7 Favorite Day Hiking Trails in Arkansas

Searcy County Waterfall

Another tough 1 Question, 1 Answer survey where we asked you to name your favorite day hike in The Natural State. This time we found out about your 7 Favorite Day Hiking Trails in Arkansas. We put you to the test because it’s on our minds as the Fall quickly approaches bringing some of the best hiking weather of the year. The top seven picks all came from areas near the Buffalo River or from Arkansas State Parks, go figure. Find out more about hiking the Buffalo National River area here and Arkansas State Parks here. A lot of other trails were also mentioned including portions of the Lake Ouachita Vista Trail, Pedestal Rocks, and Sugarloaf Mountain among others. Here are your 7 Favorite Day Hiking Trails in Arkansas:

#5 (tie) North Rim Trail, Mount Magazine State Park 6.15%

North Rim Trail, Mount Magazine State Park. (Photo by ADPT) - 7 Favorite Day Hiking Trails in Arkansas
North Rim Trail, Mount Magazine State Park. (Photo by ADPT)

Although the state’s highpoint, Signal Hill, is covered in trees and doesn’t offer much in the way of views, the nearby North Rim Trail in Mount Magazine State Park, offers enough views to appease anyone striving for scenic views from above. The trail runs 2.2 miles starting at the park visitor center and heading west along the north rim of the mountain. Bluff views along the hike offer incredible views of the Arkansas River Valley. Watch the little ones as the trail follows the edge of high bluffs and take a camera. If you don’t want to double back on the trail, cross the road to the Mossback Ridge Trail for a 4.4-mile total hike back to the visitor center. The park offers camping, cabins, lodging, and a restaurant, plus a lot more trails. (map)

#5 (tie) Yellow Rock Trail, Devil’s Den State Park 6.15%

Yellow Rock Trail, Devil's Den State Park.- 7 Favorite Day Hiking Trails in Arkansas
Yellow Rock Trail, Devil’s Den State Park.

The Yellow Rock Trail at Devil’s Den State Park is a Fall favorite. Start the hike from the camping area trail head and walk past boulders and below bluffs. The trail is mainly up until you reach the Yellow Rock Overlook. Stop to take in the beauty of the Lee Creek Valley and the surrounding Boston Mountains. Once you’re done, take the trail toward the oldest CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) structure and enjoy the view of Devil Lake and the park below. Follow the trail back to the trailhead for a 5-6 mile hike. The park offers camping, historic cabins, a pool during the summer months and numerous other trails. For a shorter hike with kids try the Devil’s Den Trail which takes hikers past caves and crevices and around beautiful rock formations. (map)

#5 (tie) Big Bluff/Goat Trail, Buffalo Wilderness Area 6.15%

Goat Trail, Buffalo Wilderness. (photo by ADPT)- 7 Favorite Day Hiking Trails in Arkansas
Goat Trail, Buffalo Wilderness. (photo by ADPT)

The AO team did this trail a few years ago over a Thanksgiving weekend. The hike down from the Centerpoint Trailhead is relatively easy. Once you get out on the bluff, the views of the Buffalo River are inspiring. Located at a turn in the river, hikers get a birds-eye view of the first National River. Be careful with kids in this area, the bluff edge can be dangerous and a bit scary for those with a fear of heights. For a longer hike take the main trail on down to the Buffalo River and then follow it to Hemmed-In-Hollow where you can witness the tallest waterfall between the Rockies and Appalachians. This is best viewed after a bit of rain. Hope you brought some fuel, the hike out is pretty much all uphill. Remember that dogs are not allowed in this area. (map)

#4 (tie) Lost Valley Trail, Buffalo National River 7.69%

Lost Valley Trail, Buffalo National River. (photo by ADPT)- 7 Favorite Day Hiking Trails in Arkansas
Lost Valley Trail, Buffalo National River. (photo by ADPT)


This trail did well in the voting despite the fact that it is closed indefinitely due to heavy erosion on the trail. Highpoints on the trail include the 53 foot, Eden Falls and Natural Bridge. Until it reopens, hikers will have to take advantage of the over 100 miles of trails in the Buffalo National River. (map)

#4 (tie) Indian Rock House Nature Trail, Buffalo National River 7.69%

Along the Indian Rockhouse Nature Trail, Buffalo Point.- 7 Favorite Day Hiking Trails in Arkansas
Along the Indian Rockhouse Nature Trail, Buffalo Point.

