Tag - Counties: Conway + Faulkner + Perry (Ark)

Trails in Conway, Faulkner, and Perry Counties, including Petit Jean State Park.

For a list of all trail profiles in this group, visit this link.

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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Petit Jean: Cedar Falls Trail – 2 mi (o&b)

Petit Jean: Cedar Falls Trail – 2 mi (o&b) photo
Cedar Falls (panoramic), Petit Jean State Park

Cedar Falls at Petit Jean State Park is the most impressive Arkansas waterfall I have seen. When Cedar Creek is flowing well, this is 95-foot waterfall is an amazing sight.

After a visit to Cedar Falls, it is easy to see why Petit Jean was chosen to be Arkansas’s first state park.

The trail to it is not long, only .9 miles each way (1.8 mile total hike). And the trail is not particularly difficult except for a steep climb back up to the trailhead.

Petit Jean: Cedar Falls Trail – 2 mi (o&b) photo
Cedar Falls Trail and Cedar Creek

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Petit Jean: Cedar Creek Trail – 1 mi

Petit Jean: Cedar Creek Trail - 1 mi photo
Cascade on Cedar Creek, near the second footbridge.

About a week ago, I got to hike the Cedar Creek Trail (aka “Cedar Creek Self-Guided Trail”) at Petit Jean State Park. It had been about 4 years since I hiked this trail, and I had forgotten how pretty it is.

It is especially nice after there has been recent rain. When I hiked it last week, there had been quite a bit of recent rain in central Arkansas.

Petit Jean: Cedar Creek Trail - 1 mi photo
The second (north) footbridge on the Cedar Creek Trail.

This 1.1-mile loop trail has some climbing, but it is not very difficult. There is only about 240 feet of total elevation gain. The net elevation change is about 120 feet.

The Cedar Creek Trailhead is easy to find. It is on the park’s main road (Petit Jean Mountain Road), about a half-mile east of Mather Lodge. Just watch for the pioneer cabin at the trailhead.  Continue reading Petit Jean: Cedar Creek Trail – 1 mi

Petit Jean: Bear Cave Trail – .5 mi

Petit Jean: Bear Cave Trail - .5 mi photo
Large rocks near the end of the trail. If you continue on from here, you’ll be on the Boy Scout Trail and not Bear Cave Trail.

The Bear Cave Trail at Petit Jean State Park is a very short trail — only about a quarter-mile long. In fact, it really is not so much a trail as it is a spectacular place to walk around and explore. There is a lot to see in this small area.

Petit Jean: Bear Cave Trail - .5 mi photo
The Eye of the Needle

The Bear Cave Trail trailhead is on Highway 154, one mile west of Mather Lodge. The trail starts at the back of the parking area.

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