The great outdoors

By Jenn McCracken

Over the course of this past year, we have all faced many challenges in trying to navigate this new way of living, with finding a safe way to exercise being one of them. However, as with most things in life, we can see the silver lining if we choose to look for it. The silver lining for my family, and for many others, is that it showed us that being active outside is not only productive, but also extremely fun and safe. Here are a few of my favorite activities to do in the 501:

Taking a Day Hike

Pinnacle Mountain State Park is just west of Little Rock and is one of my favorites because it offers several different trails for people of all fitness levels. One of the most popular trails, and my family’s personal favorite, is the West Summit Trail. We pack a couple of backpacks full of water and snacks and hike to the top, where you get to see one of the state’s most beautiful scenes overlooking the Arkansas River. Standing at more than 1,000 feet high, that view is something that will never get old!

Richland Creek Wilderness at Twin Falls in Sand Gap (Pope County.) Crafton Fowler (from left), Kade McCracken and Will Virden.

Finding a Local Swimming Spot

Central Arkansas is full of swimming holes that are perfect for families to enjoy on a warm spring day. Woolly Hollow State Park is one of these hidden gems. It is just north of Conway in Greenbrier on Lake Bennett. The best part about this park is that you can finish the day off with a hike or a mountain biking adventure around the Enders Fault Trail. Of course, make sure your family consists of experienced swimmers and be sure to play it safe.

Biking or Walking/Running on a Trail

One of the things my family and I did the most this last spring was going for bike rides, walks, and even some runs on the trails around Conway. One of these trails is the Tucker Creek Trail. On a few different occasions, we parked our car at Walmart off of Dave Ward and biked to Chick-Fil-A, where we enjoyed a picnic lunch in the open field next to the trail. Tucker Creek Trail is so convenient with various entrances and parking lots throughout its 3.1-mile stretch. There are many trails just like it in nearly every Central Arkansas city.

I think we can all agree that we are extremely blessed to live in a state with so many opportunities to be active outdoors. From hiking and biking to canoeing and kayaking, Arkansas has it all. This spring, I challenge you to get outside and explore the area around you. I promise it will help you to better navigate living in these unnatural times while taking in all that the Natural State has to offer.