What to expect

Arkansas has 313 trails including medium and easy trails. The trail with the highest elevation climb is the Champion Cypress Tree Trail and the one with the least climb is the Magazine Mountain via Signal Hill Trail. The longest trail is Ozark Highlands Trail at 246 km. To complete this hike you should budget at least 15 days. For a shorter adventure, you can try the Massard Prairie Battlefield Loop Trail a t 315 m. This could be done in as little as 1 days. Trails with the best offering of hostels include Lets Roll, Speed Queen and Waffles and Coffee Loop, Boyle Park Loop, Lee Trail and Fossil Flats Loop, Sunset Trail, and Buffalo River Walk.

Guide to hiking in Arkansas

Be prepared for hiking in Arkansas with the HiiKER app

FAQs about hiking in Arkansas

What is the climate like for hiking in Arkansas?

Arkansas experiences a humid subtropical climate with distinct seasons that can affect hiking conditions. Spring (March to May) offers mild temperatures and blooming wildflowers. Summer (June to August) brings hot and humid weather, so hikers should plan for early morning or late afternoon hikes. Autumn (September to November) showcases vibrant fall foliage, while winter (December to February) can bring cooler temperatures and occasional snowfall. The best time to hike in Arkansas is generally during the spring and autumn when temperatures are more comfortable. It's advisable to check local weather forecasts and trail conditions before planning a hike.
To stay updated on weather conditions and plan your hiking trips in Arkansas, visit the National Weather Service's website (https://www.weather.gov/lzk/) for regional forecasts and alerts. The Arkansas State Parks website (https://www.arkansasstateparks.com/) provides information on hiking trails, park rules, and safety guidelines to ensure an enjoyable and safe hiking experience.

Do I need a permit to hike in Arkansas?

When planning a hiking trip in Arkansas, it's important to be aware of any permits required for certain areas or activities. The Arkansas State Parks system manages many of the state's parks and trails. Contact the specific park or visit their website for information on permits, fees, and regulations. It's advisable to obtain permits in advance to ensure compliance and a smooth hiking experience. Check the Arkansas State Parks website (https://www.arkansasstateparks.com/) for detailed information on specific permits and regulations.

Is wild camping allowed in Arkansas?

When it comes to wild camping in Arkansas, it's important to be aware of the regulations and guidelines. While some areas allow primitive camping, it's advisable to use designated campsites and obtain proper permits. The Arkansas State Parks system provides information on camping options, rules, and restrictions on their website (https://www.arkansasstateparks.com/). Practice Leave No Trace principles and be respectful of the environment and private property.

Are there mountain rescue services in Arkansas?

In the event of an emergency while hiking in Arkansas, it's important to know who to contact for assistance. The Arkansas State Parks system, local law enforcement, and emergency services are available for help. In case of a mountain rescue or any emergency situation, dial emergency services at 911. It's advisable to inform someone about your hiking plans and carry a means of communication, such as a mobile phone, in case of emergencies.

Are there dangerous plants in Arkansas?

When hiking in Arkansas, hikers can expect to encounter a diverse range of flora across the state's landscapes. Forests of oak, hickory, and pine trees are common, along with flowering plants like dogwood, redbud, and various wildflowers. Wetland areas are abundant with cypress and tupelo trees. Each region of Arkansas offers its own unique flora. To learn more about the flora of Arkansas, consult resources such as the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission (https://www.naturalheritage.com/) or the Arkansas Native Plant Society (https://www.anps.org/).

What wildlife should I be aware of when hiking in Arkansas?

While hiking in Arkansas, hikers may encounter a variety of insects and animals in the state's natural habitats. Look out for birds such as cardinals and woodpeckers, as well as mammals like white-tailed deer, squirrels, and raccoons. Snakes, including copperheads and rattlesnakes, can also be found. Wetland areas are home to amphibians like frogs and turtles. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (https://www.agfc.com/) provides information on wildlife species and their habitats in Arkansas.