Hiking Arkansas: Yellow Rock Trail in Devil’s Den State Park

This weekend we celebrated Valentine’s Day with candy, flowers, a nice dinner, and an adventurous family hike in Devil’s Den State Park. The park is located in West Fork, Arkansas which is a 30 to 40 minute drive from our new hometown of Fayetteville, Arkansas.

This was our second visit to Devil’s Den. On our first trip, we enjoyed the Devil’s Den Self Guided trail. This time we decided to try the Yellow Rock trail.

Family hike in Devil's Den State Park
The sun was out and the temperature was in the mid-40’s when we began our winter hike.

We recently purchased a helpful guidebook, Arkansas Dayhikes for Kids & Families – 105 Easy Trails in the “Natural State”. The book points out that there are a couple options where you can start on the Yellow Rock trail. You can start in Camp Area A, or at the CCC overlook. Following the advice of author Pam Ernst, we chose to start at the CCC overlook shelter.

CCC Overlook in Devil's Den State Park
CCC Overlook in Devil’s Den State Park

The Civilian Conservation Corps built this impressive rock structure in 1934. From this spot, we enjoyed expansive views of the Lee Creek Valley below.

Great views of Ozark Mountains
Views from shelter area

The Yellow Rock trail is marked with white diamonds.

Yellow Rock Trail

On our trip, there were several spots along the trail that were wet and muddy.

Yellow Rock trail with kids
Yellow Rock Trail. Arkansas State Park
Crossing over a wooden bridge
Hiking in Arkansas
Climbing uphill
Winter hiking in Arkansas
Stepping on stones over water
Hiking with kids in Northwest Arkansas
Taking it nice and slow on a steep downhill section of the hike
Winter hiking in Devil's Den State Park
Icicles glistening in the winter sunshine

The views from the Yellow Rock overlook were impressive.

Best Views. Yellow Rock. Arkansas

Yellow Rock Trail is designated as a National Recreation Trail.

Ozark Mountain views. Yellow Rock. Arkansas. Devil's Den
Views of Lee Creek Valley

The drop offs are very steep from the top of Yellow Rock, so it was important to be extra cautious, but I was happy to find that there was enough space for the girls to safely eat a snack and rest.

Ozark Mountain views. Yellow Rock. Arkansas. Devil's Den
Snack on Yellow Rock trail overlook

Although the overlook was the clear highlight of the hike, the rest of the trail is filled with gorgeous scenery from glimpses into the valley to little waterfalls spilling down rugged bluffs.

Small waterfall and pretty pool
Yellow Rock trail in Devil's Den State Park. Northwest Arkansas hiking
Looking back at Yellow Rock

Further along the trail, we could look back and see people enjoying the views on the Yellow Rock overlook. This was a popular spot. We saw some big groups hiking together, a couple young families like ours, and several people with their dogs.

Yellow Rock overlook
Trail signage points to overlook and trailhead

We took a right, heading back up towards our car instead of following the trail to the main trailhead that the signage points to.

Family hiking Devils Den State Park
Cedar trees

After our climb uphill, we enjoyed a nice flat section of the hike where large cedars towered on both sides of the trail. I would buy a candle that smelled like this.

My husband mapped our hike with his Garmin watch. According to GPS, we hiked a total of 2.3 miles.

Devil's Den State Park

Our girls did great on the hike walking uphills, getting muddy, feeling a little cold, and altogether staying tough. We encouraged them with snacks waiting for them when we reached the overlook and also back at the car.

They also did a good job listening. There were definitely sections that we held on tight to their hands to help them across slippery wet rocks or to ensure they staid far away from steep drop-offs. Our three-year-old needed us to give her rest and so she was carried for big sections. I feel comfortable recommending this hike for young families, but just want to point out that the trail is rated as moderate and it’s not one where kids can run ahead of you on their own.

Family hiking devil's den state park
We made it! Happy little hiker

Falling for Fayetteville – The 12 Best Things From Our First Year in Northwest Arkansas

It’s difficult to believe that we have been living in Northwest Arkansas for a year! It feels like the time went by so quickly. In honor of our upcoming one year anniversary, I thought I’d share some of our favorite things about our new home town.

1. Hiking Kessler Mountain

hiking kessler mountain in fayetteville arkansas

We feel lucky to have such a diverse trail system close to our home. Kessler Mountain has 10 trails that are used for hiking and mountain biking. There is also a fun playground for the kids. Read more…

2. Playing in the Creek

best parks with creeks in northwest arkansas. playgrounds in northwest arkansas

Forget playground equipment – my girls can spend hours just throwing rocks into water. Northwest Arkansas has a lot of river banks and creeks. Some of our favorites playgrounds with creeks to explore are Parks Springs Park in Bentonville and Gulley Park in Fayetteville.

