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.
The former community of Erbie (north Newton County, Buffalo National River) offers a variety of hiking trails that can be combined for larger or shorter loops. Because it was a community, many of the trails feature historical sites that tell a story of early settlers to the area.
The 6.4-mile Cecil Cove Trail Loop, much of which follows Cecil Creek, is one of these. It provides a wonderful assortment of spring-fed ponds, streams, historic stone walls, a historic cemetery, former home sites, and a spur trail that leads to a couple of awesome waterfalls.
This is a full day of nature and historic sites that is well worth the trip. The trail is also shared by horses.
The elevation change on the hike is about 850 feet
The Devil’s Den Self-Guided Trail (Devil’s Den State Park, southern Washington County, Ark.) is one of the coolest state park trails in Arkansas. The rock formations and the seasonal waterfall on this short trail are wonderful.
It’s not a difficult trail. It’s about 1.2 miles long, and there’s not much of an elevation change (about 100 feet).
(At present, the namesake Devil’s Den Cave is closed to the public due to white-nose syndrome.)
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.