Guide to Hiking in the Natural State

With hundreds of hiking trails, it’s easy to discover the beauty of Arkansas. Whether it’s warm or cold, Spring or Fall, it’s always a good time to hike and see the nature that Arkansas has to offer.  We’ve put together a list of some of our favorite hiking trails for some great outdoor adventures.  Lace up your hiking boots, pack a backpack with snacks and water and head out!

Whitaker Point Trail (Hawksbill Crag)

Located in the Ozark-St. Francis National Forest near Ponca, this trail boasts one of the most stunning viewpoints of Whitaker Creek and the vast valley below.  The trail gets its name from the rock formation outcrop that overlooks the bluff resembling a hawk’s beak.  The 1.5 mile to the (3 miles out-and-back) is rated as moderately challenging. 

Cedar Falls Trail

This trail begins behind the Mather’s Lodge in Petit Jean State Park on Petit Jean Mountain.  This winding trail is 1.9 mile out and back and features one of the tallest waterfalls in the state at 95 foot high.  The trail has a moderate/strenuous rating as the hike to waterfall is downhill and mostly uphill coming back. Once you’re finished, enjoy a delicious lunch at Mather’s Lodge with views of the park. 

Sugarloaf Mountain Summit Trail

Take the Sugar Loaf Shuttle from Fairfield Bay Marina to hike one of the only trails that is accessible by boat.  The Sugarloaf Mountain Summit Trail is about a 0.8 mile out and back hike with steep inclines.  At the top of mountain, you’ll enjoy a panoramic view of Greers Ferry Lake.  Although the shortest hike on this list, the rocky terrain make this one of the more difficult hikes.   

Pinnacle Mountain West Summit Trail

Located just west of Little Rock, this trail begins in Pinnacle Mountain State Park.   This 1.4 mile out and back trail is very rocky and is considered strenuous but the viewpoint at the top is worth the trek.  From the summit, you’ll experience stunning sights of Lake Maumelle, the Arkansas River Valley, the Ouachita Mountains, and West Little Rock.

CenterPoint to Goat Trail

Located in the heart of the Ponca Wilderness, the CenterPoint to Goat Trail is one of the most popular trails in the Buffalo River Valley Area.  This is the longest hiking trail on our list at 5.9 miles out and back and is considered challenging.  The Goat Trail is a narrow ledge that leads out onto the Big Bluff that overlooks the Buffalo River and Ozark Mountains that surround it. 

Boyhood Home of an Arkansas Star

What if we told you the legendary boyhood home of Johnny Cash has roots in agriculture? That’s right. The land where the home sits hold historic significance, even before the family of Johnny Cash would make it to this small Arkansas town.

All the way back in 1934, the Dyess Colony, a federal agricultural community, was established after the Works Progress Administration provided unemployed Americans with work opportunities. A Mississippi County native and Arkansas’ first WPA administrator, William Reynolds Dyess, moved to Arkansas in 1926 while working in construction. Fast forward to 1930, Dyess would buy a farm near Osceola. In the years after, the colony would see a visit by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, a change in WPA leadership and financial concerns that all led to the Cash family landing in Dyess.

After Dyess’ death, a man named Floyd Sharp took over as director of WPA. He brought with him the foresight to address financial obligations in the colony that were incurred by occupying homes and working the land. A part of that process included recruiting families from all over Arkansas to the colony. Ray and Carrie Cash were one of those families. They made the move in March 1935 along with their five children, Roy, 13; Louise, 11; Jack, 5; Johnny, 3; and Reba, 1. Not many houses remain from the colony, but the Cash’s home is one.

Johnny Cash would live here until graduating high school in 1950. Taught guitar by his mother and a childhood friend, he began playing music at the age of 12. You can hear the influence that Dyess had on a young Cash throughout his musical career. He also served in the Air Force from 1950-1954. Legend has it that Cash was the first American to be given the news of Joseph Stalin’s death. Upon leaving the Air Force, Cash and his first wife moved to Memphis. From there, he won over a producer at Sun Records, which led to his first recordings in June 1955.

