Devil’s Den State Park – I have yet to find anything about hiking in Arkansas to be considered a negative, and our latest adventure was more of the same; awesome! I had been watching the weather all week, and was beyond excited about the coming break in the challenging heat. With the help of trusty ole All Trails, I did a little research and found a hike that I had thought would be interesting, and chose Yellow Rock Trail, in Devil’s Den State Park! My husband had mentioned that it might rain, but we both agreed we were more than okay with that, after how hot it had consistently been. So, we added our Frogg Toggs into our packs, and off we went.
When driving from Oklahoma to Arkansas, one can almost tell when they have crossed the state line simply by where the landscape significantly changes. As rolling pastures gave way to tree covered hills, and then the hills growing steeper and steeper, so did my excitement grow. Clouds were rolling in, drizzle was beginning to fall, and it was music to my eyes, along with the falling temps on the external thermometer registering inside the truck.
I knew as soon as we entered the park, that we had found a very special place; a beautiful, peaceful place. Have you ever been in the Ozark Mountains? If not, you should! Devil’s Den State Park is in an Ozark valley within the Ozark Mountains, covering 2,500 acres. Creeks, crevices, caves, overlooks …… (caves are ‘temporarily’ closed due to attempts to control spread of White-nosed Syndrome in the bat population).
Cabins, camp sites, hiking/biking trails, etc. Choose from day hikes to backpacking the 15 mile Butterfield Hiking Trail, which takes the backpacker through parts of the Ozark National Forest. (Requires a free back country permit from the visitors center.) There is even a 1 mile creek hike, on the Lee Creek Trail.
While the Butterfield Hiking Trail is on the near future bucket list, we only had the day to play, so the Yellow Rock Trail proved to be a perfect choice. This trail is a very doable trail, for all levels of hikers. This trail is a 3 mile loop and is an original trail, constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corp in the 1930s. Yellow Rock trail is a designated part of the National Trails System. With immaculate upkeep, and paths, at times, double the normal size, hiking this trail is very enjoyable. If an incredible view is what you are going for, this trail will not disappoint. The bluffs over-looking Lee Creek Valley are…. cliche’ I know, but they really are breath taking. Even Hendrix was quite impressed!
There are a couple places to start this trail. We started at the overlook, and feel that was the best option for us.
BONE: Be sure and stop at the visitor center prior to setting out, and collect maps, input, and use the restroom. There is no restroom at the overlook trail head, but the views are fantastic from the get go!
While the trail is a relatively easy trail, it is possible to miss the best part. There is a part of the trail that leads down and out of the trail, onto the road.
While the views and terrain are fun and interesting, if you don’t make the short distance back up to the main trail, you will miss the best view! Here is the map that I used, which I downloaded off of my All Trails app. To me, it is in the shape of a rearing horse. The overlook, where we started, begins at the ‘horse’s’ back hooves. The tip of the horse’s nose is where you will find the awesome view! Hiking down the horse’s front legs leads to fun terrain and the road. When we came to the 1st Y, we went to the right, and hiked the under belly and down the front legs. Then we went back up the front legs, up the chest to the nose and awesome view, then over it’s head, down the neck and back, and back down the hind legs, back to the trail head.
We saw several dogs on the trails, so by all means, bring Fido to Devil’s Den State Park! Keep in mind, if you choose to have your dog off leash, you are risking “getting in trouble”. Either way, let me again encourage you:
BONE: Don’t let your dog intrude into other dog’s/human’s space. I am always floored by what I consider to be a very rude intrusion. While Hendrix is off leash more than on, I never let him approach another dog to “say hi”. It is an unnecessary act, and could prove to be unsafe for all. All of my dogs are required, whether on leash, or off, to leave all others, dogs or humans, alone. They are almost always required to sit, and they are required to let others pass by, un-assaulted. If you cannot recall/retrieve your dog on command, don’t let them off the leash. Got some time? Head on out to Devil’s Den State Park for some beautiful fun!
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