Monday, October 21, 2013

5 Largest State Parks in Arkansas

Here are the five largest state parks in Arkansas.  Which have you been to?  What were your favorite trails?

Note: These rankings are impacted by whether water area is included.  Many parks border or contain large lakes and whether the area of the lake should be included in comparisons of this type is a bit of a grey area.

1.  Hobbs - 12,056 acres.  Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area is located on the south shore of Beaver Lake in Northwest Arkansas.  It is the largest state park, but is co-managed by Arkansas State Parks, Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.  The park has a large visitor center and many miles of hiking and biking trails.

2.  Village Creek - 6,909 acres.  Village Creek State Park is located on Crowley's Ridge and is quite different from Hobbs.  While the park has some trails and highlights the unique ecosystems found on Crowley's Ridge; it also features a golf-course, tennis courts, and two man-made lakes for fishing and boating.  You can read more about the park here on my blog.

3.  Cossatot - 5,401 acres.  Located south of Mena, near the western edge of the state, Cossatot River State Park-Natural Area is another co-managed park.  It is designated a National Wild and Scenic River and has some of the best whitewater in the central United States.  The park has four trails that connect most of the river access areas and highlight the ecological diversity of the area.

4.  Petit Jean - 3,471 acres.  Petit Jean is one of the crown jewels of the state park system and is probably my favorite.  It has incredible views, interesting rock formations, an amazing waterfall, and great trails covering a wide range of difficulties.  

5.  Devil's Den - 2,500 acres.  Devil's Den State Park, located near West Fork and Fayetteville, closes out the list.  Known for its rock formations, the park also has nice hiking and mountain biking opportunities.  After a long hike, I enjoy going to Cedar Flats Swimming Hole, which is located near the park.

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