There are so many wonderful outdoor activities and parks in Little Rock! It is easy to feel as if you are in the countryside without ever leaving the city. Here are some of our favorites parks and outdoor activities in Little Rock.
This is not an exhaustive list by any means! If you have some suggestions that you think we should include just let us know in the comments.
Best Outdoor Activities and Parks in Little Rock AR
Walk or Ride Bikes at Two Rivers Park
Two Rivers Park might just be the best park in Little Rock! It is a expansive space with wide walking and biking trails.
Best of all it is completely flat so it is a great place for people who are just getting into running or biking. As you make your way around the paved trails at Two Rivers Park you will find gorgeous views of Pinnacle Mountain as well as views of swampy, but lovely, low-lying land.
You will find both shaded paths lined by trees as well as open swaths of wildflower sprinkled grass. Although there aren’t playgrounds at Two Rivers Park, children will have plenty of space to run and to ride bikes or scooters.
Be sure and cross the Two Rivers Bridge for the prettiest views. Two Rivers Park is part of the Arkansas River Trail.
William Kirsch Preserve
William Kirsch Preserve is one of the best places to get away from it all without getting too far away. It is not particularly well known which makes it a great get away. The Preserve is 230 acres located just off of busy Highway 10 in the shadow of Pinnacle Mountain in the northwest corner of the city. It was once intended to be a housing development but ended up being purchased and preserved by some local nature lovers who participated with the Nature Conservancy.
The William Kirsch Preserve is a wonderful place to walk, picnic, kayak or canoe. It is also dog friendly so you can bring your pet along. If you do decide to get out on the water you will discover gorgeous views of Pinnacle Mountain from the cypress studded waters of the Little Maumelle River.
Kayak or paddle board near the Arkansas River
Rock Town River Outfitters is located on the Little Maumelle River. They have kayak, paddle board, and bike rentals. You and your friends can rent single or tandem kayaks by the hour and explore on your own or you can choose to do a guided tour. There is even a sunset river tour! You can also rent bikes for 2, 4, or 6 hours to explore the Arkansas River Trail System.
Climb Pinnacle State Mountain
This is a wonderful state park just on the western edge of Little Rock. Most cities are not fortunate enough to have a state park in their backyard. Pinnacle is one of the things that makes Little Rock special. At Pinnacle Mountain State Park you can hike, kayak, stroll, mountain bike and climb.
There is a children’s playground and a flat paved path that circles beside a tributary of the Little Maumelle River as well as some trails that lead up and above a previous quarry site.
Locals love to climb the mountain. The climb up Pinnacle Mountain isn’t easy, but you will find gorgeous views of the surrounding countryside from the top. It is especially nice be on top of Pinnacle mountain at sunset. Be sure and bring a flashlight to help you make your way down!
At Pinnacle Mountain State Park you can go from swampy river bottom land to the top of a mountain in just minutes, this state park has something for everyone.
Ride a Bike on the Arkansas River Trail System
The Arkansas River Trail is about 21 miles long and runs along the Arkansas River in both Little Rock and North Little Rock. From Two Rivers Park in the west you can ride all the way to the Clinton Library Downtown and across to North Little Rock then head south and cross back over the Arkansas River to Little Rock on the Big Dam Bridge.
There are also other places to road bike in Little Rock as well as some great mountain biking opportunities.
Walk (or bike) the Pedestrian Bridges in Little Rock
The Big Dam Bridge happens to be the longest pedestrian bridge in north America built and designed expressly for that purpose. There might be longer pedestrian bridges that were once for cars or railroads but the Big Dam Bridge was built just for pedestrians and bikers. Its massive 4,226 foot span was built atop Murray Lock and Dam (hence the name) and crosses 90 feet above the Arkansas River. It is part of the Arkansas River Trail system as mentioned above, but is also a fun place to take a walk.
In addition to the Big Dam Bridge there are 3 other pedestrian bridges that cross the Arkansas River in Little Rock.
These are: The Clinton Presidential Park Bridge which starts right at the Clinton Library and goes into North Little Rock. It is also part of the Arkansas River Trail system. The Junction Bridge is in downtown Little Rock and is a fun photo-op spot. It connects RIverfront park in Little Rock with North Shore Riverwalk Park in North Little Rock. There is also Two Rivers Bridge which was mentioned above and is part of Two Rivers Park.
