One place to plan your day hiking trip is at Devils Den State Park. Devils Den is very close to Fayetteville Arkansas and has several trails to choose from. A few of the trails are even short enough that you could hike two or three on your day hiking trip.
Before embarking on a hiking trip in Northwest Arkansas there are a few preparations you should consider. First, be knowledgeable in hiking, especially if you plan on hiking some of the more advanced trails. Get a hold of some pamphlets from the area and the trails you intend to visit on your day hiking tour along with maps of the area and the trails. Tell someone where you are going and how long it should take in case you are in an area that has no cell phone service.
Know your physical limits and not push them. If you are new to hiking then you would want to pick the easier trails for day hiking instead of some of the overnight hiking adventures. Do not choose a strenuous trail if you have only been hiking easy trails. You should build your physical endurance up for those.
Choose proper clothing such as natural fibers that will breathe and take moisture away from your body. Cotton is very good in warmer weather. Also be sure to wear long sleeves and pants unless you have a good supply of sunscreen and insect repellant, but even then you still have to watch out for briars that may try to reach out and grab you.
You should wear good, sturdy hiking boots or shoes. Sandals, flip flops and other shoes that do not lace up or cover the whole foot are not good choices. Make sure they are broken in well, especially before a long hiking trip.
Always carry a first aid kit for bug bites and stings and a snake bite kit included just in case. The first aid kit should contain some bandages, alcohol pads and an antibiotic ointment but be small enough to carry comfortably in your backpack.
Watch for signs of heat exhaustion and hypothermia depending on which season you will hiking these trails.
Pay attention to the weather. Arkansas is known for afternoon heating showers and storms so know what to do if one pops up and make sure you are prepared for it. Also know about the hunting seasons as many of the hiking trails in Arkansas are constructed on National Forests lands.
Devils Den State Park offers six short trails for your day hiking pleasure and one overnight trail. The two shortest trails which are only about half a mile each are the CCC trail which is a Civilian Conservation Corp education trail. The Lake trail is a good location for bird watching and offers great views of the lake and Lee Creek. Both are considered easy trails.
The Lee Creek Trail and the Woody Plant Trail will each take about an hour to hike. Lee Creek Trails loops around and returns by the creek bed. It contains fossils and a seam of coal. This hiking trail is considered moderate. The Woody Plant Trail is a good choice for those who enjoy studying plant life as this trail has an identification sheet to help you locate the variety of plant materials on the trail.
The Yellow Rock Trail and the Devil Den Trail are a bit longer and will take from 2-3 hours for each trail. Hiking on the Yellow Rock Trail will take you to Yellow Rock Bluff which offers an excellent view. This day hike is considered to be moderately difficult. The Devils Den Trail is a popular trail among hikers because it features two fracture caves. Fracture caves are caused my minerals being eroded between less soluble layers of rock. This trail offers day hikers a variety of things to see and explore from the caves, waterfalls, plant and animal life and a rugged terrain to hike on. Be sure to take a flashlight if you plan on exploring the caves and watch for open crevices. This trail is considered moderate but may be a bit strenuous at times due to the rough terrain.
For those who wish to make a longer hiking trip there is also the Butterfield Trail where camping equipment is a must for an overnight stay on the trail. Be sure to take your camera along for this hiking experience to capture all the drama that Arkansas outdoors can offer. A free permit is available at the park office and is required for this trail. The Butterfield Trail offers a moderate level of physical endurance plus the strength to carry your camping equipment.
As you can see Devils Den State Park offers a wide variety of day hiking options that appeal to all levels of enthusiasts from beginners to experienced hikers. After a day of hiking be sure to check out the local scenes of Fayetteville where something is always going on.