Located just outside Little Rock, Arkansas’s capital city, Pinnacle Mountain State Park is likely one of the most popular state parks in Arkansas. With nearly 2400 acres, this day-use park offers a variety of land and water activities of varying degrees of difficulty that will excite outdoor lovers from novice to expert.
History of Pinnacle Mountain State Park:
Pinnacle Mountain State Park was designated in 1977 and features the rocky peak, an easily identifiable Little Rock landmark. The peak is 1,011 feet above sea level and offers beautiful views of the surrounding park, including the Big and Little Maumelle Rivers and surrounding areas such as the Arkansas River and the eastern slopes of the Ouachita Mountains.
Pinnacle Mountain is a day-use park that offers hiking, biking and boating activities. Visitors can also take part in one of the many interpretive programs offered at the park year-round.
When to Visit:
Winter: The hiking on sunny, winter days at Pinnacle is fantastic. The lack of leaves allows you to have great views throughout the park, even if you don’t plan to summit. Winter is also a great time to enjoy the Visitor’s Center and enjoy some of the parks programs. The Winter Discovery Lake Cruises and Eagle Lake Cruises are always popular and fun. Winter is a great time to enjoy the summit trails, just be sure to watch the weather and be aware of quickly fading daylight.
Spring: As the trees begin to bloom and wildlife starts to become more active, spring is a great time to visit Pinnacle Mountain. The Kingfisher Trail, the Arkansas Arboretum, and the Educational Pond are my favorite places to visit in the spring. Early spring is also a great time to access the summit trails.
Summer: Pinnacle Mountain gets hot in the summer and there are often stories on the local news of people and pets who overdid it on the trails. If you plan to hike in the summer, it is crucial that you know your limits and bring plenty of water. If you bring pets along, please have water for them and watch their feet on the paved areas. We prefer to stick to the Arkansas Trail, the Base Trail and the Kingfisher Trail in the summer.
Summer is a great time to do some boating and fishing so check out the boat launch areas in the West Summit area and just north of the Visitor’s Center.
Fall: Fall is my favorite time to hike no matter which state park I visit and Pinnacle is no exception. There really isn’t a trail I wouldn’t recommend on a crisp fall day but my favorite is probably the Rocky Valley Trail and the East Quarry Trail. This area also includes two scenic overlooks, one accessible from the Visitor’s Center parking lot and one at the end of the East Quarry Trail.
How to Get to Pinnacle Mountain:
From I-430, take Exit 9 onto Cantrell Road and travel west on AR-10. Turn right onto Chenal Parkway. Several miles up you will encounter the West Summit Picnic Area and Trail Head. Continue on, turning right on to Pinnacle Valley Road. Continue to the East Summit Trailhead, the Arkansas Trail and eventually the Visitor’s Center.
Pinnacle Mountian Trails and Visitor’s Center is free to the public. Some events and activities may have individual charges.
How Long Should You Stay:
At the very least I would suggest you plan to spend two hours at Pinnacle Mountain. There are enough trails and sites that you could visit the park for several days and still not see it all. It’s close enough for us that we can visit several times a year.
Pinnacle Mountain is located just outside of Little Rock so there is plenty of other sites and activities to see and do in the area. Some of our favorite nearby attractions include:
Big Dam Bridge
Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Witt Stephens Jr. Nature Center
Points of Interest at Pinnacle Mountain State Park:
Rocky Valley Trail
A 2.5-mile portion of the 222-mile Ouachita National Hiking Trail passes through Pinnacle Mountain State Park.
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