Written by Arkansas Real Estate
It is summer time in Northwest Arkansas, despite our last week of random rain showers, schools are out and and there are a number of fun activities to get active in the community. NWA has seen amazing growth in terms of trails, wildlife, and community led fitness activities over the last few years and this summer we wanted to take a few weeks to talk about some of our wonderful outdoor amenities. We encourage you to get outside and enjoy the beauty of our landscape.
One of the best kept secrets in Northwest Arkansas for hiking and biking (and even horseback riding) is located just a few miles outside of Rogers - Hobbs State Park.
Hobbs State Park
Hobbs State Park - Conservation Area is Arkansas's largest state park and is blessed with beautiful terrain and a diverse eco-system. Twenty-two of the park’s 60 miles of border stretch along the shores of Beaver Lake. The park lies between Beaver Lake to the north and War Eagle Creek to the south with acreage stretching across a part of Benton County southeast of Beaver Lake and extending into Madison and Carroll counties.
"The park includes a wide variety of trails. The Historic Van Winkle Trail is a half-mile trail that leads hikers through a tunnel under Ark. 12 to the site of the historic Van Winkle lumber mill and home in Van Winkle Hollow on the West Fork of Little Clifty Creek. View the remnants of a sawmill and an antebellum garden owned by Peter Van Winkle during the 19th century. Beginning in the 1840s and continuing throughout his life, Van Winkle acquired approximately 17,000 acres of land throughout Washington, Benton, Madison, and Carroll counties by filing for land patents and purchasing foreclosed land. The tunnel and associated walkways were designed to provide barrier-free access to the historic site. Wayside interpretive panels along the trail provide hikers with information about this historic area. The trailhead features a parking lot large enough to accommodate three school buses or recreational vehicles and 18 automobiles. Water fountains and a composting toilet are located adjacent to the parking area.
The Pigeon Roost Trail is a double-stacked loop trail, in a figure eight formation, featuring a short loop of approximately four miles for day hiking and a longer loop of eight and one half miles for overnight use. This moderately difficult trail is excellent for beginners, scouts and families looking for adventure and scenery without having to travel a great distance. Campsites are marked with signs and each has a tent pad and fire ring. The trailhead and its associated parking area are located on Ark. 12. The trail passes several sinkholes and some portions follow ridges overlooking Beaver Lake. Some of the primitive campsites on the trail offer views of the lake, especially in winter when leaves are off the trees in the surrounding Ozark oak/hickory/pine forest. Wild turkey, whitetail deer and other wildlife are commonly seen along the trail.
The 24-mile Multi-use Hidden Diversity Trail is designed for equestrians, mountain bikers and hikers. No motorized vehicles are allowed. Users have the option of four trail sections or loops. The trail follows ridge tops and rims with lots of curves and a few hills that drop 200 to 300 feet in elevation. The entire trail is surrounded by woods that are mainly comprised of oak and hickory. When weather conditions warrant, the trail is subject to closure to mountain bike and equestrian use. In addition, all or a portion of the park’s trail system may be closed occasionally for permitted hunting seasons or maintenance repair. Contact the park to check on the current trail status before traveling to Hobbs to participate in these activities.
The one-and-one-half-mile Shaddox Hollow Nature Trail can be accessed from its trailhead parking lot located on Ark. 303, approximately one mile from the intersection on the north side of Ark. 12. The first one-half mile of this loop trail follows a ridgeline, providing an easy hike. The trail then descends into Shaddox Hollow. The descent is rather steep in places. This trail winds along the creek through stands of hardwoods and other native Ozark vegetation. Interesting limestone bluffs are found along this section. After progressing up the creek, the trail begins the ascent back to the trailhead. This climb can be strenuous in places.
The park includes the only public, outdoor shooting range in Arkansas with a bullet trap (open Tuesday through Sunday). In addition, the park offers regulated seasonal hunting; undeveloped access to 28,370-acre Beaver Lake; and interpretive programs. HSPCA is Arkansas's only state park where hunting is allowed. Future development and expanded visitor programs at the HSPCA will include cabins, pavilions, picnic areas, additional hiking trails, and archery and orienteering courses." (Provided by the Hobbs State Park Webiste)
If you need a break from hiking, or just want to do something this summer out of the heat, the Hobbs State Park Visitor's Center is a great place to go. The center is huge, covering 17,531-square-feet. This state-of-the-art facility features Ozark-focused exhibits including interactive kiosks, classroom space, a retail sales area, and the park's administrative offices. There are artifacts, photographs, videos, and sculptures that teach visitors about the park and surrounding area. There is also a section where visitors are encouraged to touch items, like skulls, animal skins, feathers, antlers, etc. The Visitor's Center is on Ark. 12 near the junction with War Eagle Road. Park interpreters offer a wide diversity of programs and workshops throughout the year. For more information on events, click here.
The park is 10 miles east of Rogers on Ark. 12. For driving directions to each trailhead and the visitor's center, click here.