We visited Tanyard Creek Nature Trail in Bella Vista, Arkansas for the first time on a gorgeous April day. It was so much more beautiful than I was even expecting!
This nature area is a must visit if you are in Northwest Arkansas.
Location of Tanyard Creek Nature Trail
Tanyard Creek Nature Trail is in Bella Vista, Arkansas only about 15 minutes north of Bentonville. The trails are located below the Windsor Lake Dam with the entrance off Highway 340.
The preserve is only about a mile from the town center of Bella Vista and you may be surprised to find that it is located in an urban residential area.
There is a nice parking lot where you will see a pavilion (that I believe is for residents only) and a map of the trails.
Just walk down the paved section of the trail from the parking lot and before too long you will forget that you are still in the city. Tanyard Creek Nature Trail is a perfect place to relax in the woods without driving too far.
As I mentioned there is a nice map of the trails at the parking area. You might want to take a photo of it to carry with you as the trails do meander all around. That’s what we did.
However, this area is compact enough that you are not likely to get lost!
There is a main walking loop, the Tanyard Creek Trail, that is 2.2 miles around. In addition you will find a shorter paved walking loop and a meadow loop that actually goes on top of the Lake Windsor dam.
This is an easy place to just wander around. There is a beautiful creek crossed by sturdy bridges. Best of all is the stunning waterfall that is created by the Lake Windsor spillway.
It is such a pretty spot! We were there on a Saturday and families were around picnicking, enjoying the wildflowers, the falls, and the warm sunshine.
There are some inclines on the trail especially as you near the falls but they are only for short distances. All Trails says that this is considered to be an easy loop. I would agree.
One thing you will probably not find, at least on the weekends, at Tanyard Creek Nature Trail is solitude. We were there on a Saturday and although I would not describe it as crowded there were definitely plenty of people around.
If you want to wander in silence try visiting during the week!
Is the Tanyard Creek Nature Trail a Good Place for Kids
I would say that the Tanyard Creek Nature Trail is a perfect place for children. I think most kids would find it to be quite magical.
You will definitely have to keep a close eye on younger kids especially around the waterfall as there are some very steep drop offs. Also, during times when there has been a lot of rain the water in the creek can really be roaring.
However, you should be able to go downstream a bit to where the water is shallower and calmer to find some nice spots for children to play.
Interesting Facts about the Nature Trail
One interesting thing that I learned about the nature trail is that, although it is open to the public, it is on private property. Also, volunteers maintain the area and it was completely financed by donations.
The volunteers walk the trails at least once a week to pick up trash and to make sure that everything is safe and looking good.
Additional Things to Know about Tanyard Creek Nature Trail
NOTE: Dogs are allowed on the trail as long as they are on a leash.
NOTE: I have heard that there are some fun geocaches and earthcaches to find along the Tanyard Creek Nature Trail if that is a hobby that you enjoy.
NOTE: A couple of people have told that you must be a part of the Bella Vista POA to visit the park. However, from what I can tell either not accurate or is not enforced.
Here is an article from 2019 from the Arkansas Democrat Gazette with this quote:
“The public is welcome to the trail. Bella Vista POA membership isn’t required.”Arkansas Democrat Gazette 2019
I found another article from back in 2015, that says that Bella Vista “could” start requiring visitors to have a POA card but they will only do this if there is bad behavior on the property.
I say, go ahead and visit Tanyard Spring Trails…but behave! Don’t leave trash, don’t be rude, don’t deface anything in the area, respect the natural environment, and leave no trace.
In other words, act like your mama raised you right!
It is a gorgeous place!