So a whole season of hiking is in front of me. I have reached the point where day hikes are not enough and I am running short on 20 milers to stretch across a weekend excursion. When I first got into hiking I saw the Ozark Highland’s Trail and looked at it as the granddaddy of hikes in Arkansas. It stretches from between 160-180 miles depending on who you talk to. It covers some of the prettiest areas of the state of Arkansas. It’s incredibly private and yet because of its daunting mileage seems to be avoided to some degree by a lot of hikers. If I had 2-3 weeks I thought, that’s what I would want to do. Two to three weeks is not very likely to free up in my schedule though and even if it did I don’t know how I could justify that size of journey against other priorities.
A couple of months ago I submitted a post on the King’s Bluff Pedestal Rocks loop in central Arkansas. Here are a few more photos of that one taken by my friend Steve who was on the hike. Steve is an expert photographer so it was kind of a treat to have him there on such a good day for photos.
One of the things I wanted the midsouthhiking.com web site to include was an exhaustive resource for hikes and hikers throughout the mid south region. That is why I am excited to announce the latest addition to the site.
I have set up a group of forums that will continue to be added to on the Trails page. So far there are about 60 trails listed from Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Louisiana and Texas. I have not hiked them all yet but of course I hope to in the coming year(s). This listing will be added to and I hope you will help us add to it. Basically the trails just exist now as a location and length, I hope you will add to the description. (more…)
Whether you are new to the trails or an old pro, you need tools to make your hiking experience successful. Chief among these tools are knowledge of where the good hikes are at. Here are two books by Arkansas native Tim Ernst that I highly recommend you invest in for your hikes. I have listed them in the order that I would buy them if you can only get one. Tim includes personal accounts, narratives and information on the best views for each of the trails. Most of my first year of hikes came out of these books and I have rarely hit the trail without one of them.
Arkansas Hiking Trails
This popular guidebook is the most complete resource available on Arkansas hiking trails. It contains 78 maps and complete descriptions of trails all over the state – from short nature walks, to long-distance backpacking trails, and lots of others in between. It covers all of the major trails, plus many unheard of ones that lead to spectacular scenic areas. There is information about hiking, camping, equipment, and other useful subjects. Tim Ernst has hiked more trails in Arkansas than anyone, and his advice will be valuable for anyone who hikes, or wants to. It makes a great gift! The foreword was written by former President Bill Clinton. Click here to order>>
Buffalo River Hiking Trails
This bestselling guide (#4 – updated September, 2010)) has complete descriptions of over 30 hiking trails in the Buffalo River Area (including Hawksbill Crag). These trails range in length from less than a half mile, to more than twenty miles. There are even descriptions of how to get to some of the most scenic spots that don’t have developed trails to them. It contains 25 maps, many mileage logs and elevation profiles, information on camping, bugs, trailhead parking areas, scenic spots, area history, a complete month-by-month weather guide, tips on equipment, plus a whole lot more. The foreword was written by the late Neil Compton, the man who led the fight to save the Buffalo River. This book is the perfect companion for anyone who wants to hike in the Buffalo area for an afternoon, or for an entire week. Written by Tim Ernst, who lives in the Buffalo River area and hikes its trails nearly every day. Click here to order>>
Earlier this week I posted a set of five great swimming hole/hikes in Arkansas. One more is due that the family and I discovered today. Hogscald Holler is a great little hole hidden off a cove on Beaver Lake and was the setting for a perfect afternoon hike and swim today. It is just barely a hike. We found ourselves jumping in, drying off and then hiking off to different areas around the lake. The lake is clean, the trails have some nice rock formations and even a few waterfalls, and there are some great diving cliffs along the lake walls (just be sure to check before you jump).
There is also a rope swing hidden up along one of the trails. We might have missed it except several party barges pulled in from the lake and the passengers took time swinging off. It has been literally decades since I took a rope swing into water and my kids have never done it so of course we headed that way. (more…)
The first official day of summer is not until next week and already the heat and humidity has become a bit of a pain. Spring seems to have come and gone and between the heat, the spider webs, and chiggers, the trails are becoming a bit unbearable. So for some incentive on the trail (the greenery is hiding most of the good views) why not head for a swimming hole. Here are five great swimming holes in Arkansas that you can hike in and out to. What better way to refresh on the trail.