I think the prettiest walk in Fort Smith is the River Walk at the Fort Smith National Historic Site.
The Historic Site park, operated by the National Park Service, is on the site of the original military Fort Smith (1817-1824) and the second Fort Smith (1838-1871). The military barracks building of the second Fort was turned into a federal court building used by Judge Isaac C. Parker, sometimes referred to today as the “Hanging Judge,” from 1875 to 1889.
The River Walk, a paved walkway, starts at the park’s main (south) entrance. It heads west, first crossing some railroad tracks, then making a left turn near Belle Point, the location of the first Fort Smith. A spur leads to the Belle Point where there is informational signage.
. Fort Smith NHS River Walk Gpx Map
After awhile, the walk curves right to an area below and in front of Belle Point. From here, there is a great view of the Poteau River flowing into the Arkansas River. The walk continues following along the Arkansas River. From this point to the end is the most scenic part of the River Walk.
On the left, the walk passes by the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail Overlook. The Overlook commemorates the area where thousands of Native Americans in the 1830’s were forced to relocate to Indian Territory.
The River Walk eventually comes to an end at Harry E. Kelly Park. This city park features an amphitheater and a stage for public concerts and performances.
Back at the start of the River Walk, near the Visitor Center, it connects to a .2-mile sidewalk loop around the parade grounds of the second Fort Smith. (You can see what it looks like right now via this webcam link.)
The only two original buildings still standing at the Historic Site from the Second Fort Smith are the barracks/courthouse/jail building (now the Visitor Center) and the commissary.
While visiting the grounds, be sure to see the (reconstructed) gallows.
As usual, I have posted some of my photos and a gpx map made from my gps data.
River Walk - Fort Smith National Historic Site
Location Fort Smith, Sebastian County, Arkansas Length/type 0.6 miles (each way)
If you also walk the loop around the large flag at the Fort Smith NHS, that is an extra 0.2 miles.
Directions There is parking at the Fort Smith Historic Site. Or you can park at the other end at the Harry E. Kelley Park. Difficulty Easy (1 of 5) ATT Cell Coverage? Yes Official Info (Links) Website. Weather/Conditions Low 90's. Date Hiked 08-27-2010