5 min read

Arkansas Hidden Gems: 15 Dog-Friendly Trails with Epic Waterfalls

Imagine your pup's tail wagging amid Arkansas's majestic waterfalls. These 15 trails promise adventure and tail-wagging moments on every path. Pack a leash, let's hike into a world where every step unveils a new wonder!

Tobi Miles
June 3, 2022

You’ll find hiking trails in state parks all over the state of Arkansas. Whether it’s difficulty level, trail type, trail distance, or elevation gain, you’ll be able to find the perfect trail for the excursion. You’ll come across various terrains that include pine forests and mountain ranges. Whether you’re looking for a strenuous climb or a family day at the waterfall, Arkansas has you covered. Here are our top fifteen trails in the state of Arkansas.

** Please remember: some of the listed trails are strenuous and could take days to complete. Before making the trip, make sure you have a checklist of hiking-ready gear to bring along on your hike. Gear may include waterproof hiking boots, flashlight, water, food, camping tent, matches, rope, and a map.

15 Top Hiking Trails in Arkansas

1. Seven Hollows Trail

Credit: Stephanie K. Bates

If you’re looking for a moderately challenging hike, you’ll want to check out the Seven Hollows Trail. This trail has a decent-sized parking lot but can become busy on weekends. The first part of your hike will be downhill until you reach the hollows, after that, you’ll begin to up with some incline until you reach the parking lot.

This trail is mostly rocky so make sure you bring a good pair of hiking boots. During your hike, you will pass through several canyons through the pine forest. The best time to hike is during the spring when you can get a glimpse of the creeks and waterfall. This trail doesn’t have any restrooms so make sure you go before making the hike.

Based on reviews, visitors say to bring plenty of water and conserve your energy. The trail is also quiet and very easy to navigate.

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 4.4 Miles

Total Elevation Gain: 603 Feet

2. Lost Valley Trail

Credit: Gunnar Rathbun

Lost Valley Trail is one of the most popular trails in Arkansas. If you’re looking for a quiet hike, we recommend going on a weekday as weekends can become crowded. When you reach Eden Falls at the end of the trail, you’ll come to a gorgeous waterfall. You can continue your climb but exercise precautions because it will become more treacherous. It will take you about two hours to complete the hike while exploring the rocks and waterfalls.

There is no fee to hike this trail and you’ll need to leave your furry friends at home. If you plan on entering the cave, make sure you bring a flashlight for dark areas. You’ll also have to crawl a bit to see the waterfall on the inside. Based on reviews, visitors have said the first mile of this trail is easy, with the rest being moderately challenging. Visitors love visiting the waterfall and taking a swim on a hot day.

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 2.3 MilesTotal Elevation Gain: 252 Feet

Related Read: 65 BEST Things To Do In Arkansas

3. King’s Bluff Trail

Credit: Granger Meador

King’s Bluff trail has beautiful rock formations and amazing overlooks. On your hike, you’ll be able to see the one hundred and fourteen-foot waterfall, which is one of the tallest waterfalls in the state of Arkansas. The beginning of this trail starts in a wooded area and is leveled out before you start to descend.

While on your hike around the bluffs, you’ll want to make sure you take extra precautions as serious injury may occur. The view is gorgeous especially in October when you can see all of the beautiful fall colors. Make sure to bring a good pair of trail shoes or hiking boots.

Based on reviews, visitors love the waterfall and the trail’s up and down climbs. It’s a well-maintained trail and a great spot for a picnic.

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 1.9 MilesTotal Elevation Gain: 295 Feet

4. Cedar Falls Trail

Credit: AR Nature Gal

The Cedar Falls trail has the most-attractive waterfall in Arkansas. Roundtrip, this hike should take you around ninety minutes to complete. You will see that in the first part of your hike you’ll descend to the creek. The trail is well-maintained and easy to follow, so you shouldn’t have any problems with staying on track.

Once you reach the bottom of the trail, you’ll reach a footbridge that crosses over to Cedar Creek. After you have reached and enjoyed the falls, be prepared for a steep climb back. Based on reviews, visitors love the waterfall and the fact that this trail is dog-friendly. If you have problems with mobility, they do not recommend hiking this trail.

