The Best Way to Spend a Spring Day? Hiking Pigeon Roost Trail in Arkansas’ Hobbs State Park

Hobbs State Park is the largest state park in Arkansas. This weekend we took advantage of the sunny weather to explore the park and venture out on a new (to us) trail.

The Pigeon Roost trail is 8.4 miles long. It is broken into two loops, the Dry Creek Loop and the Huckleberry Loop. We walked a portion of the Dry Creek Loop from the trail head to the Beaver Lake Overlook which was about 1.5 miles in length each way.

Pigeon Roost trail signage
I highlighted the portion of the trail we hiked in yellow.
family hiking pigeon roost trail in hobbs state park - northwest arkansas

Our 4-year-old hiked on her own (and rode on her Dad’s shoulders) while her younger sister mostly rode in an ergo carrier on my back.

spring hiking. family hiking pigeon roost trail in hobbs state park - northwest arkansas

Spring is a colorful time to hike in Northwest Arkansas because white dogwood and pink and purple redbud trees bloom throughout the forest.

family friendly hiking. family hiking pigeon roost trail in hobbs state park - northwest arkansas

The trail was well marked, but narrow and a bit slippery in some places with loose gravel. We had to be extra cautious as we hiked near steep hills.

We read that ticks can be bad on this trail, luckily we didn’t find any unwelcome visitors.

View of Beaver Lake. family hiking pigeon roost trail in hobbs state park - northwest arkansas

After hiking through the forest and over several small bridges crossing a creek, we arrived to a spot where we could see Beaver Lake. I was amazed by the turquoise water. The color reminded me of the green waters we saw at Point Lobos Park in California which I wrote about here.

View of Beaver Lake family hiking pigeon roost trail in hobbs state park - northwest arkansas

An overlook with a pair of benches can be found a little further down the trail. This is a great spot to rest and take in the view.

family hiking pigeon roost trail in hobbs state park - northwest arkansas

We were thrilled to find a family-friendly trail that is close to our new home in Northwest Arkansas.

family hiking pigeon roost trail in hobbs state park - northwest arkansas

Hobbs State Park has 36 miles of trails to explore – we are excited to head back soon so we can hike more of them.

Last Week of Less Waste Lent

This Lent we decided to work on creating less waste as a family. I feel like somedays I’m doing really well remembering my tote bags on grocery shopping trips, donating items we aren’t using to charity, and taking trips to the recycling center.

Recycle Cartons

We recently moved to an area that doesn’t have curbside recycling. The good news is we’ve had to take more responsibility and learn about the recycling process. For example, my daughter loves almond milk and I always assumed the containers that the milk comes in are recyclable. During a recent trip to the recycling center, I learned milk cartons can’t be recycled in my community.

I went home to do some research and found a website to look up if carton recycling is available in your area: recyclecartons.com. I went ahead and signed a petition on this site to bring carton recycling to our town.

Buying Less Stuff

This week we are also reading a book called Meet the Frugalwoods: Achieving Financial Independence Through Simple Living. It’s a memoir of a couple who decided that consumerism wasn’t making them happy so they went on a quest to become financially independent by living an extremely frugal life style. I don’t want to take all of the steps they do in the book. For example, I’d rather pay a talented hairdresser to cut my hair (and know it’s helping her support her family) than ask my husband to attempt it (yikes!). However, I love the idea of thinking about where you can cut back to save money and create less waste in the process.

We have one more week of Less Waste Lent, but I’m confident we will continue along this road and keep improving as we go. Let me know if you have any ideas about how to solve my milk carton problems. I’d also love your inpiring book suggestions.

-Kelly

Tanyard Creek Nature Trail in Bella Vista, Arkansas

Bella Vista makes a welcoming front porch to Northwest Arkansas. I remember holding my breath as we crossed the border from our home state of Missouri and letting out a sigh of relief as we drove into Bella Vista. ‘See girls we can live in Arkansas – look at all the pretty golf courses (even though I don’t golf), and all the active people out biking and walking around the lake.’

We moved to Arkansas this winter and now that the weather is warming, I’m eager to get out and explore more of ‘the natural state’. Last week I took my 2-year-old on a hike around the Tanyard Creek Nature Trail in Bella Vista.

Tanyard Creek Nature Trail signage

Tanyard Creek Blacktop Path

The first path we came to was a paved 1/3 mile loop which was the perfect place for my toddler to walk on her own because it was flat. When we got a little tired we rested on a bench.

Tanyard creek nature trail

Past the paved section the nature trail begins. We continued to keep right as the trail took us up, around, and over the creek.

