10 Tips for Northwest Arkansas Trails

Northwest Arkansas has an awesome assortment of trails, from the urban greenways to the challenging wilderness hikes.Here are 10 tips for fully enjoying Northwest Arkansas trails.

  1. Take advantage of online maps and guidebooks you can find at places like Uncle Sam’s Safari Outfitters. Northwest Arkansas trails include the Lake Fayetteville Trail, five and a half miles that takes you right to the Botanical Gardens of the Ozarks, seen in the photo at right. There’s also the 10 mile Mt. Sequoyah Trail, which has some challenging areas… to the 0.3 mile paved Raven Trail. In short, you never know what you’re getting into unless you look at a map ahead of time.
  2. Plan for the weather. It can be cooler in deep woods, but the sun can be hot. Layering makes you more comfortable as you move in and out of the shade. And let’s face it, Arkansas summers can be brutally hot. You’ll enjoy summer trails more if you go early in the day, and you should plan a slower pace when the temperatures are high.
  3. It’s not just the heat of the sun you should be aware of. Sun screen is a must to avoid painful sun burns. Think about wearing a hat to shield your face… and the tops of your ears, which are some of the most frequently sunburned parts of the body.
  4. Be ready for insects, too. Arkansas may not have many predatory mammals, but it has far more bugs than average. Ticks and mosquitoes carry diseases as well as making you feel itchy and uncomfortable. Long pants, long sleeves, and colors insects don’t find attractive (blue and beige) can help you avoid little pests.
  5. Snakes aren’t a major issue in Northwest Arkansas, but we have rattlers, copperheads, and water moccasins. Just keep your eyes open and don’t plunge right into tall grass. Don’t stick your hands into a hollow tree, either.
  6. There are plant pests, too. Poison oak and poison ivy can both be found on Northwest Arkansas trails. Remember: “Leaves of three, let them be.”
  7. Carry water, and water purifier as well. Uncle Sam’s has a number of options for carrying water and for filtering water you come upon. While the Ozarks generally has clean water, don’t count on being able to drink whatever water you come to. You don’t know where it’s been.
  8. Terrain can be extremely variable in the Ozarks. You need sound footing to avoid falling, so choose suitable hiking footgear. Comfortable, sturdy, well-fitting shoes and socks are essential for a happy hike, whether you’re going one mile or one hundred miles.
  9. Northwest Arkansas trails are generally not too dangerous. You won’t find skeletons by the side of the road. However, you can always get hurt. A fall can mean scraped knees and a blister can spoil your pleasure in the walk very quickly. It’s sensible to carry antiseptic wipes and Band-aids.
  10. Northwest Arkansas Trails, from the shortest and most civilized to the longest and most challenging, are stunningly beautiful. Take some pictures, take a friend, take your dog, but also take some time to enjoy the natural beauty.

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