I am a married father of two amazing boys, Bear Bait and Squirrel. I’ve lived all over AR, from the loblolly jungles of SE AR to Crowley’s Ridge and even spent a little time in the river valley. Around 1999, I drove up I540 for the first time and knew I was home.
Got married in 2001 and settled here to stay for a while. Had a couple of sons and have had them out in the green since before they could walk.
Hello, I’ve been reading your blog a bit and was wondering if you could name your top few favorite multi-day trails to do with kids. My daughter is turning 4 next month and is already an avid hiker for her age and has been backpacking (in the Ozarks) before. Do you have any suggestions for a particularly scenic trail we could hit? Most trail reviews aren’t from the perspective of parents-of-small-children and so it’s difficult to weed through them all and find the better kid-friendly trails… aka, not quite as many sheer cliffs, deep river crossings, waterfall climbing, etc. Thanks!
I HIGHLY recommend Devil’s Den State Park. It has some short very kid-friendly trails that make for great day-hikes. It also has a swimming pool they can play around in after. Since she’s already an avid hiker, she may like going down into Quaill valley on the Butterfield Hiking Trail (also in Devil’s Den). Park on Hwy 74 and it is only about a 3 mile hike down into the valley. If you haven’t already, check out some of Tim Ernst’s hiking trails books.
I agree with the Butterfield Loop Trail. I don’t recall it being that difficult so you may want to backpack the whole 15 miles or so. Many novice backpackers cut their teeth on this trail. It’s very pretty in the fall too.
Most of the trail isn’t all that difficult, but there are sections that can be tough to a novice or very young hiker. With my boys, who are both very experienced for their age, I’ve found it best to ease into a trail like BHT – focus on having fun and exploring more than getting in a certain number of miles. When they start getting bored with the 3-4 mile days and start looking at a 6-7 mile day as a moderate & fun hike, then you’ll know it is time to plan a full loop trip.