Two Rivers Park has the best views in Little Rock that don’t require climbing! In fact, you would be hard pressed to find any elevation at all at Two Rivers Park. This park is set on 1,000 acres of river bottom land so it is almost perfectly flat and is an amazing place for biking, jogging, walking, and stroller pushing!
About Two Rivers Park
Two Rivers is part of the Arkansas River Trail. The Arkansas RIver Trail is an expansive 88-mile loop through the Natural State, including Little Rock, North Little Rock, Maumelle and Conway.
Two Rivers is just one of 38 parks that are connected by the Arkansas River Trail and it is considered the most natural portion of the entire loop. Sitting at the confluence of the Arkansas River and the Little Maumelle River, the park has 450 acres of mostly wooded wetlands and 550 acres of open fields.
A Quick History
This is a park with a past. It was once the Pulaski County Penal Farm. At its height, the farm had 2000 prisoners growing corn and soybeans and raising cattle, pigs, and chickens. The penal farm was closed in 1974. The park was dedicated in 2011.
There are two parking areas for the Two Rivers Park.
Parking Lot 1: To arrive at the first parking lot take Exit 9 off of I-430 to merge onto AR-10 W/Cantrell Rd. Turn right (North) onto River Mountain Rd. Follow road to right and it will dead-end into park parking area. After parking you will cross the pedestrian bridge into the park.
Parking Lot 2: The second parking area is farther west. Take Cantrell Road/Hwy 10 west to Pinnacle Valley Road, turn right, follow Pinnacle Valley Road until it makes a left turn. At that point you will go straight (follow the signs) onto County Farm Road to Two Rivers Park.
Both lots usually have spots available during the week, but both can get busy on the weekend. The lot that is farther east near the pedestrian bridge tends to fill up more quickly. Try the lot that is further west if the first one is full.
The gates open at 5:30AM and close at 9:00PM
The park has a nice pedestrian bridge also known as Two Rivers Bridge that crosses the Little Maumelle River. It is located at easternmost parking area or as I’m calling it – Parking Lot 1. Be sure and stop and check out the view of Pinnacle Mountain from the apex of the bridge, the turn around and check out the views of the I-430 freeway bridge! The pedestrian bridge is one of the best places in town to watch the sunset!
There are two main paved trails at the Park. These are wide enough to accommodate both bikes and pedestrians.
Trail 1: This is a 3 mile “lollipop” trail with a long handle and a small loop on the end. You can access this trail from either parking lot.
If you start at Parking Lot 1 you will cross the Little Maumelle River on the pedestrian bridge and start walking on the loop section of the trail. Follow it around and when you reach the public restrooms and Parking Lot 2 you can turn around and come back or if you want to walk further take a left and follow the sidewalk which will connect you to Trail 2.
If you want to access Trail 1 from Parking Lot 2 you will park, cross the street, then follow the paved path in front of the public bathroom and into the woods. This part of the trail will continue until you reach the loop at the end. Go either direction on the loop, follow it around, and you will eventually find yourself heading back to your parked vehicle.
There are a few benches along this trail and some picnic tables on the end of the little loop. You will pass through wooded areas, fields, and marsh land. It’s all pretty. There are also some nice views toward the I-430 Bridge across the Arkansas River at the tip of the loop.
Trail 2: The second trail is accessed from the western parking lot or Parking lot 2. Actually, you can also get to it from Parking lot 1, but you will have to walk further – it’s up to you to decide how far you want to travel that day!
This is a loop trail. Much of it is through wide open fields. You will have amazing views across the little Maumelle river, to the Arkansas River, and out to the I-430 bridge.
My favorite view in the entire park is the vista across a wide open field out towards Pinnacle Mountain.
You will find that there are several different paved paths so it is hard to determine exact mileage on this loop, but if you take the longest way around it is approximately 2.7 miles.
