Seven Hollows Trail is my favorite hike at Petit Jean State Park and one of my favorites in the state. This is a wonderful hike!
I also have a post about my favorite hikes in Arkansas.
Seven Hollows Trail at Petit Jean State Park
Location of Seven Hollows Trail
Petit Jean State Park pronounced “Petty Jean” by us locals is near the town of Morrilton, Arkansas just over an hour drive from the capitol city of Little Rock.
It is an easy drive and the road up the mountain to Petit Jean is not nearly as steep and twisty as the road up nearby Mount Nebo State Park. After you enter the park you will pass the Petit Jean Visitors Center and then Mather Lodge on your right. The Seven Hollows Trail parking lot is just about a mile past Mather Lodge on your left.
Restrooms and Water
Note that there are no restrooms or water at the trailhead but you can find both of these at either Mather Lodge or at the Petit Jean State Park Visitor center. You will probably want to stop at one of these places before you begin your hike of Seven Hollows Trail.
Length of Trail and Is it Busy?
The parking lot is roomy and on a nice weekend the trail can be busy. This is a popular state park and a popular hike. However, because Seven Hollows is a 4.4 miles long there is plenty of room for people to spread out and it rarely feels overly crowded unlike the nearby Cedar Falls Trail.
(Cedar Falls Trail is currently closed due to a storm that destroyed the bridge across the creek. We were told that they were hoping to reopen it in spring of 2021)
- This is a 4.4 mile loop trail.
- There is a short spur off the trail at about the 2 mile mark to an area called the grotto. The spur to the grotto is about .25 miles round trip.
- You will start on a short single trail and at about .1 mile choose to go right or left on the loop.
- Follow the blue blazes.
- Signage is good. The blazes are clear and easy to follow and the mileage is marked.
- The sign at the trail head claims that the trail takes 4 hours to walk. We finished in just over two hours. Obviously hiking times will vary widely
- Leashed dogs are allowed on the trail.
- The trail is shaded except at the tops of the rock bluffs which you will cross in between the “hollows.”
- If you are hiking during the spring or after a rainy period there will be wet weather streams along the trail that you will have to cross.
How Difficult is Seven Hollows Trail?
The first part of the trail will mostly be downhill whether you choose to hike clockwise or counter clockwise. After you get down in the “hollows” you will go up and down a little ending with a mostly uphill incline back to the parking lot.
The trail, like most in Arkansas, is rocky. There are spots where tree roots have the potential to catch your foot. You will need to watch your footing and I suggest sturdy shoes so as not to twist an ankle on the rocks.
Although the trail goes up some and down some there aren’t many places that are steep. The inclines are pretty gradual for the most part. There are a couple of spots that you will need to scramble up and over rocks.
Overall this is a moderately difficult trail.
Description of the Hike and Highlights of Seven Hollows Trail
The entire trail passes through a series of small canyons under the canopy of a dense hardwood and pine forest. You will be going down into and up out of four (no, not seven) of these little canyons or hollows. There are tons of interesting bluff lines and various rock formations along the way as well as beautiful foliage and plant life.
The trail starts as a single path and quickly comes to a point where you will turn right or left. We went left and immediately began descending. Right away you will notice the bluff line and gorgeous on your right you will see several cave like areas that you can go over and look into if you wish.
It was dry the day we hiked, but in wet weather you would be crossing some small streams that aren’t too hard to go over without getting wet.
At about 1.5 miles you will come to one of the most interesting spots on the trail
The Natural Bridge
There will be a sign and the Bridge will be on your left. It is really a stunning sight and a perfect spot to explore and take some photos and have a short break.
Soon after the Natural Bridge the trail will turn and start going up hill a bit then back into another hollow. As you rise up out of the hollows you will cross areas on the tops of the hills that are completely rock. These are really interesting with completely different plant life than down in the little canyons.
At about 2.1 you will cross a stream and then see the sign to the next highlight of the trail.
This is a little spur of about .25 miles round trip and, yes, it is definitely worth the extra steps especially if there have been recent rains! You will walk this trail along the base of the bluff line and there will be a couple of boulders that you will have to climb up and over. Footholds have been placed into the larger of the boulders to make it easier for you.
The Grotto is basically a little box canyon. There is a bluff on the left and a huge overhang on the right with a seasonal (wet weather) waterfall tumbling into a pool of water below. The water was barely trickling while we were there but it was still worth the quarter mile trek to see this really cool area.
As you exit the spur trail from the grotto you will go to your right and have to scramble up a steep rock, walk uphill for a while over some more rock formations and then back down into the woods. From about mile 3-4 is really beautiful. You will be back down in a wooded hollow with huge bluffs on either side. In wet weather you will cross a little stream on a small bridge.
At about 3.8 miles you will pass the boy scout trail. It is blazed white, so don’t turn on it, just keep following the blue blazes.
Soon you will come back to the single trail that leads to the parking lot.
When is the best time to hike Seven Hollows Trail?
In the spring you will see a number of little creeks and falling water and the waterfall at the Grotto area will be gorgeous.
If you aren’t from the south then you need to know that Arkansas is hot. Really hot…and really humid. There are also lots of mosquitos and ticks this time of year. Honestly? I rarely hike in the summer unless we get a rare cooler day. If I do hike in the summer I get an early start and use bug repellent. I suggest that you do the same.
Much of Seven Hollows Trail is, as the name implies, in a hollow which in the summer means without a lot of breeze so also come prepared with plenty of water and time to move slowly.
The sky is never bluer than it is in the fall and there are enough hardwoods in the hollows for this hike to have some amazing color. The creeks will typically be dry so you won’t see water running, but you also won’t have to worry about getting your feet wet.
In the winter during leaf-off there are some beautiful vistas from the tops of the canyons and if you hike on one of the first really cold days in winter you might catch some frost flowers. Winters are mostly mild in Arkansas and snow is rare, so you should be able to hike on all but the most unusually cold days.
One note is that if we DO get snow most of our roads will be closed.
Hope You Enjoy Your Hike at Seven Hollows Trail!
Arkansas has some amazing state parks. Check out Pinnacle Mountain State Park which is near Little Rock.
There are two more state parks near Petit Jean: Mount Nebo State Park has some amazing hiking and mountain biking. Mount Magazine State Park has great hikes and some of the prettiest overlooks in the state.
Thanks for stopping by!