September has slowly snuck upon us. I was waiting for some fall colors to come out and boom, here it started raining and Oregon weather is back. The brilliant hues of gold, yellow and orange will make any state look prettier than ever before. My new blog is about the last year’s trip we made during fall to see some brilliant fall foliage in Arkansas. The speciality of fall foliage in Arkansas is that there could be a false peak as well as a true peak. So, planning your visit just right to view the most amazing array of colors is extremely important.
We made our plan to visit Arkansas during the first week of November.
The peak time for the changing leaves in Arkansas is around late October and it persists until mid November.So, if you arrive too early in the season, the possibility of viewing the best colors would not be guaranteed. I know, you must be wondering about the false peak period in Arkansas. This piece of information about false peak is from a source in Google and it said that the false peak can happen anytime in mid October.
Did you know that sunshine also plays a very important part in bringing in those beautiful colors in the leaves? Well, For a true peak, daytime temperatures need to be no warmer than mid 60’s and nights no higher than mid 40’s. Plenty of sunshine days are also a key factor. The air turns slightly crisp in the morning and evening which makes this season even more special and brilliant.
Our stay in Arkansas was for two days. We drove all the way from Texas to Arkansas. It was about 10 hours drive which was pretty manageable.
Our stay was booked in the cabins of Hot springs National park, KOA. This was a beautiful location and a perfect getaway spot. The wood cabins were perfect for a family or even two. There was a small kitchen, a bunk bed and twin bed. These campgrounds also have tent and RV camping spots. Can’t skip this point, there was a barbeque pit right outside the cabin.
You may check out more details on the link provided: http://koa.com/campgrounds/hot-springs-national-park/amenities/
Sipping a hot cup of coffee in the cold mornings was really very relaxing and soothing.
Our first destination in Arkansas was to the Hawksbill Crag. This was a bittersweet experience of my life. We had to walk about one and half hours through the rough terrains of the trail to reach this point. There were instances, where we couldn’t breathe and decided to turn back. But we started the adventure and did not want to end it abruptly. I wanted to definitely see more and experience the ultimate viewpoint that people craved for. This trail is also called the Whitaker point trail. The trail has multiple dips and inclines on the route which makes it a bit difficult and dangerous.
When to hike the Hawksbill Crag – Summer or fall season would be ideal to do the hike. The winters would be tough if there is ice on the way.
Things to carry during a hike: Water bottles ( although it is advised to drink less water or just sip little water while hiking), some trail mix, my husband is a big fan of jerky, so we always stock up on some jerky on the hiking trips, sunblock and camera. And please please put all the stuffs in a backpack. One of the bitter experience was that I carried my stuffs in a tote bag (yeah, too fancy on a hike) and it tore midway. LOL! I literally tied all the stuff in the tiny half of the tote bag; pretty challenging to carry during the hike.
What to expect while driving up to the Hawksbill Crag and while hiking: The drive was through the Ouachita National Forest and it was pretty cool. We enquired with couple of forest rangers on the way regarding the fall foliage on Hawksbill Crag and they guided us very well. Once you take the inside routes to reach the trail head, the road starts becoming messy and dirty. It is kind off rough and bumpy too. As mentioned earlier, the hiking trail is not paved, there are dips, rocks and fallen trees too.
The view once you reach the point is ultimate. We couldn’t find much of a view of the fall foliage but there were scattered hues of red and orange. But we totally loved the experience of hiking amidst the forest to reach a point of infinity.
The second destination on our list was the Maple Wood Cemetery. This is Arkansas’s most beautiful and famous spot to view amazing fall colors. There are about 700 plus maple trees planted on a 10 acre land. Some trees are even more than 88 years old.
The tale of maple trees in the Maplewood Cemetery:
All these maple trees were planted by the women of the Twentieth Century Club. It was 1924 when club women scoured the woods of Newton and Boone counties and dug up maple saplings to transplant in the cemetery. They wanted different species so they would have all the different colors. Their dream was to make this place a beautiful place for the souls to rest in peace. They have planted more than 800 trees in the two cemeteries, grown a perpetual care fund for future work, built a memorial chapel at Maplewood, developed a directory, placed block markers, erected a Maplewood Cemetery arch on Highway 62/412, won grants, and has raised nearly $200,000 for cemetery beautification, including a two-phase restoration project.
We reached back to our cabins late night and crashed in our beds after the long tiring day. The next day was pretty relaxed as we planned to just drive around the Highway 14. For a close look of the fall foliage, I would recommend going on a drive through the Highway 14. This route makes for beautiful drive as it runs right through the Ozark countryside with its winding roads and fall scenery.
Here are few suggestions for getting some more ultimate view of the fall colors in Arkansas: (Pls note, I have not personally gone and visited these spots but I have heard they are pretty amazing. Still, I would want you readers to do your part of research too before making any plans to go).
- Mount Magazine State Park
- Eureka Springs
- Little Rock, Arkansas
- Devil’s Den State Park
- Eureka Springs
Many of my readers will agree with me to the fact that fall is one of the beautiful seasons in a year. The adding colors to the rugged mountains is surely a treat to the eyes. I would recommend planning a trip to Arkansas in the early weeks of October as there could be brilliant colors in the northern part of Arkansas (Mt.Magazine etc) and if you are just planning to hit the southern tips of Arkansas, then late October to early Novermber would be ideal.
So, don’t forget to plan a visit to the Ozarks this fall season. This would be ideal for those who are planning a fall vacay just for a couple of days. You can rejuvenate and be back at a very low cost. I would say our trip would have costed us not more than $1000 round trip including food and accomodation. So, stay tuned for more budget friendly road trip itineraries!