It is easy to see how Eureka Springs, Arkansas, can transport a visitor back to the Victorian era. The architecture, local landmarks and a location that's locked in the heart of the Ozark Mountains makes it a magical place for getting away from the hectic pace of everyday life. Wildlife and nature serve as a breathtaking backdrop to the multitude of outdoor activities found in Eureka Springs. Find out what there is to do to soak up Arkansas' natural beauty.
Biking in Leatherwood Park
Beacham Trail is a great trail for beginners for both hiking and biking. This four-mile trail, located in Lake Leatherwood Park, has a hard-packed surface and rock ledges perfect for enjoying the view. Nearby, Dam Overlook Bike Trail presents four miles of gorgeous scenery, with several switchbacks and a slight elevation if ridden clockwise. Minor's Rock Mountain Bike Trail is another popular trail. The first half mile gives bikers a nice incline to warm up their muscles, but after that portion it is smooth sailing. This singletrack trail has one small portion that meets with Lake Leatherwood Park road.
White River is home to literally thousands of trout. Trout fishing is one of the most talked-about sports in Eureka Springs. During the wet months the river moves at a furious pace, yet is calm for most of the year. Along the river you will find pastures, forests and overhanging trees that provide much-needed shade in the summer. Fishermen congregate below Beaver Dam and Bull Shoals Dam for the cold waters that attract trout. The upper portion of White River has a variety of bass and catfish catching. Use a very light line for catching fish, because the water is especially clear. The Arkansas Game and Fishing Commission stock the river yearlong with brown and rainbow trout.
Kings River begins high in the mountainous region of Madison County. This river twists toward White River before flowing into Table Rock Lake in Missouri. Smallmouth bass are the most sought-after fish in this river. Many of the springs and deep pools surprise fishermen with their larger than average sized fish. It is best to be prepared for anything and use a 10- to 12-lb. line.
People are drawn from all over the country to explore the multitude of caves in Arkansas. It's easy to forget when taking advantage of all the natural splendor of the Ozark Mountains that there is an entire world just below the surface. Wild cave exploring requires obtaining a permit if you go without a guide. One of the most visited caves, Lost Valley Trail Cave, has a 35-foot waterfall. When caving, it is important to have all of the proper gear and to never go caving on your own.
For those who want to see caves without the hard exercise, there are several show caves to check out like Cosmic Caverns, War Eagle Cavern, Hurricane River Cave and Blanchard Springs Cavern. One of the amazing things about taking a cave tour is that the caves your explore are still changing formations. The dripping water leaves minerals that are constantly altering the formations in the caves. Taking a guided cave tour during the summer is a wonderful way to beat the summer heat. In fact, you may want to bring a sweater because temperatures can get down to the 50s and 60s.