Pinnacle Mountain State Park – Arkansas, USA

Located about a dozen miles west of the state capital in Little Rock, Pinnacle Mountain State Park was set aside in 1977 as a day-use park committed to environment education, recreation and preservation. Rising more than one thousand feet, the cone shaped peak of Pinnacle Mountain has long been an Arkansas landmark.

Surrounded on all sides by wooded hillsides, clear streams and an abundance of foliage, the two summits provide an exceptional panoramic view stretching for miles across the Ouachita mountain range. The park offers multiple trails covering more than forty miles, ranging from half mile paved, self guided nature trails to the Ouachita National Recreation Trail, perfect for backpacking.

With the Big and Little Maumelle Rivers readily accessible, it is possible to fish, to canoe and to boat out on the water. Watch out for those snapping turtles!

The West Summit Hike is 1.5 miles; starts close to the pavilion and playground by the edge of the tree line. It’s advisable to bring drinking water (as it is on every hike). Wear tennis shoes/trainers although there were some who embarked on the hike in flip flops.

Initially the path makes it way through the trees with moderate sized stones and yellow painted markers to highlight the route. The going is easy and the scenery is pretty through the wooded section of the trail. The terrain begins to steepen about halfway to the summit and from this point, a lot of clambering over big rocks is needed. This makes the trail more fun and with "most" of the rocks very stable, it doesn’t slow the ascent by much. Small children and old people alike are able to pick their way through, although a reasonable level of fitness is needed to prevent this fun hike from turning into something else.

As you reach the section that forms the last push to the top, you’re treated to your first glimpse of the exceptional view that awaits. This part of the trail takes you close to the edge of the mountain; it’s from here the elevation gained can be first appreciated.

Once at the top, you realize the climb was worth it as you look out across Lake Maumelle in one direction and the Arkansas River in the other. There are two summit areas that can easily be reached from the top. It’s worth taking the time to go to both, only a matter of a two-minute walk between them.

Be surefooted, bring a camera and water. You’re in for a treat.

To see photos, follow this link (scroll down).

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