Arkansas Hike – War Eagle Trail in Withrow Springs State Park

withrow springs state park

‘Oh the weather outside is’…. beautiful! I’m excited that we kicked off our Christmas vacation with family time outdoors. The weather was sunny with temperatures in the 60s when we headed to Withrow Springs State Park. The park is located near Huntsville, Arkansas which is approximately 20 minutes away from our home in Northwest Arkansas. Entrance into the park is free. Dogs are allowed on a leash.

Withrow Springs has three hiking trails (click here for map) along with campsites and a visitor center. Additional attractions include a fishing pond, natural spring, picnic areas, swimming pool, playground, tennis courts, baseball fields, and kayak/canoe rental service. Some of the amenities are seasonal. Visitors can call 479-559-2593 for more information.

War Eagle Trail in Withrow Springs State Park. Arkansas State Parks

war eagle trail

We decided to hike along the War Eagle Trail so we could enjoy the river and bluff views. We parked at the trail parking lot and began the 1 mile/way hike which follows along War Eagle Creek.

War Eagle Trail in Withrow Springs State Park. Arkansas State Parks
War Eagle Trail in Withrow Springs State Park. Arkansas State Parks

Easy, but narrow Trail

This trail is rated as ‘easy’, but there are several places along the trail which become very narrow and steep. We took things slow and held hands with our young daughters (ages 2 and 5) through these sections.

War Eagle Trail in Withrow Springs State Park. Arkansas State Parks
War Eagle Trail in Withrow Springs State Park. Arkansas State Parks
War Eagle Trail in Withrow Springs State Park. Arkansas State Parks

cave

There is a small cave that marks the halfway point on the hike. The cave is closed to “help prevent the spread of White Nose Syndrome among Arkansas’ bat population,” according to state park officials. For us, this added to the mystery – the girls enjoyed peaking inside and were curious what could be found in the dark.

War Eagle Trail in Withrow Springs State Park. Arkansas State Parks
War Eagle Trail in Withrow Springs State Park. Arkansas State Parks

After the cave, the trail climbs uphill through forest.

War Eagle Trail in Withrow Springs State Park. Arkansas State Parks

The girls were excited to bring their own backpacks which held snacks and water bottles.

War Eagle Trail in Withrow Springs State Park. Arkansas State Parks

scenic views

The burst uphill is rewarded with scenic views from a 150 foot bluff overlook. This is the highlight of the hike and worth taking a moment to stop and enjoy the views of the surrounding Ozarks.

War Eagle Trail in Withrow Springs State Park. Arkansas State Parks
War Eagle Trail in Withrow Springs State Park. Arkansas State Parks

After we passed the bluff, the trail soon flattened out and led to a turn-around point. We decided to cross the street (ARK Hwy 23) to have a snack at the picnic tables located near the Keith Ham Pavilion and the starting point of the Dogwood Trail.

The girls and I staid behind with our snacks while my husband hiked one mile back along the War Eagle Trail to get our car. We made this decision because we were a little nervous to travel back down some of the steeper sections of the trail with our girls.

War Eagle Trail in Withrow Springs State Park. Arkansas State Parks

first day hike

Looking for a great way to kick off 2020? The staff at Withrow Springs will be hosting a one-mile hike that covers the Dogwood Trail and portions of the War Eagle Trail on the morning of January 1, 2020. More info…

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.

Hiking Kessler Mountain Trails in Fayetteville, Arkansas

When I meet people these days I typically ask them about their favorite local restaurants and their favorite places to hike near our new home in Fayetteville, Arkansas. We’ve got a lot of great hiking suggestions, but Kessler Mountain was on the top of many lists. When we were blessed with a warm winter morning, we decided we would seize the opportunity to explore Kessler Mountain Regional Park.

Here is a link to the Kessler Trail map. There are 10 trails in the park with different levels of difficulty.

Kessler Mountain Regional Park in Fayetteville Arkansas. Hiking.
Kessler Mountain Regional Park

We decided to start on the Last Call trail which is 1.2 miles. Portions of the trail were muddy from recent rain, but for the most part we enjoyed good hiking conditions.

Family Hiking trails in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Northwest Arkansas. Hiking.

As first time visitors, we appreciated the directional trail signage.

Last Call and Terrapin Station trails in Kessler Mountain

Hiking with toddlers means exploring every rock, tree and bridge we cross.

Kessler Mountain.
Kessler Mountain

The trails were well used by both hikers and mountain bikers. The rule is mountain bikers should yield to hikers, but we definitely kept our eyes and ears open to make sure the girls were safely out of the way. Everyone was very polite and patient with us!

Kessler Mountain Fayetteville Arkansas

When we reached the end of Last Call, we had a few options. 1. turn around to go back. 2. take a right uphill towards Terrapin Station trail. 3. take a left downhill towards Terrapin Station trail.

Out of curiosity, we headed uphill and found the main reason to continue is to join up with other trails like Crazy Mary. (I was kind of hoping for a lookout, but we didn’t see much besides water towers) So, we turned around and headed downhill on the Terrapin Station trail which is .9 miles. This was our favorite portion of the hike because it felt the most secluded.

Bluffs Fayetteville Arkansas
Awesome bluffs and rock formations

I think winter is a great time to hike because you get great views of bluffs and rocks that you might miss when the trees are thick and green. I also don’t worry as much about snakes, ticks and mosquitoes.

Winter hiking northwest arkansas
These rocks reminded me of the trolls in the movie Frozen. Just me!?

Soon after the trail split between Terrapin Station and Chinkapin Oak, it joined back into the LastĀ CallĀ trail and zig zagged back down to our starting point.

terrapin station and chinkapin oak

We promised our girls a cookie and play time at the park’s playground as a reward for good behavior on the hike. We were blown away by how great they did. Our four-year-old walked all 2.5 miles on her own! And, our two-year-old walked impressive stretches and rode happily on Dad’s shoulders for the remainder.

playground at Kessler mountain park in Fayetteville arkansas
The playground at Kessler Mountain is a fun outdoor themed space for little ones to climb and slide.

Near the playground, a path connects to the paved Cato Springs Trail which is 3 miles long and joins the Razorback Greenway Trail. (according to an article we found from the Fayetteville Flyer)

I was curious about the unique names of some of the trails in the park and started googling them when we got home. Terrapin Station is the name of a Grateful Dead album. Crazy Mary is a Pearl Jam song. Is this a coincidence? Or, am I starting to figure out the theme? If someone knows the answer, please share!

Now that we’ve been to Kessler Mountain Park, I can see why others recommended it. We can’t wait to go back and explore more of the trails.