Featured Photo by RJA1988
5 Fun Attractions Within Driving Distance of the Arkansas River!
The Arkansas River is the second longest tributary of the Mississippi River. Originating from the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, it flows southeast, passing by Fort Smith and Little Rock in Arkansas before joining the Mississippi River. The Arkansas River is popular for its boating, water skiing, and fishing. The number of locks and dams on the river provides access to some of the best fishing spots in the country. However, for those who are not the biggest enthusiast of fishing, there are many attractions around the river for you to explore.
Image by Mike Goad
Found in North Little Rock, the Big Dam Bridge is a pedestrian and bicycle bridge built atop the Murray Lock and Dam that is on the Arkansas River. As the name suggests, it is impressively long at over 4,200 feet and offers a beautiful landscape of the Arkansas River. The bridge connects roughly 15 miles of riverside trails in nearby cities like North Little Rock and Little Rock and it plays a part in connecting over 70,000 acres of county, state, and federal parkland.
Photo by Joshua J. Cotten
The Pinnacle Mountain State Park is a geographically diverse park located just west of Arkansas’ capital city, Little Rock. There are many outdoor activities other than hiking and biking trails, although given the chance you may wish to hike Pinnacle Mountain for the scenic view of the Arkansas River and its surroundings. There are also water adventures on the Arkansas River’s tributaries, Big and Little Maumelle Rivers as well as the Arkansas Arboretum, which is a 71-acre site that exhibits native flora representing Arkansas’ six major natural divisions.
3. Emerald Park and Big Rock Quarry Park
Big Rock Quarry Park is a smaller park sandwiched between Emerald Park and the Arkansas River. Both parks have their own different features. Emerald Park is a 135-acre park with river bluffs and scenic views that overlook Big Rock Quarry Park. The distinct aspect of Big Rock Quarry Park is that it features a former rock quarry from the late 1800s. Both parks have walking and biking trails that are open to the public.
For war history buffs, the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum is a museum that features Naval vessels to explore and get educated on the history of the Arkansas River. Along the shore, they showcase two floating Naval vessels from World War II: the tugboat Hoga, which played a part in 1941’s Pearl Harbor, and submarine USS Razorback, which was in Tokyo Bay when the Japanese surrendered. Both of these vessels are open for self-guided tours for those that are interested in experiencing the sights, sounds, and smells of the submarine and boat.
Situated on the Arkansas River Trail, the Rockwater Marina is a full-service marina near downtown Little Rock. If you do not have your own boat and you wish to experience the river, they have kayak rentals and tours that include all the supplies and gear you need to go out on the water safely. You can enjoy the beauty of the Arkansas River as you float past the capital city. They even have another location on the other side of the river, Two Rivers Boat House, that provides recreational boating on the Little Maumelle River.
I’m a senior at Winona State University majoring in advertising. I love anything related to arts and culture like dance, music, and visual art.