Our daughter celebrated a big milestone this summer. She learned how to ride a bike without training wheels.
Last weekend we decided to pack up her bike and check out the trail around Lake Atalanta in nearby Rogers, Arkansas. The city’s website says the park was renovated in 2016 and has ‘4 miles of hard surface trails and 10 miles of soft surface multi-use trails’.
The Lake Atalanta Loop is a little under 2 miles. For those wanting to extend their ride, the trail head also connects to Downtown Rodgers and the Railyard Bike Park.
We enjoyed practicing bike skills including slowing down on hills and sharing the trail with fellow park goers. People were out biking, walking, kayaking, running, fishing, and even practicing yoga on paddle boards.
We are all proud of our determined little girl for learning to ride a bike, and we are looking forward to finding more fun places to practice biking in Northwest Arkansas.
Last weekend we drove to Lost Valley in Buffalo National River which is located a couple miles from Ponca, Arkansas. We selected this hike for our family because it is relatively short in length at 2.4 miles, and features several caves and waterfalls.
Our 4-year-old walked most of the trail with a lot of hand holding from my husband while I carried my 2-year-old in an Ergo baby on my back. In the summer heat, this was a great workout!
The thing that scares me most about hiking in Missouri and Arkansas is the possibility of running into a snake. We barely got out of our car and I spotted a copperhead taking its time to cross the trail. Copperheads are venomous snakes, so we patiently gave the snake plenty of room until he crossed.
It doesn’t seem likely, but if you happen to get bitten by a snake, I think the closest hospital would be North Arkansas Regional Medical Center in Harrison, Arkansas which is 30-40 minutes away.
But don’t worry… the hike gets better!
We crossed a little creek bed which led to a wide and well-maintained trail, with occasional benches available for a quick rest.
The trail becomes more narrow and steep as you head towards Natural Bridge and Eden Falls.
We passed through a little water to get to Natural Bridge. A fellow hiker warned us that the rocks were slippery.
There was a waterfall running through the rocks. Several older kids climbed through the falls, but we decided to avoid slipping and walked back around to the trail.
The trail featured several other unique rock formations, towering bluffs, and caves.
We continued on towards Eden Falls. The gorgeous 50+ foot waterfall was the highlight of the hike.
Eden Falls cave
We debated whether or not we should continue the hike up to see Eden Falls Cave. Our 4-year-old listened well, held on to her Dad’s hand, and thought it was a fun adventure climbing up the steep and narrow pathway to the top. While we were glad to see the last cave, I wouldn’t take our girls on this section again until they are older. It was a bit too precarious for my comfort.
However, if you don’t have young ones with you, and don’t mind tight spaces, there is another waterfall inside the cave that we hear is worth checking out!
This hike was beautiful and felt like an adventure. We are looking forward to returning to the Buffalo National River to explore more of the outdoor activities this area has to offer.
Good to Know Before you go:
No dogs/pets allowed on the trail
No bikes on trail
We had poor cell phone service in this area, but trail was well marked and easy to find
There is a restroom facility and small picnic pavilion near trail head
This was a popular trail, but there was plenty of parking available on our visit
This summer I’ve rekindled a long lost love. Before marriage, home ownership, and kids, Eric and I spent many weekends racking up miles on the trails near our apartments. Our goal was to ride a two-day 150 mile bike ride. ( MS-150) It felt great when we accomplished our goal, but soon life got busy and our bikes started collecting dust.
Thanks to great babysitter(s), this summer we decided to tune up our bikes and hit the trails in our new home town of Fayetteville, Arkansas. Fayetteville has an amazing trail system including a portion of the Northwest Arkansas Razorback Regional Greenway. If we wanted to, we could ride 36 paved miles (mostly without crossing a road) all the way to Lake Bella Vista, Arkansas. For now, we’ve been sticking closer to home. Here are 5 trails we’ve enjoyed so far this summer:
*We tracked mileage using my husband’s gps watch, so distances given are estimates.
Kessler Mountain to Columbus house
We started at Kessler Mountain parking lot (near the playground) and jumped on the Cato Springs trail which connects Kessler Mountain to the Razorback Greenway system. The first few miles are peaceful and fast moving. Soon we crossed through Walker Park and headed into the lively downtown Fayetteville area. We continued past downtown to North Street where we took a right (East) to get to Columbus House Brewery. We sat outside and enjoyed the local beer before heading back towards Kessler Mountain.
Distance: 11.69 miles*
Kessler Mountain to Fossil cove
We enjoyed Kessler Mountain area so much that we returned for another bike ride. We challenged ourselves to ride a little further on to Poplar Street where we took a right (East) and went toFossil Cove Brewery. We sat outside and ordered pizza from adjacent Wicked Wood Fire Pizza.
Distance: Estimate 13.5 miles, we accidently missed our turn and ended up riding a total of 14.88 miles*
veterans memorial park – lake fayetteville loop
For a shorter ride, we took a quick evening loop around Lake Fayetteville starting at Veterans Memorial Park. Lake Fayetteville can sometimes be a pretty crowded area, but even if you have to slow down to accommodate fellow walkers and bikers, it’s worth it. I enjoy the views of waterfalls, bridges, wildflowers, wildlife, and of course the lake.
Distance: 5.27 miles*
Gordon long park – lake fayetteville
We started at Gordon Long Park and rode towards Lake Fayetteville. Gordon Long trailhead has a playground, several parking spaces and a restroom facility.
My favorite part of this ride was cruising beside several creeks including Scull Creek, Mud Creek, and Clear Creek. My least favorite part was traveling through the long tunnel under Fulbright Expressway which felt a little eerie. We jumped off the trail on Lake Fayetteville Road to grab a bite to eat at the food trucks. I ate street tacos which were tasty and Eric ordered Thai food. Refueled, we finished our loop around Lake Fayetteville and headed back towards Gordon Long. This was a really fun date! To celebrate, we treated ourselves by driving across town to Crisis Brewing Company.
Distance: 12.94 miles*
Veterans memorial park – Luther george park in springdale, arkansas
We started at Veterans Memorial Park and headed towards Lake Fayetteville. We split off the loop to continue on the Razorback Greenway trail north towards Springdale. I was excited to learn about a new section, but this was my least favorite because their was less nature and more road traffic once we left the lake area. It was pretty hot, so we also noticed the lack of shade. We made it to Luther George Park, which looked like a spot my kids would love.
We headed back and continued the loop around Lake Fayetteville. This time it was less crowded and we were able to catch a breeze to cool off. On this ride we were short on time, but if we wanted to sip a local beer we could have easily stopped by Apple Blossom Brewing Company which is close to Veterans Memorial Park.
Distance: 10.5 miles*
I’m thrilled to be exploring our home town via the trail system. I know there is a lot more to enjoy. Cheers to that!
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.
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 is a colorful time to hike in Northwest Arkansas because white dogwood and pink and purple redbud trees bloom throughout the forest.
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.
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.
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.
We were thrilled to find a family-friendly trail that is close to our new home in 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.