It is on this trail that you will see the “Garden of Trees” project. There are new groves growing in this section of the park. The purpose is to showcase native trees by transforming some of the fields into walkable gardens of trees.
You can hike both trails: The two trails are connected by a path so you can also walk, jog, or bike both sections together. The entire thing is about 6.3 miles.
Misc Trails: There are some unpaved trails that will take you along the river or through the trees. You will see access to them off of the main paved trails. Remember this is river bottom land so these off-pavement trails can be a bit muddy if it has been raining.
The entire park is exceptionally scenic.
This park can get busy with foot and bike traffic. Fortunately, there is also a lot of space to spread out so it never feels too terribly crowded, but you will definitely be sharing the trails so be considerate of others!
If you are a walker stay to the right to allow faster traffic to pass you. Be aware that some of the bikers are surprisingly speedy! In addition, those newer bikes are so quiet that you often don’t hear them until they are right upon you. As a walker I really appreciate it when a biker will call out “on your left” or something of the sort so that I am aware that they are approaching. If you are with children or pets watch that they don’t dart out in front of a bike rider.
Don’t walk or ride with too many people side by side. Everyone should be cognizant of how much space they are taking up and what is around. Be especially careful if you are walking with earbuds because they will make it harder to hear the bikes coming up behind you.
Because this is a well traveled park I have always felt safe at Two Rivers. I often walk there on my own. You will see people of all ages at all hours. As with anywhere be wise and use common sense. Lock your car and be aware of your surroundings.
Dogs are allowed but must be on a leash.
You will hardly feel like you are in the city while at Two Rivers Park. Of course birds are plentiful and their songs are delightful. This is a great place for birdwatchers. You will spot a wide variety of the typical songbirds, and you will also see great blue herons and egrets.
You will also regularly catch sight of deer at Two Rivers, sometimes in groups of 6 or 7. You are most likely to see deer in the early morning or at dusk. You might even be lucky enough to see a fawn in the spring or summer.
Squirrels are abundant and very visible. The raccoons and possums are out there but harder to spot. You will see turtles and hear bullfrogs and…there are also snakes. I’m not a fan of snakes, but the paths are wide enough to allow you to give them a wide berth. Just be aware!
All this talk of views and woods and fields and wildlife makes Two Rivers sound like some type of urban paradise. In many ways it is! However, the one thing that might surprise you is that in some parts of the park you will hear quite a bit of highway noise. The sound of the cars on the Interstate bridge carries across the river. It might look like you are in the middle of nowhere, but it doesn’t always sound like it!
Is Two Rivers Park a good place for children?
Do keep in mind that there are no playgrounds at Two Rivers. If your child is craving a playground you will find a really nice one at nearby Pinnacle Mountain State Park! However, I think Two Rivers is a great place to bring children to ride their bikes or scooters or just to run around in the wide open fields. Just remind them to watch out for the other pedestrians and bikers! It is also a great place for parents to push a stroller or to run with a jogging stroller because the trails are paved and flat.
There are almost always people fishing at Two Rivers. You can fish off the banks into the Little Maumelle or use a fishing boat. People catch warm water fish here such as crappie, bream, bass, and catfish.
Kayaking and Canoeing and Boating
Kayaking, Canoeing and boating are popular activities at the park. You can bring your own watercraft or you can rent single or dual kayaks or paddle boards from Rock Town River Outfitters. They even offer guided tours!
When I was a kid people used to water ski in these waters, but I don’t see anyone doing that anymore. Perhaps it is no longer allowed!
The community gardens at Two Rivers offer county residents the ability to lease a plot for a nominal fee. The gardens are fenced to protect the plants from deer and other critters. One of my favorite things is walking through the garden area in the spring and summer to see what all is growing!
Two Rivers Park is a special place for locals to enjoy and definitely a must see for visitors to Little Rock.
Another great location for beautiful river scenery is the William Kirsch Preserve which is near Two Rivers Park.
Thanks for stopping by!