Last Saturday I went hiking on the Bear Hollow Trail at Mount Magazine State Park (near Paris, Arkansas).
Bear Hollow Trail is one of my favorite hiking trails. It is not very difficult or very long, and it has gorgeous views of the Bear Hollow area on the east side of Mount Magazine.
Last Saturday when I went up there, I was a little surprised to see all the snow that was still there. We had gotten snow in Fort Smith in the past week or so, but that had already melted.
The first part of my hike was pretty exciting as I had never hiked in 6 inches of snow before. I’m sure that is a pretty regular thing to do up north, but it was new for me.
This 2.7-mile non-loop trail forms a sideways “V” pointing west. There is parking on the south end of the trail at the Benefield Picnic Area. From there the trail descends a little ways then proceeds northwest for about a mile until reaching the vertex at the headwaters of Big Shoal Creek. Then the trail heads northeast until ending (or beginning) at the north trailhead on Highway 309.
Hiking in the snow (with my hiking stick handy) wasn’t too difficult as long as I wasn’t going up- or downhill. It is sort of like hiking in a giant sand box with 6 inches of sand.
Trying to navigate downhill on the trail without being able to see the rocks under the snow was fairly treacherous, for me.
Fortunately, the trail was mostly clear once I reached the north side.
It was about the middle of the afternoon when I reached the north trailhead. I was concerned about getting back to my car before nightfall, so I decided to make a loop out of it by walking south on the highway to the visitors center (a must-see, by the way) and then continued south back to the Benefield Picnic Area. It is about 3 miles from the north trailhead along the highway to the picnic area.
These photos are all from my February 14, 2010 hike.
[Last revised: 8-2-2015]