When Devin and I made plans to go to Arkansas I knew I would have to do plenty of research. I honestly had never considered visiting the state, but Devin's brilliant idea of visiting Crater of Diamonds State Park encouraged me to get to planning and make sure we enjoyed every bit of our time down there. I plan to do a full post of our entire trip itinerary, but the short version is that we did a 5-day road trip from DC to Tennessee to Arkansas to Texas to Missouri and back. It was extremely jam-packed, but honestly one of the best long-weekend trips I've ever done!
When I got to researching I kept seeing the same photo over and over again of this rock ledge that towered out over the mountains. Thanks to handy-dandy Pinterest and other amazing travel blogs I quickly found out that it was in the Ozark National Forest and could easily be found by doing the Hawksbill Crag Trail. The rock itself is called Whitaker Point, and it has been added to one of my very favorite places in the country.
We were staying in Little Rock so the drive to the trailhead was about 2.5 hours for us. The most important thing I can recommend to you is to plug 'Cave Mountain Church into your GPS'. The trailhead is only a quarter of a mile past the church and using GPS is easier than trying to navigate all of the state road directions that most sites give. Another word of caution is that the last 5 miles of the drive is uphill on a dirt/gravel/unpaved road. We were driving Devin's Camero and it was challenging, but not impossible. Once we got up there we realized many small cars made the drive and also had no problems. Also, another tidbit is to try to route it so you drive through Ozark National Park, not around it, so that you can take in all of the sweeping views and scenic overlooks- they're simply to die for!
The hike is very easy! I would 100% recommend for hikers of any experience levels including children. We saw families with babies, dogs, experience hikers, older couples, and everyone in between enjoying this hike. It's a 1.5 mile up-and-back trail so only 3 miles total and there really isn't any steep-walking. It's just a beautiful walk through the woods to get to the beautiful overlook and the Whitaker Point rock. Once we reached the point we sat and enjoyed the view for what seemed like hours. There were so many other people doing the same and it was really great to see so many people just enjoying their days and enjoyed some time out in the woods. For the best photo opportunities you can grab some on the rock OR you can stop about 15-20 yards before it for an amazing view of the whole rock hanging out over the mountain. Both views are breathtaking and worth the entire drive and hike there.
Next time I return I hope to take this hike in the Fall because I can only imagine how magnificent it looks when the trees are all different shades. Devin and I absolutely loved this part of our trip and cannot wait to return. We have many different destinations on our list in the years to come, but we will absolutely be revisiting Ozark National Forest at some point down the road.