Last year I wrote a blog post called Hometown Hikes, where I wrote about trails inside or right outside Hot Springs, Ark. But if you are looking to expand a little further out of Hot Springs, here are three trails that are about an hour’s drive from my hometown. I’ll give you my favorite Hot Springs Hikes.
Pinnacle Mountain State Park
The first trail I am including in Hot Springs Hikes is the summit trail at Pinnacle Mountain State Park.
Pinnacle Mountain not only has an excellent view, but it is also extremely close to Little Rock. So if you want to go for a hike, then out for a craft beer or ice cream, this is your trail.
The hike is a strenuous one, but it is short. It climbs about 750 in three quarters of a mile, which is the equivalent to to a 100 feet a mile. That’s steep.
There are two ways to summit the mountain. You can take the route up the east side or the west side. I have only hiked the west side, which is the easy one. But by easy I mean it is only half boulder scrambling.
The view from the top is well worth the climb and gasps for breath on the way up. Because it is so close to Little Rock, it is a popular trail so don’t expect to be in solitude.
And with it being so strenuous, it just makes that beer or ice cream taste all the better.
Hunt’s Loop Trail
The second trail I am including in Hot Springs Hikes is the Hunt’s Loop Trail in the Ouachita National Forest.
I wrote about Hiking Hunt’s Loop Trail last spring. But this is one of my favorite hikes, and it is about a 30- to 45-minute drive from Hot Springs.
The trailhead is located on Highway 7 north of Jessieville. The loop is right at four miles long. If you begin your hike by going to the left, the trail is strenuous for a little ways as it climbs a mountain but then easy the rest of the way.
I have never hiked it going to the right, but I imagine it is easier because the incline is much more steady. Going to the left, you immediately go straight up to the top of the mountain and then slowly back down.
Unlike Pinnacle, Hunt’s Loop is a great trail if you want to avoid the crowds. It begins at the Iron Springs Recreation Area, which is nice for a picnic.
Winding Stairs Trail
Depending on where you leave Hot Springs, the Winding Stairs segment of the Little Missouri Trail might be a little more than an hour’s drive. I’m including it into my Hot Springs Hikes because it is my favorite trail.
The Little Missouri River’s natural beauty is unmatched by anything in this area.
I have also written a more detailed blog post about this trail called Winding Stairs – Little Missouri River.
The Little Missouri Trail is located along the Little Missouri River in southwest Arkansas. I love this area. I love the rugged terrain, and the remoteness of it.
The Winding Stairs portion is only two miles of the entire 16-mile Little Missouri Trail. The namesake for the Winding Stairs is a series of bends and rapids causing the river to drop down rapidly in elevation.
The trail crosses the river a few times, so bring river shoes and be ready to get your feet wet. The trail also gives you beautiful views above the river, but the hike is not too steep. At the end of the trail segment, the river creates a series of rapids and deep pools. These are excellent for swimming or floating down on an inner tube.
Hot Springs Hikes
One reason I love living in Hot Springs is that there are so many hikes extremely close. But once you’ve hiked all of those located within the city or right outside, you can broaden your experience by only driving a little further out.