Difficulty: ModerateDistance: 1.9 MilesTotal Elevation Gain: 367 Feet

5. Glory Hole Trail

Credit: Windy

Glory hole is a moderately rated hike that has one of the most unique waterfalls in the world. There is a hole that is drilled through an overhanging bluff. After a good rain, you’ll have an amazing view of it. Before your hike, make sure you bring a good set of hiking boots because the woods are rocky and can be pretty rough.

Based on reviews, visitors say to make sure you have a good set of directions before beginning your hike to find the falls. There are no signs and it’s not very well-maintained. This trail will take you about forty-five minutes to complete.

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 1.9 MilesTotal Elevation Gain: 410 Feet

6. Falls Branch Trail

Credit: Mike Goad

Falls Branch Trail is one of the best hikes to complete in Arkansas during the fall. If you want a quick trial to complete, pack up the family and make a trip. During your hike, you’ll stroll across creeks and through the forest. Kids especially love this trail because of the footbridge and being able to look over it. The best part about this hike is the waterfall. The waterfall empties into a blue hole that shines off the rocks.

Based on reviews, visitors love bringing their families on this hike. Just know that some parts can become rough so make sure the kids have appropriate hiking shoes. The trail is well-maintained with beautiful views.

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 1.7 MilesTotal Elevation Gain: 209 Feet

Related Read: 25 Best Camping Spots in Arkansas

7. Collins Creek Trail

Credit: Jon Nichols

Collins Creek is a MUST hike when considering a trail you want to accomplish. If you’re a beginner hiker, this is a great one to start with. The trail is rated as easy, perfect even for kids, and even has a portion that is handicap accessible. The trail has areas of flat rock and small pools that your kids will enjoy splashing in.

If you’re looking for a photo-worthy area, you’ll want to check out the cascades. Visitors love to use this spot for family, engagement, and even maternity photos. Based on reviews, visitors say this trail is well-maintained, stroller-friendly, and has beautiful scenery.

Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 1.2 MilesTotal Elevation Gain: 131 Feet

8. Hidden Pond Trail

Credit: Brian Cormack

The Hidden Pond trail is one of the three trails you’ll find on Sugarloaf Mountain. It is a quick, easy hike that the whole family will enjoy. It is handicap accessible and a great warm-up hike if you plan on making a day out of it. Afterward, you can rest at their beautiful picnic area that overlooks Hidden Pond at the end of the trail. On your way to the top, you’ll come across benches for resting. Even though it’s an easy hike, you’ll still run into a few steep areas.

Based on reviews, visitors love the beautiful views of Greers Family Lake and the Herber area. They also recommend bringing a good pair of hiking shoes, especially for smaller children for areas that involve climbing.

Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 0.4 MilesTotal Elevation Gain: 16 Feet

9. Pedestal Rocks Trail

Credit: Dan Davis

The Pedestal Rocks trail is one of the hidden gems of Arkansas, so before you make the travel, make sure you fill up your gas tank because it’s not anywhere close. Also, make sure to pack plenty of food and water for the hike. The perfect time to visit Pedestal Rocks is during the fall when the colors are in full force on the trees. During your hike, you’ll get to see the Stone Towers once you reach the end of the trail.

Since there are a lot of steep drop-offs on this trail, we recommend leaving small children at home. Based on reviews, the trails are easy to follow, but not suitable for small children. The cliffs are tough, but the views and caves are gorgeous to explore.

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 2.5 MilesTotal Elevation Gain: 300 Feet

Related Read: 15 BEST Restaurants in Fayetteville, AR

10. Mirror Lake Trail

Credit: Brad Sims

If you’re looking for an easy, peaceful hike, you can’t go wrong with Mirror Like Trail. This hike is under two miles long, so don’t worry if you want to bring the kids. It’s a hike the entire family will enjoy. The main attraction of this trail is the gorgeous lake and the waterfalls that come out of the caverns. One of the best uses of the lake is that it’s perfect for trout fishing, so don’t shy away from bringing your fishing pole.

