We woke up early the next morning and headed over to Petit Jean. The ride into the park provides hypnotizing scenery—while it’s much less elevated, I likened it to some of the drives I’ve taken in Rocky Mountain National Park. Towering treetops hug the sides of the road on one stretch, and a wide-open view greets you just around the bend. There’s even a scenic pull off, which is well worth a stop.
We parked near the visitor center, grabbed a trail map and made a plan. Petit Jean is Arkansas’s first state park and has a lot to offer, including more than 20 miles of hiking trails, a 95-foot-tall waterfall, a cave and Petit Jean Mountain, which boasts multiple viewpoints and overlooks. There are also cabins and camping areas, because there’s way too much to fit into one day.
We decided to warm up with a quick loop of the Bear Cave trail, which starts just across from the visitor center. It’s a fun little loop that has many interesting rock features, including (you guessed it!) a cave. Next we headed to Seven Hollows Trail.