3. Savoy Tea Co.

savoy tea co. fayetteville arkansas

Located right off the historic square in downtown Fayetteville, this tea shop is one of the sweetest places I’ve ever seen. They have tea service for little ones (and adults) and they sell a wide variety of tea you can make at home. My girls enjoy the magical unicorn tea that changes color when you add lemon. They also love choosing a cookie from their beautiful display.

4. Fishing

fishing in arkansas

We are lucky to have rivers, lakes, and ponds near our home. The girls both caught their first fish this year and are proud owners of princess fishing poles.

5. Botanical Gardens of the Ozarks

botanical gardens of the ozarks

We enjoy Little Sprouts story times at the Botanical Garden. After the program, we like to explore the twelve themed gardens. Our favorite is the Children’s Garden which has a whimsical tree house and sand play area.

6. Razorback Gymnastics

razorback gymnastics

Woo Pig Sooie! Fayetteville, Arkansas is home to the University of Arkansas. It’s fun to live in a college town because there is always something going on including a variety of athletic events. I took the girls to a Razorback Gymnastics meet and we all loved it. The team was supported by local fans and by the cheerleaders and Razorback mascot.

7. Terra Studios

terra studios arkansas

Terra Studios is an art park and gallery. They are known for their Blue Birds of Happiness. We enjoyed walking around the unique art displays, grabbing a snack at the cafe, and purchasing a crystal sun catcher that lights up our playroom with little rainbows each morning.

8. State Parks

state parks in arkansas

Arkansas is called the Natural State. We are lucky to have several state parks in Northwest Arkansas. Our favorites are Devil’s Den and Hobbs State Park.

9. Biking in Northwest Arkansas

biking in northwest arkansas

Our family has dived into NWA’s biking culture. Our oldest daughter learned how to ride her bike without training wheels this summer which was very exciting. We enjoyed a family bike day at Lake Atalanta in Rogers, Arkansas and the girls loved the Bike Playground in Bentonville. My husband and I went on a lot of ‘bike and brewery’ dates on the Razorback Greenway trail which was a blast. I wrote about our favorite sections of the trail and breweries here…

10. Buffalo National River Area

hiking waterfalls national buffalo river

Although we haven’t gone floating down the famous Buffalo National River since we’ve moved here, we have enjoyed hiking around this scenic area. The waterfalls are truly amazing! We visited the remarkable Lost Valley Trail and Triple (Twin) Falls.

11. Farmland Adventures

farmland adventures in springdale arkansas

This autumn we enjoyed the pony rides, farm animals, sunflowers, pumpkins, giant hay stacks (plus more!) at Farmland Adventures in Springdale, Arkansas.

12. NWA Local Restaurants

best family-friendly restaurants in northwest arkansas

Going out to eat as a young family can be a little difficult, but we’ve found several places that our family enjoys including: The Farmer’s Table Cafe, Tiny Tim’s Pizza, Hammontree’s Grilled Cheese, Penguin Ed’s Barbecue, Wright’s BBQ, and the Bean Cafe at War Eagle Mill. We are also fans of Arsagas coffee – the girls ask for banana bread each time we visit the Fayetteville Library location.

This list is a continuation of the list I created after our first month in NWA, “Our 9 Favorite Things Since Moving to Arkansas Last Month” (#9 is what I’m most grateful for). I’m happy to look back and see how much we’ve enjoyed our first year. Let me know if I missed one of your favorites.

Devil’s Den Self-Guided Trail in Northwest Arkansas

Given our obvious love for Rocky Mountain National Park, many of our friends and family members were a bit surprised that we moved a couple hours further away. This winter we relocated from Kansas City, Missouri to Fayetteville, Arkansas for my husband’s job. During our ‘research trips’ we got really excited about all of the outdoor activities and attractions that Northwest Arkansas has to offer.

Views of Boston Mountains, Devil's Den State Park
Lookout over Boston Mountains

Devil’s Den State Park

Back in July we decided to spend a weekend in Fayetteville, AR to explore the area. One of the highlights of our trip was hiking in Devil’s Den State Park which is a half hour drive from Fayetteville. Devil’s Den Road, which leads into the park, is one of the most scenic and curvy roads I’ve ever been on. We stopped into the ranger station for information about the park’s trail system and decided to do the self-guided tour.

Family hiking in Northwest Arkansas

The trail is 1.5 miles and rated as moderate with several steep uphill and downhill stretches.

Caves in Devil's Den State Park
‘Do bats live in there?’

We enjoyed mountain views and were intrigued by caves and unique rock formations.

Unique rock formations in Devil's Den State Park

I was very proud of our preschooler for walking the entire trail by herself. There were some steep drop-offs, so we held her hand and kept a close eye on her.

Crossing over a wooden bridge on Self Guided Tour in Devil's Den State Park

Both girls did a great job and rocked their first hike in Arkansas. We can’t wait to explore Devil’s Den State Park again soon.

Little hikers in Northwest Arkansas
You could say they are naturals? (haha, because Arkansas is the Natural State)

Have you hiked in Northwest Arkansas? We would LOVE to get hike suggestions.