Depending on what season you decide to make this hike, the rainfall can change the lake waters from blue to green. No matter when you decide to take the trip, you will always get a picture-worthy photo. Based on reviews, visitors say this hike is easy and has great views. Before making the trip, be sure to bring a good pair of hiking boots, as parts of this trail can become muddy, especially after a rainfall.

Difficulty: EasyDistance: 0.9 MilesTotal Elevation Gain: 72 Feet

Related Read: 25 Top Treehouse Rentals in Arkansas

11. Great Blue Heron Trail

Credit: shooter1229

The Great Blue Heron trail is located at Lake Poinsett State Park. It’s an easy trail that the whole family can enjoy. While on this hike you’ll get a beautiful view of the lake, and may even see some white-tailed deer, foxes, squirrels, and wood ducks. If you’re an avid bird watcher, this trail offers some of the best viewing opportunities. This hike is perfect for small children and is dog-friendly as long as they are leashed.

Based on reviews, this is a well-marked trail with a variety of wildlife to encounter. If you go during the right time, you can even experience the smell of honeysuckle.

Difficulty: EasyDistance: 1 MileTotal Elevation Gain: 42 Feet

12. Eagle Rock Loop Trail

Credit: Jonathan

The Eagle Rock Loop trail is the hardest trail you’ll find to complete in Arkansas. The trail has steep climbs, and spacious views, and is very challenging for those who want to attempt its hike. If planning to hike this trail, make sure to bring your backpack and come VERY prepared. This hike will challenge your body, but the landscapes will be rewarding. It will take you about eleven hours and forty-five minutes to complete.

Please be aware that there are many portions with creeks on the trail. If there has been recent wet weather, water could be high so make sure you bring a good pair of hiking boots. Print off a map ahead of time as there is very little cellphone reception.

Based on reviews, visitors have said they’ve completed this hike in about four days. It has water crossings, creeks, waterfalls, and campsites along the trails.

Difficulty: Difficult

Distance: 26.5 MilesTotal Elevation Gain: 3,966 Feet

13. Caddo Bend Trail

Credit: Doc Gibson

The Caddo Bendo trail is a moderately challenging hike that goes in a clockwise direction. As you’re hiking along, you’ll notice distance markers about every half mile to keep you updated. The hike has a variety of up and downhill climbing. The trail can be a bit challenging due to rock cover and roots.

If you were curious, you can bring dogs along on this trail as long as they are leashed. You can also bring your kayak along if you’re up for kayaking on the water. Based on reviews, visitors say this hike will give you beautiful views of the lake and gradual climbs. The trail is well-marked but can become slippery in some rocky places.

Difficulty: ModerateDistance: 4 MilesTotal Elevation Gain: 790 Feet

14. Bridal Veil Falls Trail

Credit: Brian Cormack

Bridal Veil Falls trail is an easy trail for the beginner hiker. If you’re into scenic beauty and hidden gems, you’ll want to give this one a look. While on your hike, you’ll be able to visit two unique waterfalls. One waterfall that lets you even walk underneath! The trails will lead you down a flight of stairs to an observation deck where you can look at the falls and take photos.

Before your hike, make sure you bring a pair of waterproof boots to walk through the waters. There are points where it will become steel and rocky so make sure you use extra caution. Based on reviews, visitors have said to make sure you get to this trail early or on a weekday as it can become crowded. The best time to check out the waterfalls is after a good rainfall.

Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 0.4 MilesTotal Elevation Gain: 68 Feet

15. Whitaker Point Trail

Credit: Grangor Meador

While hiking this moderately challenging trail, you’ll go through areas of descent and inclines. The trail is well-maintained and has a bundle of trees that provide enough shade for relief from the sun and heat. Make sure you bring a good pair of waterproof hiking boots as there are streams you may cross. While hiking alongside the cliff, use extreme caution and avoid getting close to the edge.

Based on reviews, visitors have said there are lots of rocks and fallen trees on this trail. The trail has amazing views but can become crowded at times. If you’re looking for a quiet hike, you may want to opt for a different trail.

Difficulty: ModerateDistance: 2.9 MilesTotal Elevation Gain: 413 Feet

Article updated:
January 5, 2024

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