The leaves are beginning to change and the morning air is crisp and cool. We set out last weekend to drive through the scenic towns of Ponca and Jasper which sit along the Buffalo National River in Arkansas. This drive features towering bluffs, river views, fall foliage, and even a chance to spot elk which live in the Boxley Valley near Ponca.
triple Falls (twin falls)
The highlight of our day trip was a hike to Twin Falls, also known as Triple Falls. To get there, take highway 74 and turn on to Camp Orr road by Kyle’s Landing. The gravel/dirt road is well maintained, but very steep. Don’t attempt to drive down this road without a 4-wheel-drive vehicle. We stopped several times to rest our brakes so they wouldn’t burn up.
There is a small parking lot and signage to point you in the direction of the falls. The hike is only .3 miles each way. I still can’t believe that we walked such a short distance to find such a gorgeous spot.
Perhaps the most confusing part of this hike is that it’s referred to as Triple Falls Trail on hiking sites such as AllTrails, however the official name is Twin Falls.
When we turned back towards our car to continue our drive, our girls asked if we could stay longer. That’s a big win! If you are looking for a fun family-friendly adventure near Ponca and Jasper, I highly recommend checking out Twin Falls.
For a slightly longer adventure, check out the Lost Valley hike which is located nearby.
We moved to Northwest Arkansas last winter. One of the things we’ve enjoyed most about the move is taking advantage of the vast bike trail system in our new home state. My husband and I have been going on frequent ‘Bike and Brewery‘ dates on the Razorback Greenway. We’ve also enjoyed watching our girls gain confidence in riding their bikes by practicing around our neighborhood and on trails like the loop around Lake Atalanta in Rodgers. Our latest biking adventure was trying out the Bike Playground in Bentonville.
bentonville bike playground
The Bentonville Bike Playground is located off of the North Bentonville Trail (right by the Bark Park) in Bentonville, Arkansas.
I was curious if the playground would be age-appropriate for my girls who are 2.5 and approaching 5-years-old.
We found that the new surfaces like wooden bridges, tunnels, and dirt provided a fun challenge for them.
In the middle of the playground there is a concrete course that was too difficult, so we staid on the outside track. The playground looked similar to other bike parks I’ve seen, everything is just mini-sized for young riders.
My younger daughter rides a balance bike. She was able to ride through several of the obstacles without much assistance.
My older daughter was determined to practice every ramp and slope. She had a couple of tough falls, but she landed in the grass and kept trying.
Despite a few crashes, my daughters told me that they want to go back soon. We left the park grassy, muddy, and smiling.
I appreciate that the Bike Playground has amenities like picnic tables, park benches, a bicycle repair station, abundant parking, and restrooms nearby.
The city of Bentonville offers a ton of great parks and bike riding trails to explore. Here is a map.
We made a fun little video with more pictures that you can watch here.
Hobbs State Park is the biggest state park in Arkansas. It is located in Rogers, Arkansas and is known for hiking, biking, and its miles of shore line along Beaver Lake. The Visitor Center is open daily from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm.
The visitors center is filled with educational exhibits about animals and plants you may find in the area. The cave exhibit was my daughters’ favorite.
They also enjoyed the Kids Corner which is stacked with games and books about nature. I appreciated the clean restrooms and friendly staff who answered all of my questions about near by hiking trails.
mother nature story time
The center hosts a variety of family-friendly activities including a Mother Nature story time held each second Saturday of the month at 10:30 am. Mark your calendar: Upcoming 2019 story times include: ‘Bats – Not Really Scary’ on October 12; ‘It’s Turkey Time’ on November 9; and ‘Who Goes There? Footprints and Animal Signs’ on December 14.
Outside of the visitors center there is a small pond and a viewing deck. This is a good place to watch wildlife.
We spotted a snake from the deck. I convinced myself that it was a Western Pigmy Rattlesnake (because I’m terrified of snakes). However, it was most likely a nonvenomous water snake innocently enjoying the late summer sun.
Right outside the visitor center there are several picnic tables that rest under the shade of towering pine trees.
Ozark plateau trail
Beyond the picnic area, there is a half mile paved trail called the Ozark Plateau Trail. The trail is easy, well shaded, and includes several benches to rest on if little feet get tired.
We enjoyed seeing the variety of trees, mushrooms, and plants along the trail.
hobbs state park fall festival
Mark your calendar: Hobbs State Park is hosting a Fall Festival on October 6, 2019 from 1-4 pm. This free event is located at the Historic Van Winkle Hollow and includes activities such as blacksmith demonstrations, old-timey games, and music.
war eagle mill
After our fun morning at Hobbs State Park Visitor Center and hiking the Plateau Trail, we worked up an appetite. We stopped at the War Eagle Mill which is a short five-minute drive away.
The War Eagle Mill dates back to 1832. The mill is open daily for guests to purchase flours, mixes, jams, gifts, and other hand crafted items in their gift shop. Tours are available to learn more about the history of the active mill.
bean palace cafe
We enjoyed lunch on the 3rd floor in the Bean Palace Cafe. Lunch is served daily from 10:30 am – 4:00 pm. There is a kids menu with prices ranging from $5-$6 per meal which include a souvenir cup. We also tasted their famous beans.
We were lucky to get a table that looked out over the War Eagle Creek and the one-lane bridge that crosses over it.
Mark your calendar: The War Eagle Mill will be hosting a Fall Craft Fair next month on Thursday, October 17 through Sunday, October 20, 2019.
Since moving to Northwest Arkansas last winter, I’m eager to explore all that our area has to offer. I appreciate that Hobbs State Park offers beautiful scenery and educational experiences so close to our new home. Our time at the War Eagle Mill felt charming, authentic, and historically relevant. I’m looking forward to our next trip!
If you have suggestions for fall day trips near Northwest Arkansas, please comment below.
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.