Located at Buffalo Point, a camping and lodging area that was once part of the Arkansas State Park system and is now managed by the National Park Service, the Indian Rock House Nature Trail takes visitors back through various historical times in the area. The cave itself was the site of prehistoric Native Americans and along the trail, hikers encounter the entrance to an old Zinc Mine that was part of the early European settlers attempts at improving their economic position in the early 1900’s. On the way out hikers will come across the Rock Quarry which was used by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930’s to build the facilities in the park. (map) (more info)

Fleet Feet Little Rock

#2 Whitaker Point Trail, Upper Buffalo Wilderness 9.23%

Winter at Hawksbill Crag, Whitaker Point, Upper Buffalo Wilderness.- 7 Favorite Day Hiking Trails in Arkansas
Winter at Hawksbill Crag, Whitaker Point, Upper Buffalo Wilderness.

One of the truly iconic places in Arkansas the Whitaker Point Trail leads to Hawksbill Crag. This short hike is a must for any hiker’s bucket list. A gentle downhill eventually leads to a Waterfall area before turning to follow the bluff line. Be careful along this area as it is slippery near the edges. Hikers will soon start to get glimpses of the Crag just before it opens up. The trip back is mainly up but gradual. There are no other amenities in the area so go prepared with food and water. (map) (more info)

#1 Seven Hollows Trail, Petit Jean State Park 29.23%

Trail runner on Seven Hollows Trail, Petit Jean State Park.- 7 Favorite Day Hiking Trails in Arkansas
Trail runner on Seven Hollows Trail, Petit Jean State Park.

The Seven Hollows Trail won by a large margin in our poll and for good reason. This trail is located in the area that lead to the creation of the Arkansas State Park system, an area deemed to rugged for economical logging operations. The trail leads hikers off the south side of Petit Jean Mountain. Taking the first left will lead visitors from the top of the mountain into a deep hollow that includes a wonderful Natural Stone Arch. Just past this point is “Turtle Rocks”, a unique rock formation looking much like the shells of turtles. The trail then heads west into another hollow where a short spur trail north leads to The Grotto, another unique feature with a small waterfall and water holding area below a rock overhang. This is a great place for a picnic. As the trail turns north, notice the rock walls as the trail meanders through a slot-like area with small caves to the sides. The Trail makes it way back to the parking lot at around 4 1/2 miles. Plan to spend some time in Petit Jean State Park since you’ve only scratched the surface of available trails and beautiful overlooks in the park. Area amenities include a historic lodge and cabins, restaurant, camping, small lake boating, and more. (map)

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17 Responses

  1. darn shame there’s no option to print! Don’t want to share it….post it….or whatever the heck….just wanted to print it so my wife and I can hike it! ugh!

    guess we won’t bother….don’t know why everything has to be so complicated these days.

    1. John, you have two options for printing, 1. Your browser has a print feature. It is not the best way though. 2. Scroll to the bottom of the article and you’ll see some social media share buttons, the last one on the right gives you more options. Use this and type in the word “printer” in the search box. then click on Printer friendly version and it will let you print it. Hope that helps.

    2. These Are great trail suggestions . I suggest to take notes instead of printing or screen picture your iPhone on the wanted page. There’s no reason to miss out . Arkansas is truly beautiful and most people don’t recognize all the natural wonders We have.

  2. 7 Hollows, the trail my family loves to hate! But they hate anything over 1.5 miles anyway…and the first time we hiked it was in the summer..and on and on. But it really is a great trail, I love it; last time I hiked it myself while everyone else slept in. I haven’t been to DD or on the Goat Bluff, but the Goat Bluff is definitely on my hit list. Great article!

  3. You convinced me, next trip up seven hollows trail, if it beat the others I’ve been missing out! Any trail listed you can’t go wrong. Happy Hiking!

  4. Great article! Another few to add to the list would be the awe-inspiring Hemmed-In Hollow Trail (the tallest waterfall in Arkansas and surrounding states). Its an amazing hike yet tiring to say the least. The next would be Glory Hole Waterfall Trail. While the name doesn’t sound too appealing, the trail and waterfall itself is jaw-dropping! Hopefully this helps out y’all fellow hikers.

  5. i find that Arkansas has the most very interesting hiking trails. I have ever walked any hiking trails in my whole life. Until now. My mother and her best friend Bill Sled has been on almost of Arkansas hiking Trails. And my mother Marjorie Cutler has decided to bring her not any hiking experience daughter Kimberly Clem to join her and bill to go hiking with them. I only hope that I can still be able to walked and movie after we all do the 5-6 mile hiking trials. Because keep has never gone hiking with them before. And Kimberly Clem is very nervous about going hiking with her and bill hiking on the very long hiking trails. Kimberly Clem will never survive the 5-6 mile hike trail. Because they both have longer legs than I have. And they have done these long hiking trails before. Kimberly Clem has never done any of these long hiking trails yet. And Kimberly Clem really do not think she can hike any 5-6 miles long hiking trails.

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