One of the great things about hiking and playing in the wilderness in Arkansas is that each time you visit an area, it takes on a bit of a different feel depending on the time of year you go. Different weather and water levels make a big impact, as do leaf color, what flowers are in bloom, and who you are sharing the trail with.
There may be no better example of this than the Kings River Falls Natural Area in east Madison County.
The Kings River Falls Trail is a great hiking trail, only about 1.8 miles round trip (.9 miles, out and back), and filled with beautiful scenery. It’s a relatively flat, easy hike, so it’s good for families too.
The highlight of the trail is the 10-foot tall Kings River Falls. During warm weather, the area can become a (justifiably) popular swimming hole. It’s definitely worth the time to check out.
Getting to Kings River Falls Trail
To get there, go to the community of Boston (just a few homes there now). It is on Highway 16 between Pettigrew and Red Star, about 19 miles west of Fallsville.
One of the best trails at Bull Shoals Lake is just outside of Bull Shoals-White River State Park. The Dogwood Nature Trail is a pleasant 3-mile out-and-back hike (1.5 miles each way) that starts in the Lakeview Park Campground, a Corps of Engineers Recreation Area. It is in the town of Lakeview, about a mile east of Bull Shoals-White River State Park. The highlight of the trail is the bluff vista at the end. It is a beautiful area with great views of Bull Shoals Lake in all directions. (Be careful on the bluffs.)
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.
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.