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Pinnacle Mountain Loop Professional Review and Guide
"This is a challenging hike up to the rocky apex of Pinnacle Mountain, which sits high above the Arkansas River. The loop consists of the East and West Summit Trails and Base Trail. Pinnacle Mountain, rising 1,011 feet above sea level, is a well-known central Arkansas landmark with its familiar cone-shaped peak. Only 12 miles from downtown Little Rock, it is at the eastern end of the Ouachita Mountain Range. The area was designated a state park in 1977. Besides being a nice recreational area for hikers and picnickers, Pinnacle Mountain is an interesting study in geology."
--Janie & Wyatt Jones, Hiking Arkansas (Falcon Guides).
My first hike in Arkansas. My hiking partner and I set out with 2 dogs from the VIsitors Center up the East Summit. The trail was very well maintained, and the pictures from the rock quarries are worth the trip itself. The overlooks to Lake Maumelle and Little Rock are impressive, but be forewarned: this is not a beginners trail. It is steep in most spots, and while the trail is wide, it is rocky, but not overwhelmingly so. They might want to pull the old car off the peak (how did that get there?), but all-in-all, it's a great workout with solid payoff at the top and enough of a challenge to really challenge even a frequent hiker over the short distance it provides. Definately recommend this trail.
The East summit trail is significantly steeper and more strenuous than the West summit trail. Personally I love the challenge of the the hand-over-hand boulder climbing, so I go for the East Summit trail on the way up. I took my mini Schnauzer along the first time, but came to regret it near the top when even the rock faces get a little vertical! We made it ok, but no more puppies on the East side, and I wouldn't want to descend that route. The West side is a good steep, steady climb through forest for about 2/3 of it, and the last 1/3 is like boulder stairs. It pays to be in shape, but it's not nearly as steep as the East summit trail. The view is amazing and you can see Little Rock way off in the distance as well as the green AR country and Lake Maumelle. For an intense workout start out at the visitors center, hike to the East summit trailhead, climb up the East side, down the West, around the base trail and back to the visitor's center. Full day's hike and about 10 miles.
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