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 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.
We crossed over several bridges.
And walked along a limestone cave.
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.
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.
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!’
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.
Even though this trail is only 2 miles long, it felt like an adventure because of the bridges, cave and creek.
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.
We passed a small pond covered in water lilies. Beyond the pond was a large hill which leads to the Lake Windsor Dam.
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.
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.
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.