Where to Hike During the 2013 Government Shutdown

Warren Hollow Trail, Lake Fort Smith State Park
Warren Hollow Trail, Lake Fort Smith State Park

You probably are aware that there is a partial shutdown of the federal government in place now (as of this post).

So where is it okay and not okay to go hiking? Here are some tips based on what we know now:

Hiking Okay  

  • State parks (e.g., Mount Magazine State Park, Robbers Cave State Park).
  • Any other non-federal government area (e.g., city-owned wilderness areas like Lake Leatherwood Park).
  • Ozark National Forest. The official website says “Dispersed recreation is permitted” during the shutdown. However, most campgrounds and day-use areas will probably be closed.
  • Ouachita National Forest (probably). All indications are that hiking trails (e.g., Ouachita Trail, Lake Ouachita Vista Trail) are still open and accessible. Campgrounds and day-use areas are probably closed though.

Hiking Not Okay  

  • Buffalo National River. The grounds of all national park properties, except for through-access roads, are officially closed. (If you are in the Buffalo River area, you might want to check out this list of alternative hiking destinations.)
  • Pea Ridge National Military Park. This is also run by the National Park Service.

We are all hoping that the shutdown will be over soon.

[Update: The shutdown ended the evening of October 16, 2013.]

Mount Magazine: Bear Hollow Trail Photos 2013

Bear Hollow Trail, Mount Magazine State Park
East-facing view from Inspiration Point (panoramic)

One of my favorite hiking trails is the Bear Hollow Trail at Mount Magazine State Park. The v-shaped trail (about 2.7 miles each way) pretty much follows the v-shaped hollow on the east end of the mountain. The trailhead is at the Benefield picnic area. It ends up near the park’s horse camp.

There are some beautiful views along the trail. The two best are at Sunrise Rock and Inspiration Point.

Bear Hollow Trail, Mount Magazine State Park
Bear Hollow Trail (on the north side), Mount Magazine State Park

These are some of the photos I took from a visit there a few weeks ago. (More below the jump. Click photo for larger view.) Continue reading Mount Magazine: Bear Hollow Trail Photos 2013

Bull Shoals: Lakeside Trail – 1 mi

Lakeside Trail at Bull Shoals - White River State Park
Bull Shoals Lake from the overlook point on the Lakeside Trail (panoramic)

The Lakeside Trail at Bull Shoals-White River State Park is short but very pretty. The wooded trail starts at the back of a picnic area about a mile east of the south end of the dam. (The campground area is on the west side of the dam.)

Lakeside Trail at Bull Shoals - White River State Park
Lakeside Trail at Bull Shoals-White River State Park

It is an easy walk with not much elevation change. There are some nice views of the lake. The best is at an overlook area about halfway through the trail.

Continue reading Bull Shoals: Lakeside Trail – 1 mi

Buffalo River at Carver Access Photos

Buffalo River at Carver Access
Buffalo River at Carver access (panoramic)

A few weeks ago, I was going through the Buffalo National River area and went by the Carver access to the river. It straddles the upper and middle districts of the national park and is a few miles south of Hasty on Highway 123 in Newton County. It is also near the Carver Cemetery.

There also is a primitive campground at the Carver access. (More info here.)

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Canoeists at the Carver access

These are a few photos I took at the Carver access area. More below the jump. Continue reading Buffalo River at Carver Access Photos