At the end of 2019, right after turning 50, I decided to set a goal for 2020 of hiking somewhere new in Arkansas each month for the year. At the end of March of 2020, I hiked the self guided Indian Rock House trail.
During the year, I embarked on many midlife adventures hiking Arkansas and my eyes were opened to the the amazing natural beauty that is right outside my door in Arkansas.
Little did I know what 2020 would bring, in more ways than one!
Right after my January hike, I found out that I was going to have to undergo a hysterectomy. It was a blow, but after talking to other women who had gone through this, I was determined not to let this stop me from my hike-a-month intention.
I got a February hike in at Petit Jean the weekend before surgery and began walking the day after surgery. Not as much walking at first as much as shuffling from one room to another! By the end of March, I was up to 3 miles and I was ready to take on my March hike.
I tell that story to make a point: ANYONE CAN HIKE! In my region of the State of Arkansas, there are so many trails within an hour or two at a variety of levels. Discovering the State and Federal parks and many bushwhack hikes has been amazing.
In March I hiked one of my favorite trails: the Indian Rockhouse Trail located 14 miles South of Yellville on Highway 14 to about 3 miles down Highway 268 on the Buffalo River. This hiking trail has many interesting features including a cave, streams, waterfall, an old zinc mine, sinkhole, and quarry.
The trail itself is about 3 ½ miles long and is considered a loop trail, meaning it loops around from the entrance of the trailhead. There is quite a bit of uphill hiking out, and I will admit it was tougher than I remembered post surgery!
However, the spring inside the back of the cave and the cave itself are worth it. Not to mention the natural bathtub, mine, and walking along the stream. I took lots of breaks. No shame in resting along the way and it provides a chance to take in the beautiful scenery (that’s what I tell myself anyway).
The Indian Rockhouse Trail is a perfect early spring to late spring hike; it is best when there is water flowing in the seasonal stream and the waterfall. Also, as I have learned from other trails, avoid going in the dead of summer due to the infamous Arkansas heat and spiderwebs!
Good trail snacks, water and a backpack is needed as it is a good 3+ hour hike to see it all. There is parking across the road from the trailhead at Buffalo Point picnic area.
There is an abundance of resources and maps for hiking Arkansas. I use the AllTrails app, but I have learned there are many places off the beaten path to discover. I highly recommend Tim Ernst to learn all there is about Arkansas hiking. His books are amazing.
Hiking has become one of my favorite ways to spend weekends, move my body, and enjoy the Natural State.
Adventures of a Midlife Hiker: Happy Trails in the Natural State
The exciting part of this post is that is has been published in print in one of my favorite local magazines called Next Door. Check them out for lots are interesting stories about the north central Arkansas region and the people who live there.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my “can’t live without” hiking gear.
Number one on the list are my shoes. Seriously the most comfortable and reliable are Adidas Terrex shoes. They are worth every penny I paid and I will repurchase them again. Even battling plantar fasciitis, I have been able to put my Sole orthotics into my Terrex shoes and keep moving.
Regardless of gear, you don’t need anything in order to get outside and enjoy hiking The Natural State, or whatever State you reside.