All posts by Mara Kuhn

Pinnacle Mountain: Summit Trail Loop – 3 mi

Pinnacle Mountain: Summit Trail Loop - 3 mi photo
Pinnacle Mountain, Pinnacle Mountain State Park

This 2.6-mile loop at Pinnacle Mountain State Park (Pulaski County near west Little Rock) takes you to the summit of Pinnacle Mountain. It includes the West Summit Trail, East Summit Trail, and the north half of the Base Trail (connecting the two summit trails).

The summit of Pinnacle Mountain is one of Arkansas’s must-see hiking destinations. It is challenging, but it is a scenic and interesting hike with amazing views.

The Pinnacle Mountain summit trails are not the hardest trails in Arkansas since they are short, but they are definitely among the steepest. (Check out Mike’s elevation profile below.) In fact, guidebook writer Tim Ernst says that the East Summit Trail is the steepest trail in the state.

The elevation change from the base to the summit of Pinnacle Mountain is about 725 feet.

There is a trailhead at the base of the west side (West Summit Trail) and one at the east side (East Summit Trail). They both have parking.

The Base Trail makes a relatively level loop around the bottom of the mountain going through both trailheads.

When I recently hiked this loop, I began at the West Summit Trail trailhead and turned left onto the Base Trail. From there I hiked around the base of the mountain to the East Summit Trail. I then climbed East Summit Trail (not easily!) to the summit, and I hiked down back to my car via the West Summit Trail.

Pinnacle Mountain: Summit Trail Loop - 3 mi photo
West-facing view looking toward Lake Maumelle from the Pinnacle Mountain summit.

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Lake Catherine: Horseshoe Mountain Trail – 3 mi

Lake Catherine: Horseshoe Mountain Trail – 3 mi photo
Horseshoe Mountain Trail, Lake Catherine State Park – South-facing vista with Lake Catherine in the distance.

The 2.7-mile Horseshoe Mountain Trail at Lake Catherine State Park (near Hot Springs) is gorgeous and unique trail to the Ouachitas.

Most of this vigorous trail is on a horseshoe-shaped ridge line through glade vegetation, which makes the trail beautiful and unique. I love the shorter trees and taller grasses on this part of the trail.

Lake Catherine: Horseshoe Mountain Trail – 3 mi photo
My dog, Caddie, making the ascent on the Horseshoe Mountain Trail.

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Hunt’s Loop Trail (Ouachita Forest) – 4 mi

Hunt’s Loop Trail (Ouachita Forest) - 4 mi photo
The view from the Short Mountain vista.

One of my favorite day hikes around Hot Springs is the Hunt’s Loop Trail in the Ouachita National Forest (north Garland County/south Perry County).

The 4.3-mile-hike takes you straight up Short Mountain to a gorgeous vista and then through some of the most beautiful woods along the ridge of the mountain before returning to the narrow valley of the Middle Fork of the Saline River.

It is a moderate trail overall. The only difficult part is at the beginning (going clockwise) up Short Mountain. The elevation change is about 500 feet.

Hunt’s Loop Trail (Ouachita Forest) - 4 mi photo
Heading north on Hunt’s Loop Trail on top of Short Mountain, Ouachita National Forest
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