Exploring the Great Outdoors with Kids

Rogers and the surrounding area offer all the elements you can imagine when visiting Arkansas, “The Natural State”. From towering pine trees, to beautiful lakes, to cavernous underground rivers, it is all here in Northwest Arkansas. Your visit will leave you wanting to come back for more!

Railyard Bike Park

You’ll definitely want to bring the bikes along and make plans to visit The Railyard Bike Park, located on the eastern edge of the downtown Rogers area. Admission is free and the course is impressive. There are sectioned off areas for a wide range of skill levels, including an area for inexperienced riders and kids.

There is even a “bike wash” to hose down your ride when you are finished. The park also connects into several miles of trail so you can do some peaceful riding if dare-deviling isn’t your thing. Bring your furry friends and visit the dog park located right onsite.

Bikes or not, there is a natural playground across the parking lot from the bike park that the kids could have played at all day. Large logs make challenging balance beams, and there are also slides, a tunnel, and upturned stumps to jump between.

East of town on Highway 12 you will find War Eagle Cavern, Hobbs State Park, and War Eagle Mill nestled in the Ozarks hills. The drive on HWY 12 is beautiful as you pass over Beaver Lake and through the wooded areas.

War Eagle Cavern

War Eagle Cavern is a privately owned cave and is open from mid-March through the end of November every year. The entrance to the cave is quite dramatic. It is a large opening in the side of the bluff with large slab boulders off to one side, a beautiful clear river runs from the mouth of the cave, with a bright green bed of moss alongside it.

The entire tour through the cave is very open and expansive, no tight spots or feelings of claustrophobia. War Eagle is a young cavern, so there are not many formations, but there are great waterfalls and a very active bat population.

In addition to the tour guides being very knowledgeable, they are also very engaging asking the children in the tour group to come to the front so that they could talk directly to them and have their “help” on the tour when available.

After exiting the cave, you are free to explore the various trails around the property, which runs all the way down to Beaver Lake. Make sure to stop back by the gift shop to go gem panning.

All ages will enjoy exploring the Moonshiners Mystery Shack and the "Lost in the Woods" maze. For a little more adventure, you can sign up to go spelunking through the cave with a guide.

Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area

Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area has a gorgeous visitor center with interactive exhibits for learning about natural habitats in Arkansas. The parking lot itself is a wildflower enthusiast’s dream - it is packed full of blooming native species in Spring.

The back wall of the Visitor’s Center is floor to ceiling glass looking out onto a small pond, forest, and several animal feeders. Hobbs also has several hiking and biking trails to choose from, camp sites, and special events at the Visitor Center.

War Eagle Mill

Just a few miles further west you will find the turn off for War Eagle Mill. The Mill is a great place to shop, see a working flour mill in action, and catch breakfast or lunch in the Bean Palace Cafe, located on the third floor of the Mill.  The shop offers home goods and toys, as well as various “mill” products - flours, bread and soup mixes, and jams and jellies. Many of the flours and mixes are gluten free.

The area surrounding the Mill is beautiful as well. You can wander out on to the adjacent one lane bridge that spans War Eagle Creek, where you can get an eye level view of the water wheel.

Pea Ridge National Military Park

The final stop of our trip was at Pea Ridge National Military Park. The Battle at Pea Ridge was a decisive part of Civil War history, securing Missouri for the Union, and the park is the most intact battlefield in the country.

The kids can participate in the Junior Ranger program at the main desk at the Visitor Center. First, we suggest you watch a video that depicts the events leading up to and during the battle and then explored the indoor exhibits. Then, head back outside to the car to drive the 7-mile loop that circles the park. There are multiple stops that you can explore, including the historic Elkhorn Tavern, which served as a hospital during the battle and was also a stop along the trail of tears.

There are also several hiking and horseback riding trails available through the park as well as a giftshop back at the visitor center.