is located at Camp Orr Boy Scout Camp just south of Harrison. Dogs are able to use this trail as well, so long as they are kept on a leash.

Triple Fall with meh gurl and the wolfdog, @instasheebz #triplefalls #pnw #wolfdog #columbiagorge

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Located near Mount Judea, Sam’s Throne is a popular spot in the beautiful Ozarks. Although it is mostly known as a rock climbing site, Sam’s Throne is also a well-known destination for photography, camping, and hiking. Overlooking the gorgeous Big Creek Valley below, one look at this view will show you why this spot is so popular. With a variety of trails to hike, Sam’s Throne offers challenges for everyone from beginners to experts.

This beautiful spot is home to Arkansas’ “Castle in the Clouds” and is perfect for family outings. With easy trails like the half-mile Spring Trail and moderate trails like the 1.3-mile Lover’s Leap Trail, Queen Wilhelmina State Park can accommodate even the least experienced hiker. For those interested in a more strenuous hike, check out the 225-mile Ouachita Trail. 

With multiple hiking trails, Hobbs State Park Conservation Area is a great spot for family hikes. Choose between the half-mile Historic Van Winkle Trail, the 1.5-mile Shaddox Hollow Nature Trail, the 24-mile Hidden Diversity Multi-Use Trail, or the Pigeon Roost Trail, a double-stacked loop trail in a figure eight formation. These trails are popular for hiking as well as viewing a variety of plant and animal species.

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Dubova/Shutterstock.com http://stepoutside.org/article/5-great-hiking-trails-in-arkansas http://stepoutside.org/article/5-great-hiking-trails-in-arkansas Wed, 08 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0500
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, 08 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -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 Great Paddleboarding Spots in Arkansas One of the latest trends in water sport adventures involves standing on top of it! Created by Waikiki surfing instructors in Hawaii, stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) is fairly young as far as sports go. Many view SUP as therapeutic and healing as paddlers are connected to water and the nature surrounding them. You’ll find the best spots to paddleboard in Arkansas when you’re rollin’ on our beautiful rivers and lakes. Check out our picks for five of the greatest spots to paddleboard in the Natural State!

Beaver Lake is one of the most popular bodies of water in the Natural State, making it a perfect spot for paddleboarding as well as many other water activities. Formed by a dam across the White River, the 28,370-acre Beaver Lake is a man-made reservoir that is nestled high up in the Ozark Mountains of Northwest Arkansas near Rogers, Arkansas. Check out nearby SUP-Outfitters for rentals, lessons, tours, and more! 

This spot is not only perfect for paddleboarding, but it is also a historic journey that begins in the Boston Mountain region of the beautiful Ozarks. Established in 1972, the 135-mile Buffalo National River in northern Arkansas was our nation’s first national river and is one of just a few remaining free-flowing, undammed rivers in the lower 48 states. 

As the only resort state park in Arkansas, DeGray Lake has much to offer when it comes to water sports. The man-made, 13,400-acre DeGray Lake is one of five “Diamond Lakes” in the Natural State, due to its crystal-clear waters. Formed by a dam across the Caddo River, DeGray Lake is nestled in the ridges of the beautiful Ouachita Mountains in West-Central Arkansas. Rent a stand-up paddleboard for a half day for $15 or $25 for a full day. 

As well as being one of the most popular rivers in the Natural State, the Ouachita is also the 25th longest river in the United States and a great spot for paddleboarding. The 605-mile-long Ouachita River begins on Rich Mountain in the beautiful Ouachita Mountains of Polk and Montgomery Counties.

The 102-acre Lake Wedington is often overlooked when it comes to recreational water sports. This awesome lake is located next to the 424-acre Lake Wedington Recreational Area that was created out of the Great Depression and finished in 1938 by that era’s Works Progress Administration (WPA). Check out Love to Float Outfitters for rentals. Stand-up paddleboard rates are $15 per hour, $40 for a half day, or $60 for a full day. 

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CroMary/Shutterstock.com http://stepoutside.org/article/5-great-paddleboarding-spots-in-arkansas http://stepoutside.org/article/5-great-paddleboarding-spots-in-arkansas Mon, 06 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0500
5 Excellent Places for Beginners to Kayak in Arkansas Kayaking is a great way to get some fresh air and exercise at the same time. Beginners usually look for spots to kayak that have slow-moving waters with few obstacles and courses that are easy to navigate. If you’re feeling particularly uneasy about the start of your adventure, bring along an experienced kayaker to guide the way. Arkansas’ uncommon beauty naturally provides the perfect scenery for any kayaking journey. Here are some great spots for beginners to get their feet wet in Arkansas! 

The well-known 135-mile long Buffalo National River in North Arkansas was the first national river in the U.S. and remains a beautiful place to kayak. These remarkable waters flow out of the Boston Mountains division of the ancient Ozarks, eventually merging with the White River. Although not quite as scenic as some other parts of the river, the 10-mile stretch between Arkansas 7 and Highway 123 offers the perfect spot for beginners and families to kayak, canoe, and float.

See you on the Buffalo, bro

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Flowing through the heart of Ozark country, Big Piney Creek has a reputation for being one of the best float streams in Arkansas. Featuring a mix of recreational opportunities, this classic creek is well-known for its 67-miles of cool, clear, and lively waters. This creek offers kayakers a variety of scenery with differing levels of water movement. Beginners should be aware of the third section of the Big Piney Creek, the Treat to Long Pool float, as the rapids in this section are known by names like “Roller Coaster” and “Cascades of Extinction.”

Beginning at the base of Rich Mountain, the well-known Ouachita River winds itself through the naturally beautiful Ouachita Mountain area. The 10-mile section from Oden to Rocky Shoals Campground at the U.S. 270 crossing is one of the most popular spots on this remarkable stream. Many consider the breathtaking scenery along this section of the Ouachita River to be one of the best views in the Natural State.

The Kings River flows along the Arkansas-Missouri border and offers a unique kayaking experience due to its rich history. The Kings River is so naturally unique that it was the first river in Arkansas to receive governmental protection through legislation passed by the 1971 General Assembly. The most popular kayaking spots on Kings River are the 11-mile stretch from Marble to Marshall Ford and the 15-mile stretch from Marshall Ford to Rockhouse.

my favorite weekend of the year

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This interesting kayak park is a beautiful amenity just south of the city of Siloam Springs that is designed for kayakers to best enjoy rapids between 200 and 600 cubic feet per second. Situated along the beautiful Illinois River, the Siloam Springs Kayak Park features engineered rapids and a shoreline that has been altered in some areas. Unless the waters reach an unsafe level, the park is open all day and is free to all users. 

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marekuliasz/Shutterstock.com http://stepoutside.org/article/5-excellent-places-for-beginners-to-kayak-in-arkansas http://stepoutside.org/article/5-excellent-places-for-beginners-to-kayak-in-arkansas Fri, 03 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0500