The Best Hiking Trails in Central Arkansas

Hiking, running and walking trails is one of the greatest joys in Arkansas.  In summer, many times the trails are a bit cooler and more shaded than paved surfaces.  Trails are easier on your feet and joints and spending time in nature has psychological benefits too.  There are a few wonderful trails right in the middle of our city to give you a break from the road.

Pinnacle Mountain and Ouachita Trail

For a real trail experience, head no further than Pinnacle Mountain.  Reviews from Humber Sport suggested that Pinnacle's East Summit is highly technical, with a 3/4 mile ascent through several boulder fields. The West Summit trail is less technical but still offers a little challenge. Pinnacle's Base Trail offers a technical trail without much elevation, and also offers a connection to the Ouachita Trail, which continues 222 miles to the Arkansas / Oklahoma border.  Pinnacle Mountain is located in Roland, right outside of Little Rock.  East summit parking is past the visitor's center.  The base trail does go around the base and connects both summits.  It is popular to go up the east summit, down the west summit and around the base trail to reach the parking long (round-trip about five miles).

Rock Creek Trail

The most common trail entry point here is the trailhead at 200 N. Bowman Road (behind the cleaners).  Seemingly, in the middle of a busy shopping district, hikers can take to the woods.    There are a few other ways to enter the trail too, as seen on the map.  This trail is not usually as highly trafficked as some, so come with a buddy.  The trail is just about the length of a 5k (3.2 miles out and back) and it's not steep or highly technical.  It's a perfect oasis in the middle of the city and has some really splendid views.

Burns Park

Burns Park has paved and non-paved trails.  The Burns Park Scout Hiking Trail is the most popular hiking trail.  The longest option, marked in green on the trail map, is a five-mile loop.  The red trail is also popular and it's just 1.8 miles.  All total, Burns Park has 4.6 miles of paved trails and 12.5 miles of unpaved trails. Burns Park is located in North Little Rock, off of I-40.

Allsopp Park

Allsopp Park is a five-mile loop of unpaved trail in Little Rock.  This trail is scenic and hilly.  The trail is about four miles long and gains 511 feet of elevation.  Great for hiking or mountain biking, and it is usually well traveled.  Located in West Little Rock, with trailheads at Kavanaugh and Cantrell.

The Arkansas River Trail

A lot of the Arkansas River Trail system is paved trail, but it connects 16 miles of scenic hiking together.  The most picturesque portion is Two Rivers Park and the Two Rivers Bridge.  The bridge itself is 1,368 feet long, but the park offers many options for hiking the entire River Trail, a short 1-2 mile hike or anything in between.  Much of the trail system at Two Rivers is paved, but quite a few twists take you off-road.  Two River Park is located in Little Rock at 6900 Two Rivers Park Road (near Cantrell).

River Mountain Trail

The River Mountain Trail is near Two Rivers Park, but it's unpaved.  It's a 2.7-mile trail with about 300 feet gain in elevation and it is technical in spots and somewhat challenging, especially compared to the Two Rivers Park.  Park at Two Rivers Park and walk up the road to get to the trailhead.

A Little Further Out . . .

If you want to venture a little further from Central Arkansas, there are several options.  Petit Jean Mountain State Park has more than 20 miles of hiking trails and great views.  Be sure to hit the Cedar Falls Trail for one of the best views in the state.  Lake Sylvia has a nice trail system too.  Both of those are about an hour from Little Rock. Most of our state parks have beautiful trails.

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