Central Arkansas is pretty flat though, aside from a few ridges rising above the Arkansas River in and around Little Rock and the prominent peak in the area, Pinnacle Mountain. It stands at about 1,000 feet compared to the Arkansas River Valley, which sits at around 300 ft sea level. See map here. It is joined by a small range of ridges running east and west, but none approach its height. It can be seen from miles around as the tallest object in the area.
I started hiking around the area this summer, and Pinnacle Mountain, being the highest point in the area, has been the subject of several trips.
There are two trails going to the summit, the east and the west, and a trail circling its base. The east summit is usually considered the hardest. About half of the trail is fairly easy switchbacks, lulling the hiker into a false sense of security. Then you get to where the rocks start, and you have no choice but to scramble straight up the steepest part.
In my opinion, the west summit is more difficult. It starts off steep and stays steep the whole way. The trail is well developed, much of the way it’s paved with stone steps so the hike seems like a 600 foot stairway.
At the top, the views are nice. It’s rare to get such a view in this part of the country and you can see for miles. It can also be crowded. Being the only challenging thing to hike with well developed trails, there aren’t many alternatives.
Being from the west and having spent time in such truly amazing places as the Sawtooth Wilderness, and having lived in Boise where foothill hiking is minutes away, this is a consolation prize. It’s the best we have without driving hours to the north or west. A quick jaunt up the mountain on a hot summer day after being locked inside all day working is quite rewarding. I’m glad it’s here.
I took photos from recent hiking trips, most from July 19th. I started on the east side and hiked over the summit then down the west side. It was after work and the sun was starting to set as i crested the peak.
Pinnacle Mountain, Arkansas, a set on Flickr.