Northwest Arkansas Forests and State Parks
More than half of Arkansas is mountainous, and that includes the Northwest region. It's an incredibly beautiful area, with mountains heavily forested in oak, hickory and pine, and cut by rivers and streams. While there are several state parks here, one stands out as truly spectacular: Devil's Den State Park, one of the most iconic Arkansas state parks. It's only 40 minutes south of Fayetteville and inside the Ozark National Forest.
For a different sort of outdoor adventure, a drive forty minutes east of Fayetteville takes you to Withrow Springs State Park where you can enjoy a day on War Eagle Creek. And just outside the city of Rogers you'll find Hobbs State Park Conservation Area, the largest state park.
The Ozark National Forest covers more than a million acres. Head southeast out of Fayetteville, and you can be deep in the forest in less than a hour. Even if you don't care to hike or picnic in the woods, the mountainous drive through the National Forest is breathtaking.
Devil's Den State Park
This park ranks right up there among the best of the Arkansas outdoors. Lee's Creek flows through the park, and a native stone dam spans the creek in the heart of the park, creating eight-acre Lake Devil. Seventeen rustic stone and wood cabins - complete with fireplaces and kitchens--can be rented any time of year. A summertime swimming pool and a park cafe overlook the lake, and the park store carries groceries, snacks and gifts. Also 143 campsites; some are quite primitive, while others have water and electric hookups.
Hikers, mountain bikers and backpackers will find trails heading into the seclusion of the deep forest. Twenty miles of designated riding trails offer varying lengths and degrees of difficulty, and trails begin and end at a camping area restricted to those who bring horses. Mountain bikers also ride these trails, but horses have the right of way here. For more information about the park, call 479-761-3325.
Hobb's State Park Conservation Area
This park lies between Beaver Lake and War Eagle Creek, and a fair portion of the 12,056-acre park borders Beaver Lake. Hike, boat, fish, and hunt in season. Sites of historical interest, including remnants of an old sawmill. antebellum garden and evidence of slave quarters and graveyard are accessed by a paved and natural surface trail.
Because it's a conservation area, much of the park is natural woodland. Twenty-four miles of undeveloped trails take you through the woods on foot, horseback or mountain bike. The trails travel deep ravines and narrow ridges, typical of the region. 20201 E. Highway 12, Rogers. 479-789-5000. Click here for more info.
Withrow State Park
A fairly developed park, with War Eagle Creek flowing through it. Canoeing is a popular War Eagle sport--but it depends on the water levels. Canoe and kayak rentals are available. Plenty of camping spots for RVs and tents, and the campground has a modern bathhouse. Hiking trails rated from moderate to strenuous. A swimming pool is open during the summer. Picnic, or play on the ballfields and tennis courts. Off Rt. 23. Park office: 479-559-2593.
Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park
The battle of Prairie Grove was the last major Civil War engagement in Northwest Arkansas, and the land is recognized as one of our nation's most intact Civil War battlefields. Walk the one-mile Battlefield Trail or take a five-mile, self-guided driving tour. Explore the historic structures in the Ozark Village, and enjoy a guided tour through several historic houses on the grounds.
The museum and visitors' center present interactive exhibits that interpret the battle and explain how the landscape influenced strategic decisions made during the fight. Displays also explore how the war affected the people of the region.
During the first weekend of December in even-numbered years, the park hosts the state's largest battle reenactment with tours of the army and civilian camps, military drills by re-enactors, and living history programs and period crafts demonstrations. At 10 a.m. each day, battle charges and counterattacks are re-enacted on the actual battlefield.
The rest of the year the battlefield is quiet, and tourists can stroll the grounds, and if inclined, participate in the Geocache Tour, which is a 15-point virtual cache tour. 506 East Douglas Street,Prairie Grove. More information at 479-846-2990.
Ozarks National Forest
More than a million acres of forest, easily accessible from anyplace in the I-540 Corridor. Head south past Fayetteville on I-540 and turn west or east into the forest. To the east are miles and miles of wooded trails. The western sector is smaller, but you will also find Devil's Den State Park there. These magnificent woodlands are filled with wildlife, birds, native trees and plants, and the typical regional ridge and valley landscape.