Trail running is one of the best ways to find a peaceful rhythm in nature-- just you and the trail. Whether you're just getting into the sport, or are an avid longtime runner, there's something for you on this list. Let us know what you think, and we hope you enjoy our quick reference guide of our favorite places to hit the gorgeous trails of Northwest Arkansas.
Looking for a good place to start?
Gregory Park, Fayetteville. It’s hard to believe this brand new single track trail is right in the middle of Fayetteville, at the intersection of College Avenue and Sycamore Street. An easy loop just under a mile makes it the perfect place for your first trail run. It’s fairly flowy and smooth, with a few short sections of more technical rocks and gravel for practice, and one good hill, all in the middle of dense woods. This trail is also great for a quick run at lunch or if you’re pressed for time.
Looking for a meditative flow?
Lake Fayetteville Nature Trail. Everyone is pretty familiar with Lake Fayetteville, but fewer people are familiar with its nature trail. This trail is a little longer than the paved trail at 6 miles. If you’re looking for a longer flow run to get in the zone and soak up nature vibes on a Saturday morning, this is your trail. Most of the surface is packed dirt, with some stretches of pine straw or rocks, and just a few short hills. The northern section of the trail also hugs the shore of Lake Fayetteville, which makes for a nice view and a cool breeze!
Looking for hills?
Mount Kessler, Fayetteville. If you want to eat some hills on your run, head to Faytown favorite Kessler Mountain—you’ve gotta go up to get down. Since Kessler is a connection of several trails, you can make your run as long as you want (though you may want to keep it short)! Since the Rock City trail is temporarily closed for repairs, make sure you enter via Kessler Regional Park off Judge Cummings Road in south Fayetteville.
Looking for views and wildlife?
Devil’s Den State Park, West Fork. Devil’s Den is known for its hiking trails and sweeping views, so if you’re down to work for it, you can experience great trail running with big payoffs. Yellow Rock (3 miles), Vista Point (8 miles) and Butterfield (15 miles) trails provide spectacular overlooks and rock formations. Deer, squirrels, rabbits, and even bears (runner beware) wander these woods. These trails are a bit more difficult, but if you have the time, they’re worth it.
Looking to run like Forrest Gump?
Hobbs State Park, Rogers. Hobbs isn’t on everyone’s radar, but if you’re an endurance trail runner, it should be on yours. It has 32 miles of well-kept, shady singletrack. You can literally get lost for hours out there, which makes it perfect for training for long distance races. But even if you aren’t a long distance runner, these Rogers, AR trails have something for everyone: hills of all sizes, scenic water overlooks, wildlife, native plants and flowers, and a peaceful atmosphere.
Don't see your favorite NWA running trail on the list? Comment below and let us know what we missed!!
Emalie Cockrell is a NWA native, avid trail runner, freelance writer, and dog lover. You can follow her adventures at @semi.wild.