We're proud to announce our newest and highly inspired Fayettechill media project - The Wander Series. Through this compilation of photographs, videos, personal experience, & reflection, we hope to provide interested explorers with the foundational information necessary to wander the world. Starting with the Ozarks, the Wander Series will feature a variety of trails, routes, and ranges - some known by all and many known by few - that have helped us escape into the outdoors. We sincerely hope that you enjoy what we have to present and experience enough through our images that you can't help but need to see it with your own eyes.
WANDER: MT KESSLER
Our opening Wander series navigates the beautiful Mt. Kessler and the Mt. Kessler Greenway, an 8 mile trail on the southwest side of Fayetteville that has grown near and dear to the hearts of every Fayettechill employee. Mt. Kessler is a beautiful place full of local history located behind the Fayettechill Smokehouse located at 1725 S. Smokehouse Trail (Fayetteville, AR). Mt. Kessler's Greenway trails have enough technical features to entertain even the most experienced of outdoor explorers. Hikers, mountain bikers, bird watchers, and trail runners alike all have endless opportunities for new experiences on the routes - and it’s all in Fayetteville’s back yard.
The trail begins at the old Ozark Mountain Smokehouse off of Martin Luther King Jr. Road. Once I started up the Smokehouse Trail I noticed that the energy of busy highway and city dissipates, and is immediately replaced by the enveloping woods ahead. Once the pavement changed from black to white I saw a sign for Kessler and knew I was at the the trail head. There are a few convenient parking spots located on the gravel shoulder to the right of the road.
The beginning of the trail meanders behind the big Mt. Kessler sign and up a small hill to a sign in box. Be sure to check in before continuing as this will help with the effort to preserve the trails and maintain this beautiful mountain. After checking in, I continued down the trail and and began to see a series of large boulders. Nestled in the woods, this iconic formation of stone is is coined, "Rock City," and it is easy to see why. The trail takes travelers through an alleyway of stone and it is one of the more prominent features of Mt. Kessler and a great place to hang out.
After taking in these stoic geological features, I was energized to see what else the trail had to offer. I continued on along a ridge scattered with large boulders, and wandered past a great view of Farmington below. Soon the trail continued up to a cool rocky ridge that turned into a large opening. This was a great spot to sit and take in the mountain. From here the trail splits, looping around and down the mountain in either direction. I took time to explore the back of the loop and came across a short trail that led to an old overgrown arched cellar. It was a perfect place to relax and get away from the heat. It has a feeling of old Fayetteville. This structure gave me an appreciation for the work accomplished by the founders of this area. Once I completed the loop, I wandered back the way I came and through the amazing rock garden that makes this trail so special.
Rock benches in the clearing
Covered wine cellar
Wandering the loop
I enjoy the Kessler Greenway for a lot of reasons, especially because of its close proximity to downtown Fayetteville. It gives you the feeling of being completely immersed in nature while remaining connected to all the other action happening in the city. I recommend this to all levels of adventures looking for a similar experience - Trent Sugg, Fayettechill Lead Photographer