Monday, October 15, 2012

Crystal Bridges Museum Trails

Crystal Bridges Art Museum has an impressive network of miles and miles of diverse walking and biking trails that are well connected to the city's trail system and Compton Gardens.  Dogs are allowed on the trails ("but", I was told over the phone, "not in the museum".)  If you take a pet, you might want to look at a map online beforehand, as all of the outdoor map boxes were empty today.  

It has been a year since I last visited the trails (I've been to the museum a few times since then) and I'm glad I finally got to check them all out.  The fall foliage was starting to show up with hickories, red buds, dogwoods, and sassafras providing some amazing yellows, pinks, purples, and oranges that paired beautifully with the pines and still green oaks.  Multiple empty frames placed along the trails make a point I greatly appreciate, that nature provides us with limitless, ever-changing, incredible works of art that are free to everyone.  Each trail has its own unique character and perhaps surprisingly for someone who writes hiking books, my favorite was the very manicured...

North Lawn Trail:
I haven't seen a trail quite like it, with concrete edges, but a broad not worn, grassy path.  The fact that it leads to one of the museum's interesting buildings and a large outdoor sculpture helps boost its uniqueness and aesthetics.  This trail is pretty short, but can be used to get from the Crystal Bridges Trail to the Rock Ledge Trail.  This trail is located on the north side of the museum and is shown in green on the map below.

Crystal Bridges Trail:
This wide, paved, concrete trail connects the museum's trails to the city's trail network.  It is fairly wooded and offers some views of the museum, but is best used to get from place to place and really isn't one of the more scenic or interesting trails in the complex.

This trail is paralleled by a great dirt mountain biking trail complete with banked turns and rock bridges.  Given the numerous mountain biking trails nearby, this trail was a great idea, but a surprising choice for a world-class art museum.  This trail is shown in brown on the west side of the museum.

Art Trail: 
This 0.3 mile trail is paved and takes visitors by numerous outdoor sculptures and works of art.  I had my dog with me today, so I skipped this trail. 

Rock Ledge Trail and Dogwood Trail: These two crushed stone/gravel trails form a loop over a mile long.  They are unpaved and probably offer the most solitude of any of the trails.  The Rock Ledge Trail, appropriately enough, follows an interesting rock ledge.  These trails are also the most natural and least developed of the trails around the museum.  They are shown in tan on the northeast side of the museum on the map below.

Orchard Trail:
This half-mile concrete trail connects the museum to the upper parking area and to the trails at Orchards Park.  It is the quickest and easiest way to walk to the museum from the parking area.

Tulip Tree Trail:
This trail, shown in purple on the map below, provides an unpaved, more scenic alternate route from the upper parking area to the museum.
It connects to the museum, the Art Trail, and the short, but scenic...

Crystal Springs Trail:
This trail takes you on a short detour to a small spring.  A rock bridge takes visitors over the creek that emerges from the spring.

Tulip Tree Trail, Crystal Bridges Museum Trail Bentonville Arkansas
Tulip Tree Trail

Crystal Bridges Museum Trail Bentonville Arkansas Springs
Crystal Springs

Pool by Art Trail and Crystal Springs Trail, Crystal Bridges Museum Trail Bentonville Arkansas
Pool by Art Trail and Crystal Springs Trail

Crystal Bridges Museum Trail Bentonville Arkansas
View from Overlook on Crystal Bridges Trail

North Lawn Trail, Crystal Bridges Museum Trail Bentonville Arkansas
North Lawn Trail - Makes you wanna take off your shoes

Crystal Bridges Museum Trail Bentonville Arkansas
This painting changes every day.

Rock Ledge Trail Crystal Bridges Museum Trail Bentonville Arkansas
Rock Ledge Trail

Crystal Bridges Museum Trail Bentonville Arkansas
Museum Entrance

Orchard Trail

Interactive Map of Crystal Bridges Trails.  Click or zoom in for names.

View Crystal Bridges in a larger map

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