With the summer heat just around the corner, you might have to wake up early to accomplish assignment #15 in the 100 Things To Do in Rogers series, which is visit Hobbs State Park. In all honesty, I love to hit the trails in the summer. It's a great place to go because it's shaded, which makes it feel much cooler than doing an activity in the sun...so get your hiking gear ready and head to Hobbs State Park. If hiking isn't your thing, but you still enjoy nature, keep reading. The Hobbs State Park Visitor's Center is a fascinating way to get up close with mother nature, but in an air-conditioned setting.
Hobbs State Park
Hobbs State Park - Conservation Area is Arkansas's largest state park and is blessed with
beautiful terrain and a diverse eco-system. Twenty-two of the park’s 60 miles of border stretch along the shores of Beaver Lake. The park lies between Beaver Lake to the north and War Eagle Creek to the south with acreage stretching across a part of Benton County southeast of Beaver Lake and extending into Madison and Carroll counties.
Hiking & Camping
The park includes a wide variety of trails. I've blogged about my love affair with Rogers Trails and Greenways, so I am really excited that I get to finally run on some trails during the War Eagle Trail Race this year at Hobbs State Park. It's the only trail run allowed in the entire park and what better way to enjoy it than by running with a few hundred friends? If you're into biking, or even riding horses, you can also do that in the park. Read on for the best trails for those activities. For a complete list of trails, click here.
The Historic Van Winkle Trail is a half-mile trail that leads hikers through a tunnel under Ark. 12 to the site of the historic Van Winkle lumber mill and home in Van Winkle Hollow on the West Fork of Little Clifty Creek. View the remnants of a sawmill and an antebellum garden owned by Peter Van Winkle during the 19th century. This is a good one for the youngsters, since it's short and easy for their little legs.
The Pigeon Roost Trail is a double-stacked loop trail, in a figure eight formation, featuring a short loop of approximately four miles for day hiking and a longer loop of eight and one half miles for overnight use. This moderately difficult trail is excellent for beginners and families looking for adventure and scenery without having to travel a great distance. Campsites are marked with signs and each has a tent pad and fire ring. The trailhead and its associated parking area are located on Ark. 12.
The 24-mile Multi-use Hidden Diversity Trail is designed for equestrians, mountain bikers, runners and hikers. Users have the option of four trail sections or loops. You’ll enjoy views of the lake and cool hollows. The trails are open to mountain bikes year-round except during
extreme wet conditions.
The one-and-one-half-mile Shaddox Hollow Nature Trail can be accessed from its trailhead parking lot located on Ark. 303, approximately one mile from the intersection on the north side of Ark. 12. The first one-half mile of this loop trail follows a ridge line, providing an easy hike. The trail then descends into Shaddox Hollow. The descent is rather steep in places, so this one can be tough for younger kids or inexperienced hikers if you go past Shaddox Hollow. This trail winds along the creek through stands of hardwoods and other native Ozark vegetation.
Besides for being the state's largest park, it's also the only park with a public, outdoor shooting range with a bullet trap and the only park that offers regulated seasonal hunting. The shooting range is open Tuesday through Sunday.
If you need a break from hiking, or just want to do something this summer out of the heat, the Hobbs State Park Visitor's Center is a great place to go. The center is huge, covering 17,531-square-feet. This state-of-the-art facility features Ozark-focused exhibits including interactive kiosks, classroom space, a retail sales area, and the park's administrative offices. The exhibits were very cool and because they were interactive, my boys (5 & 7 years old) were really interested in learning more. There were artifacts, photographs, videos, and sculptures that taught them about the park and surrounding area. The cave diorama was probably the most-fascinating part for them, especially since we had just visited War Eagle Cavern, just down the road from Hobbs State Park Visitor's Center. There was also a section where visitors are encouraged to touch items, like skulls, animal skins, feathers, antlers, etc. I love when museums have these types of displays because I'm sure my kids get tired of hearing "don't touch that!" The visitor center is on Ark. 12 near the junction with War Eagle Road. Park interpreters offer a wide diversity of programs and workshops throughout the year. For more information on events, click here.
How to Get There and What's Next
The park is 10 miles east of Rogers on Ark. 12. For driving directions to each trailhead and the visitor's center, click here.
Future development and expanded visitor programs at Hobbs State Park will include cabins, pavilions, picnic areas, additional hiking trails, and archery and orienteering courses.
What is your favorite trail or activity to do in Hobbs State Park?
When not working as a public relations professional, Jennifer Haile can usually be found playing Star Wars or pirates with her two young boys. Jennifer, an avid runner, enjoys exploring the area on foot during her free time. She and her husband Charles love camping, hiking and calling the Hogs.