The state of Arkansas has many beautiful hikes, some of which are rugged and steep. But not this one! The Collins Creek Trail is an easy and beautiful hike.
This trail is located near the town of Heber Springs in the North Central region of Arkansas near the pristine Greer’s Ferry Lake. It follows Collins Creek from its source to where the creek flows into the Little Red River.
Location of the Collin’s Creek Trailhead
The Creek is within an area called John F. Kennedy Recreation area which sits below Greers Ferry Dam near the fish hatchery.
Go north on Highway 25 from the town of Heber Springs. Cross the Greer’s Ferry Dam, go past JFK park, and then turn right onto Hatchery Road. You will find the trail head only about .4 miles on the left.
About Collins Creek Trail
This is a short out and back hike. The total round trip is about 1.2 miles. It is mostly flat. There is a slight downhill at the beginning of the trail from the parking area to the cascades, however you will not encounter any steep or difficult areas along this trail.
The most beautiful part of Collins Creek Trail are the Collins Creek Cascades which are located approximately one hundred yards from the trailhead right at the beginning of the hike.
After the cascading water the trail continues alongside the creek, passes a playground, crosses the creek via a wooden bridge, then travels through the woods to the Little Red River.
There is also a nice campground at the end of the trail, the John F. Kennedy Park.
If you are looking for solitude then this is probably not the hike for you. This trail and this area can become quite busy especially on a pretty summer weekend, but it is still a lovely and peaceful place to get out in nature.
When is the Best Time to Visit?
This is a year round hike! My photos are from a late fall hike. However, I particularly love Collins Creek Trail in the summer.
First of all, it is a very shady trail.
Second, Collins Creek is always flowing and always refreshingly cold.
One thing that is important to know when hiking in Arkansas is that many of our streams, rivers, and creeks slow to a trickle or dry up completely in the summer time.
You can count on Collins Creek to be flowing year round and to be cold even in the muggy heat of an Arkansas summer.
Why is the Water So Cold?
You may notice that the water flows into the stream from a pipe in the ground. You can see it in the photo below.
In fact, this stream comes from the bottom of Greer’s Ferry Lake. It was originally blocked off when the dam was built. Then the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers teamed up to turn Collins Creek into a year-round trout fishery.
A buried line brings approximately 40,000 gallons of 50-degree water to the creek every hour. Although the stream is not stocked, brook and rainbow trout have reproduced naturally.
Is Collins Creek Trail a good hike for children?
Yes! This is a perfect hike for families as the terrain is mostly flat, there is a playground, and a cold creek to splash in.
NOTE: There is one area of concern along this trail. The Little Red River rises precipitously and begins to flow much more quickly when they release water from the nearby dam to generate electricity.
They blow a horn to notify anglers and anyone near the river before they begin to release water. However if you or your children are walking along the river, skipping rocks or fishing, you will want to pay attention to the horn and walk away from the river when you hear it.
Fishing on the Creek and in the Little Red River
At trails end on the Little Red River you are likely to see people fishing. You might want to join them! Here is some information about fishing on this river.
Young people under the age of 16 are also allowed to fish Collins Creek. However, it is a catch and release only area. Here is some other information regarding fishing on Collins Creek.
Be aware that you will need a license to fish in Arkansas.
I hope that you enjoy your visit to Collins Creek Trail. It is a beautiful place to simply enjoy nature, to rest on a rock while cooling your feet in the icy water, or to do a little fishing.
If you would like to try a longer hike one of our favorites is Seven Hollows Trail. This one is located in Petit Jean Mountain State Park.
Looking for a good climb? Try climbing Pinnacle Mountain in Pinnacle Mountain State Park near Little Rock.
Thanks for stopping by.