The four regions that Arkansas hiking trails are divided into are the Northwest, the River Valley, the Southwest and the Eastern. The Northwest Region is home to the Ozark National Forest, where 28 of the state's 195 trails can be found. Just south of the Ozark Mountains lies the River Valley Region, where a person can choose from one of the region's 37 short distance trails. It is in the River Valley Region that visitors will find Mount Magazine, the highest point in Arkansas. The Southwest Arkansas Region Trails provide access to the Ouachita National Forest (pictured above). The Ouachita Trail, which is 223 miles long, is noted as the longest trail in Arkansas. The Eastern Region, made of a series of 34 trails, is home to short distant hikes, all easy-to-moderate in difficulty. Although the average trail is 3 miles long, the Delta Heritage Trail is a 73-mile trail created along the Mississippi Delta to be used by hikers and bicyclists.
The time spent on any Arkansas hiking trail is simply up to the individual hiker. The majority of trails pass through or very near campground sites, so you can rest as long or as often as you would like. The two longest trails, the Ouachita Trail and the Ozark Highland Trail, both have numerous access points to allow you to enter and exit wherever you wish. By using the access points, you can plan to spend a few hours or several days on the trail.
The hiking trails of Arkansas are home to countless waterfalls, all of them measuring over 50 feet. The majority of the waterfalls are located in the Northwest area of the state. The most sought-after waterfall is on the Hemmed-In Hollow Trail, located in Compton, Arkansas. The Hemmed-In Hollow Waterfall rises 209 feet and is the tallest waterfall located between the Rockies and the Appalachian Mountain Ranges. Even though the trail leading to the waterfall is only 5 miles long, it is extremely difficult terrain. In addition to the waterfalls, hikes along many trail systems in Arkansas will lead you past historic farms and homesteads that are tucked away in the wilderness, long ago forgotten by the rapid progressions of modern society.
Before setting out on a hike, do research concerning the trail you wish to explore. The Northwest Region Trails are often the most difficult of terrain. Many trails exhibit narrow paths and dangerous bluffs. Trails in the River Valley Region are rated easy-to-moderate, and all allow dogs to accompany you on your hike. In the Southwest Region, many trails are in a loop to enable you to come back to your starting point. One loop specifically is the Eagle Rock Loop, located in the Ouachita National Forest. Eagle Rock is a nearly 27-mile loop, which is noted to be the longest loop in Arkansas. When trekking in the Eastern Regional Trails, you will find that most trails are relatively short and easy. Out of the 34 trails in the area, four of them are wheelchair accessible: The Knapp Trail, Historic Site Trail, Lake Ponder and The Louisiana Purchase Boardwalk.