words: Zoie Clift and Jill Rohrbach, Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism and Catherine Frederick images:Chuck Haralson and Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism
The weather is heating up and if you’re looking for adventure, there’s no place better than right here in Arkansas. From zip lines, to rock climbing, to hiking and floating, those adventures are found in abundance in the Natural State! Check out all these action-packed attractions but take note, each has its own special brand of activity for different ages so we recommend contacting the individual properties for rules and regulations.
Calling all adrenaline junkies! There’s plenty of high-flying fun to be had as you take on a whole new perspective of the Natural State’s varied landscapes.
Buffalo River Canopy Zip Line Tour
– Ponca: buffaloriver.com, 800.221.5514
Byrd’s Outdoor Adventure Center
– Ozark: byrdsadventurecenter.com, 479.667.4066
Fort Rock Family Camp & Cabins
– Combs: fortrock.org, 479.677.3136
Iron Horse Zip Line
– Jasper: horseshoecanyonduderanch.com, 800.480.9635
– Mountain View: locoropes.com, 888.669.6717
Ozark Mountain Ziplines
– Eureka Springs: ziplineeurekasprings.com, 479.363.6699
Some of the best rock climbing in the nation is found right here in Arkansas. Grab your climbing shoes, chalk bag, and harness and spend a day or a week exploring the vertical world of the Ozark and Ouachita mountain ranges. Sam’s Throne and Horseshoe Canyon Ranch are just a few of the destinations for climbers. Bouldering is also big here.
– General information: arkansasclimbers.org
– Ozark mountains: horseshoecanyon.com
– Ouachita mountains: ouachitarocks.com
Taking on the challenging terrain of long trails via a mountain bike or hike is always a dependable source of adventure. The International Mountain Bicycling Association has named several trails in the state EPIC routes. Trekkers can also explore the 168-mile Ozark Highlands National Recreation Trail or travel the 223-mile Ouachita National Recreation Trail to the south. Discover more than twenty routes and free bicycling guides at Arkansas.com.
Canoe, Kayak & Rafting
For water junkies, the Cossatot River forms Cossatot Falls, a rugged and rocky canyon that hosts Class IV and V whitewater rapids for canoeists and kayakers. Wakeboarders can practice their craft on 600,000 acres of lakes (including 40,100-acre Lake Ouachita—the largest in the state) located across the state. Scuba divers and parasailers can enjoy the view both under and over Arkansas’ watery terrain. Check out arkansas.com/outdoors for details.
The Caddo River is named for the Caddo Indian tribes that, at one time, lived along its banks. It begins in southwestern Montgomery County, and flows near or through the communities of Black Springs, Norman, Caddo Gap, Glenwood, and Amity before entering the backwaters of DeGray Lake, home to Arkansas’s only resort state park. Most of the river is fairly calm with some class I and II rapids.
Buffalo National River
The Buffalo National River in northern Arkansas provides a beautiful space for floating. Tall limestone bluffs in earthy hues of gray, tan and brown are defining features. Rushing whitewater is interspersed among sections of calmer water as the river wends its way 135 miles through the lush green valley.
Arkansas’ premier whitewater experience for kayakers and canoeists. The Cossatot River State Park-Natural Area in Wickes extends for twelve miles along one of the most rugged river corridors in the central U.S. Class III and Class IV rapids attract experienced floaters during the season. You can access the river from the north on Arkansas 246 between Vandervoort and Athens, or from the south by US 278 between Wickes and Umpire.
There you have it, a long list of Arkansas’s wonders just waiting for you to explore. And when you do, take your camera along. We’d love to see your photos. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.