Tanyard Creek Nature Trail in Bella Vista. northwest arkansas hiking

We crossed over several bridges.

Tanyard Creek Nature Trail in Bella Vista. northwest arkansas hiking. hiking with kids

And walked along a limestone cave.

hiking by cave in northwest arkansas. bella vista arkansas. tanyard creek

In places you could hear road and construction noise. I didn’t mind because I think it’s nice to find hidden gems within city limits.

tanyard creek bella vista

Dotted along the trail, volunteers have placed signs that explain what kind of trees and rocks we were looking at. I appreciate signage so I can sound smart when I’m hiking with my kids.

northwest arkansas creek hike

There wasn’t a sign telling me what kind of animal this cute little guy is, but I’m guessing he is a ground hog and he was announcing, ‘It’s spring!’

tanyard creek nature

We were on alert for less cuddly creatures. Signs warn that snakes might be enjoying the sunshine on rocks near the creek. I’m terrified of snakes and I’m relieved we didn’t see any.

spring hikes in northwest arkansas. tanyard creek

Even though this trail is only 2 miles long, it felt like an adventure because of the bridges, cave and creek.

tanyard creek nature in bella vista arkansas

We hiked on a beautiful weekday morning. I was pleased to see several fellow hikers enjoying the trail, but it didn’t feel over crowded.

tanyard creek nature in bella vista arkansas. northwest arkansas hiking destination

We passed a small pond covered in water lilies. Beyond the pond was a large hill which leads to the Lake Windsor Dam.

tanyard creek nature trail pond near windsor dam in bella vista

After the pond, the trail heads up at a steeper rate toward the waterfall lookout. The waterfall spilled into the creek which a fellow hiker mentioned was pretty dry this time of year. I’m guessing the waterfall and creek are even more impressive later in the season.

waterfall hike tanyard creek nature trail bella vista arkansas

I carried my daughter in a kid carrier on my back, but after the waterfall she was eager to get down and walk on her own. We found a flat area and she happily sat along the creek and threw rocks in the water to make ripples. She could do this for hours.

tanyard creek

With all the ripple making, we decided to skip a fairly big section of the trail. I’m eager to go back to explore the rest of the trail soon.

More Adventures in Northwest Arkansas

If you are interested in hiking in Arkansas, you may enjoy reading about our hike at Devil’s Den State Park and on Kessler Mountain.

Add This to Your Hiking Bucket List! Blue Lake in Indian Peaks Wilderness

One of my favorite places to hike in Colorado is in the Brainard Lake Recreation Area. I was flipping through our family hiking journal and came across what is best described as a love note about a hike we took to Blue Lake a few years ago. Despite the cold and rainy weather, I left enamored with the beauty we enjoyed along the trail. I’m surprised I haven’t written about this hike until now. 

Brainard Lake Recreation Area

The hike to Blue Lake begins in the Brainard Lake Recreation Area, a popular hiking destination in Colorado. It is located approximately 1 hr 20 minutes from Denver, 50 minutes from Boulder, and 50 minutes from Estes Park. If you buy a pass to get into Rocky Mountain National Park, it’s good to know that there is a separate fee to get in to this National Wilderness Area. There is a lot of great hiking here for both humans and their pets. (dogs are allowed to hike on leash.)

The best way to get to Blue Lake is to begin at the Mitchell Lake trail head, but because of this destination’s popularity, we had to park a little further away near Brainard Lake.

Mitchell Lake is 10,500 ft in elevation.

Our hike was 6.2 miles round trip and gained 1,250 feet in elevation. Brainard Lake Recreation Area starts at a high elevation so snow typically sticks around longer in the season. Ideal hiking is late July through August.

Mountain stream with wildflowers blooming in August

Once past Mitchell Lake, the trail climbed up through rocky terrain with expansive views of the surrounding mountains.

Enjoy expansive views

There were several pools and lakes along the trail.

Flowers adorn the mountain side

Hiking through the rain and mist.

Blue Lake sits at 11,300 ft in elevation.

We took this hike back in August 2016. It felt like an accomplishment for all of us because our toddler endured the rainy, cold weather. My husband carried our daughter the longer distance and greater elevation gain on his back.  I was carrying a little one too because I was pregnant with our second daughter who is now 2!

Time flies, but it’s great to look back at all of the memories we have made along the way.

Additional Information About Blue Lake and Brainard Lake Recreation Area:

Blue Lake via Mitchell Lake Trail

Brainard Lake Recreation Area Summer Season Map