Hiking Arkansas in Midlife – Petit Jean State Park

petit jean sunset gravesiteHiking in Arkansas in Midlife – Petit Jean State Park 

Petit Jean State Park is one place that hiking can be accessed year round in Arkansas. Now that Spring has transitioned into Summer in Arkansas, it is one place for beautiful hikes featuring waterfalls and creeks.

I suggest a visit to Petit Jean State Park located in Central Arkansas as a place to experience a variety of Arkansas landscape. 

Petit Jean was in my backyard growing up in nearby Conway, Arkansas. I made many trips to the park for hiking and picnics. However, it had been 20 plus years since I visited Petit Jean. 

it was a treat to take in the views from on top of the mountain at the gravesite of Petit Jean across the Arkansas River valley below a few months ago. I would highly encourage taking in the sunrise and/or sunset from this location when visiting Petit Jean!

Cedar Falls Petit Jean

Specific Hikes to See in Petit Jean

Cedar Falls Trail

Although there are several hiking trails in the park, my top choice is the Cedar Falls Trail behind Mather Lodge. This two mile trail is an out-and-back and it features Cedar Falls, a breathtaking 95 foot waterfall (pictured above).

This trail begins with a downhill switchback to the creek bottom. Keep in mind that going downhill in an out-and-back trail means going uphill at the end! However, there are plenty of spots to take a break; and the views along the meandering Cedar Creek are worth the uphill switchback trail to go out. 

Seven Hollows Trail

Another trail worth exploring in Petit Jean is Seven Hollows Trail. This five mile loop trail features several rock shelters, canyons, and a natural bridge, with signs of Native American bluff dwelling along the way. 

There is also a hidden grotto, which is a quarter mile off trail and is the best feature of this trail in my opinion. This trail is definitely one that will take more time to complete for a novice hiker; but is well worth it to see all it has to offer. 

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How to Find Petit Jean State Park

Petit Jean State Park is located west of Morrilton in Conway County adjacent to the Arkansas River. It is maintained by the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. Mather Lodge, located in the park, features a restaurant and lodging. There are several other cabins, campgrounds, yurts, swimming pools, and a lake for fishing and boating. 

Petit Jean State Park is a great hiking and outdoor adventure destination for a weekend getaway. Besides the two hikes mentioned above, there are several other overlooks and short, less than 1 mile walks to see other natural features within the park

As the first State Park in Arkansas, it is the quintessential Arkansas outdoor location with something for everyone. As always, don’t forget to pack plenty of water and trail snacks, as well as tick spray and  for hiking during this time of year. petit jean state park hikingHiking in Arkansas in Midlife – Petit Jean State Park

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