Category - Central Arkansas

Posts in Central Arkansas including including Pinnacle Mountain, Petit Jean, Lake Catherine, and Lake Ouachita state parks. Also see Central Arkansas Trails Page.

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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Petit Jean: Seven Hollows Trail – 4 mi

Petit Jean: Seven Hollows Trail – 4 mi photo
Natural Bridge, Seven Hollows Trail, Petit Jean State Park

Seven Hollows Trail at Petit Jean State Park (Conway County near Morrilton) is a first-rate hike that features a natural bridge, a grotto waterfall, an a lot of unique views with diverse plant life ranging from ferns to cacti.

The trail takes its name from the seven small streams that run through the area, all of which have carved their own hollows.

The official trail length is 4.5 miles. (Mike’s gps calculation puts it closer to 4.1 miles.) The short spur to the grotto (with seasonal waterfall) adds .2 miles.

It is a loop trail that follows through four of the seven hollows and along ridges between the hollows. Bluff lines, tumbling water (in spring), and interesting plant life are abundant.

It is a vigorous hike with an elevation change of about 360 feet. Most of the climbing is on the second half of the loop.

This is a great hike with a lot to observe, and every part of the hike is scenic.

Petit Jean: Seven Hollows Trail – 4 mi photo
Seven Hollows Trail along the rock bluff

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Lake Catherine: Horseshoe Mountain Trail Pics

Lake Catherine: Horseshoe Mountain Trail Pics photo
View from the vista on the south part of the Horseshoe Mountain Trail. Lake Catherine in the distance. (Panoramic.)

The Horseshoe Mountain Trail at Lake Catherine State Park (near Hot Springs) is an enjoyable and vigorous 2.7-mile hike.

Although the longest stretch of the trail is on the U-shaped ridge on Horseshoe Mountain, my favorite parts are the wooded hillside areas where the trail approaches the ridge from the north and from the south.

There are also a few vistas that are very nice, and a stretch along the Lake Catherine shoreline which is a treat.

Lake Catherine: Horseshoe Mountain Trail Pics photo
Scenic climb at the southeast part of Horseshoe Mountain Trail.

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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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