25 Things to Do in Rogers #15: Hobbs State Park

A top destination for every outdoor enthusiast traveling to Northwest Arkansas any time of the year!

As the largest state park in Arkansas, the 12,054-acre park spans the southern shore of Beaver Lake. The park includes over 36 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, campsites, an outdoor shooting range (closed on Mondays for maintenance), an interactive visitor center, and is the only state park in Arkansas to allow regulated hunting.

Hobbs State Park

Hobbs State Park - Conservation Area is blessed with beautiful terrain and a diverse eco-system. Twenty-two of the park’s 60 miles of border stretch along the shores of Beaver Lake. The park lies between Beaver Lake to the north and War Eagle Creek to the south with acreage stretching across a part of Benton County southeast of Beaver Lake and extending into Madison and Carroll counties.

Hiking & Camping

The park includes a wide variety of trails. If you're into biking, or even riding horses, you can also do that in the park. Read on for the best trails for those activities. For a complete list of trails, click here.

The Historic Van Winkle Trail is a half-mile trail that leads hikers through a tunnel under Ark. 12 to the site of the historic Van Winkle lumber mill and home in Van Winkle Hollow on the West Fork of Little Clifty Creek. View the remnants of a sawmill and an antebellum garden owned by Peter Van Winkle during the 19th century. This is a good one for the youngsters, since it's short and easy for their little legs. This trail is barrier free (ADA).

The Pigeon Roost Trail is a double-stacked loop trail, in a figure eight formation, featuring a short loop of approximately four miles for day hiking and a longer loop of eight and one half miles for overnight use. This moderately difficult trail is excellent for beginners and families looking for adventure and scenery without having to travel a great distance. Campsites are marked with signs and each has a tent pad and fire ring. The trailhead and its associated parking area are located on Ark. 12.

The 24-mile multi-use Hidden Diversity Trail is designed for equestrians, mountain bikers, runners and hikers. Users have the option of four trail sections or loops. You’ll enjoy views of the lake and cool hollows. The trails are open to mountain bikes year-round except during extreme wet conditions.

The one-and-one-half-mile Shaddox Hollow Nature Trail can be accessed from its trailhead parking lot located on Ark. 303, approximately one mile from the intersection on the north side of Ark. 12. The first one-half mile of this loop trail follows a ridge line, providing an easy hike. The trail then descends into Shaddox Hollow. The descent is rather steep in places, so this one can be tough for younger kids or inexperienced hikers if you go past Shaddox Hollow. This trail winds along the creek through stands of hardwoods and other native Ozark vegetation.

The newest trails to Hobbs State Park are the Monument Trails. Begin at the visitors center and head east on the 2-mile Tunnel Connector Trail. The first right is a one-way downhill for mountain bikers called Sawtooth which is 1-mile long. Continuing down the Tunnel Connector on the next right is a one-way uphill Return Trail which is 1-mile long for mountain bikers using Sawtooth or the other downhill Timberjack. You will then come to the tunnel itself which safely allows riders to pass under Highway 12 (please do not walk or ride across or along Highway 12). Then you will come upon another one-way downhill and it meets Sawtooth at the bottom with a return if needed. After the tunnel, the East Wolf Den and West Wolf Den, each 2 miles, flow downhill. Fun and fast trails that connect to Karst Loop Trail which is 8 miles long. Going counter-clockwise, riders will experience a short climb before miles of flowing ridge riding before dropping down to Beaver Lake. Riders can then head back up to the East or West Wolf Den Trails and back to the Tunnel Connector or head to the 22-mile Hidden Diversity Trail.

Shooting Range

Besides being the state's largest park, Hobbs is also the only park with a public, outdoor shooting range with a bullet trap and the only park that offers regulated seasonal hunting. The shooting range is open Tuesday through Sunday. Please note the shooting range is closed during permitted hunting seasons including fall gun and muzzle loading deer seasons and fall youth gun deer season.

Visitor's Center

If you need a break from hiking, or just want to do something this summer out of the heat, the Hobbs State Park Visitor's Center is a great place to go. The center is huge, covering 17,531-square-feet. This state-of-the-art facility features Ozark-focused exhibits including interactive kiosks, classroom space, a retail sales area, and the park's administrative offices. There are artifacts, photographs, videos, and sculptures  that teach about the park and surrounding area. There is a section where visitors are encouraged to touch items, like skulls, animal skins, feathers, antlers, etc. The visitor center is on Ark. 12 near the junction with War Eagle Road. Park interpreters offer a wide diversity of programs and workshops throughout the year. For more information on events, click here.

For more information on Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area check out The Good Life Destination Guide.