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Best parks to visit

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Dallas, Texas
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156 posts
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Best parks to visit

Staying in Hot Springs. Which state parks(s) would you visit if you only have a few hours? Pretty drives, short hikes, etc. it's so gorgeous here. I don't think we could make a wrong choice, but would love suggestions.

little rock arkansas
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for Little Rock, Arkansas
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1. Re: Best parks to visit

Petit Jean State Park is the perfect place for beautiful hikes and it is a great drive over non-interstate roads to the mountain. Probably 70 miles. www.petitjeanstatepark.com

Lake Catherine State Park is much closer and they have some short trails which are fine. There is a waterfall at one trail. Check to see if the rainfall has been sufficient to see flow. www.arkansasstateparks.com/lakecatherine

The Lake Ouachita Vista trail is supposed to be nice but I have not tried it. lakeouachitavistatrail.com

Garvan Gardens is not a state park but always fun for short walks. I believe they close soon for a winter break. www.garvangardens.org

Most of the HS National Park trails are sort of urban trails. The promenade walk behind the bath houses is very beautiful but not exactly a "hike."

Dallas, Texas
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2. Re: Best parks to visit

I second Petit Jean State Park. It is my favorite state park in the state of Arkansas, and among my favorite state parks that I've been to in the U.S. It has beautiful scenery including a canyon that runs through the mountain and an incredible waterfall. There are historic CCC structures including the lodge, cabins, and a stone bridge. Hiking trails range from easy to strenuous, and range from short to several miles. The area is geologically and archaeologically interesting as well. There are several bluff shelters where you can see Native American rock art. The largest is called Rock House Cave and is the easiest to get to.

Also, the drive from Hot Springs to Petit Jean takes you through the Ouachita National Forest on Scenic Route 7. It's a beautiful drive through the mountains.

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3. Re: Best parks to visit

There are wonderful scenic hiking opportunities without leaving Hot Springs. Here's a great link for hiking trails with details on difficulty:


It's hard to pick one park in Hot Springs because they're all beautiful. If you've never taken the trip up the mountain tower, you should do it once just for the view. Hot Springs Mountain & West Mountain are great drives and we love to walk around at Gulpha Gorge. Like you said, really can't go wrong here.

4. Re: Best parks to visit

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