Although these are called pedestrian bridges they are all also open to cyclists!
Arkansas Travelers at Dickey Stevens Park
If you are in town during baseball season you might want check to see if the Arkansas Travelers are playing at Dickey Stevens Park. The Arkansas Travelers are a minor league baseball club that play at this nice facility just across the river from downtown Little Rock. A visit to Dickey Stevens to watch a Travelers game is both fun and relaxing. And, of course, they have ball park food!
Wildwood Park for the Arts
Wildwood Park for the Arts often hosts events and classes, but even if you aren’t in town for an event the grounds are beautiful. Be sure and check the schedule on their website to find out when the gates open.
This is a lovely place to stroll. There are a variety of gardens to view including the Asian Woodland Garden designed by renowned horticulturist P. Allen Smith. Swan Lake is the focal point of the gardens. You will want to be sure and walk around the lake to the gorgeous stone gazebo which is a lovely place for photos.
Rattlesnake Ridge is one of the newer recreational areas in Little Rock and is located near Pinnacle Mountain State park. The purpose of Rattlesnake Ridge Natural Area is to conserve the habitats of rare plant and animal species. Keeping this area natural also protects Lake Maumelle which provides drinking water for the area.
There are a variety of trails on Rattlesnake Ridge for both hikers and bikers. They are rated intermediate to expert mostly because of steep grades and rocky conditions. Yes, it is steep and rocky, but you will also be rewarded with some wonderful views from the high points of the trails. If you do venture out to Rattlesnake Ridge be sure and download the trail system map before you go. There are lots of trails crisscrossing the ridge and it is easy to get turned around.
Tour Moss Mountain Farm
Even though I live in Little Rock I had never been to Moss Mountain Farm until recently. This fall my mother, sister, and I attended a lunch tour at Moss Mountain Farm . People had come from many different states to visit! Moss Mountain is the home and gardens of well known horticulturist and life style guru P. Allen Smith.
If you are a gardener this is a tour that you would be interested in taking. You will see gorgeous English gardens in a very Arkansas setting. The best part was that Mr. Smith speaks at the luncheon in a tent on his property and is even more interesting in person than on media. Tours are not daily and they do fill up so be sure and plan ahead by checking the schedule at their website if you want to attend.
Riverfront Park stretches 11 blocks on the south bank of the Arkansas River in downtown Little Rock. It starts at the Clinton Library and ends at the Old State House. You will find a variety of activities at Riverfront Park.
There are playgrounds for children including a splash park. You will see two of the above mentioned pedestrian bridges, the Clinton Presidential Park Bridge and the Junction Bridge. Take some time to browse through the history pavilion that will help you envision the area the way would have appeared when it was only inhabited by native Americans.
There is sculpture all along the park as well as a sculpture garden. You will even find the “little rock” which gave the city its name.
Visit the Street Murals in the Little Rock
Little Rock is embracing the idea of outdoor art with wall murals. Many of Little Rock’s street murals are in the downtown area and not too far apart from one another which makes this activity a fun way to spend a morning. However, you will need a car for this activity as only a few are within walking distance from one another.
Many of the downtown murals are also near some of the best restaurants in the city so you can snack as you go.
Bonus: Visit the Old Mill
I’m calling this a bonus because The Old Mill is not actually in Little Rock. It is in a neighborhood across the Arkansas River in North Little Rock. However, it is definitely worth making the short drive to see.
The Old Mill is located in T.H. Pugh Memorial Park and is absolutely stunning. This is not an actual mill but instead was a reproduction created in the 1930’s. It includes some of the wonderful artwork of the Mexican artist Dionicio Rodriguez and was featured in the opening credits of the film, “Gone With the Wind.”
The Old Mill is free to the public from 8:00 to sunset.
It is a perfect place to relax on a nice day and provides a wonderful backdrop for photos. It is lovely in every season but is particularly beautiful when the flowers are blooming in the spring. It is a must see!
I hope you enjoy your visit to this fun city. There are even more outdoor activities and parks in Little Rock than are mentioned here. Let us know your favorites!
If you are planning to fly into Arkansas for your visit here is a post to tell you everything you need to know about the airports in Arkansas.
Thanks for stopping by!