The rest, as they say, is history. In 2011, Arkansas State University acquired the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home and helped make it what it is today. Be sure to make the trip to Northeast Arkansas and visit this historical site! They’re open Monday-Saturday from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. with tours of the house given on the hour. Tours include a visit to the museum, which will tell the story of the Dyess colony and a guided tour of the boyhood home of Johnny Cash. 

Finding Fun During an Arkansas Winter

Warm temperatures are the preference for most Arkansans. If you don’t believe us, just check the nearest body of water here in the Natural State any time between April and October. That said, we often get a little cabin fever during the colder months, so it’s good to have a list of climate-controlled activities that will keep your family active and smiling all winter long.

We’ve pulled together a list of some of the best spots to have a little indoor fun while we wait on the thermometer to rise a bit more. From Smackover to Jonesboro and Little Rock to Bentonville, here’s a list of 9 great options for non-stop action that should definitely hold you over until it’s shorts-and-sandals season again.

Mid-America Science Museum – Hot Springs

Mid-America Science Museum is a resource for innovative Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and serves as a unique destination for families. It provides an escape for curious minds of all ages and is located less than a mile from Hot Springs National Park.

Little Rock Climbing Center – Little Rock

This indoor hub of fun and fitness features climbing walls, top-rope stations, auto-belay stations, a fitness gym, large bouldering area and much more! Day passes are available and they’re open seven days a week.

Scott Family Amazeum – Bentonville

The Amazeum features approximately 50,000 square feet of exhibit and learning spaces inside the museum to bring learning to life and enhance family involvement, while evoking a sense of curiosity and discovery through hands-on activities.

Forrest L. Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center – Jonesboro

The Forrest L. Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center on the southern edge of Jonesboro tells the story of a unique ridge atop the Mississippi Delta with indoor and outdoor exhibits, films and trails. The three-story facility adjoins the southern boundary of Craighead Forest Park and includes a 5.5-acre prairie, 2.5-acre pond and approximately 100 acres of woodlands. Game and Fish Nature Centers are also located in other areas of the state. See a full list here.

U.S. Marshals Museum – Fort Smith

Complete with immersive exhibits and interactive storytelling, get the history of the U.S. Marshals Service. From tales of colonial days and the western frontier to challenges of a Marshal’s life today, you’ll encounter an America you never knew and be inspired by the men and women whose service and strength helps hold it all together.

Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources – Smackover

South Arkansas is home to the unique story of the 1920s oil boom. Inside the museum, tour a reproduction of a boomtown with an old jail and café. The streets are even lined with vintage trucks and gas pumps. Walking the grounds of the state park, you’ll see working oil field equipment used in the area, including a replica of a 112-foot derrick and a central power station that could pull up to 15 wells.

Blanchard Springs Caverns – Fifty Six

Located in Stone County, approximately 2 miles off Highway 14 near Mountain View, the Blanchard Springs Caverns is one of the most spectacular and carefully developed caves found anywhere. Visitors enter a “living” cave where glistening formations like stalactites, stalagmites, columns, and flowstones are still changing. 

Hijinx – Jonesboro

From bowling to ropes courses to laser tag and everything in between, there’s lots to choose from at this NEA hotspot offering a host of family entertainment options for fun-seekers of all ages and skill levels. The only problem might be getting your family to leave!

Museum of Discovery – Little Rock

The Museum of Discovery is Little Rock’s premier science and technology center, with a mission to ignite and fuel a passion for science, technology, engineering, arts and math through dynamic, interactive experiences. For kids young and old, the museum is a great place to explore the exciting world of science!

Buy Your Holiday Gifts At Arkansas’s Handmade Markets

Christmas is almost here, which means it’s time to start getting your holiday shopping done. There are tons of options from big box stores, shopping malls, and, of course, online retailers, but why not do something a bit more unique this year? Across Arkansas, you’ll find handmade markets where you can find all kinds of handcrafted items that make the perfect gift for your loved ones. Let’s check a few markers worth checking out this holiday season. 

Arkansas River Holiday Market

November 4, 9 a.m.–4 p.m.

Kay Rogers Park

4400 Midland Ave

Fort Smith, AR 

The Arkansas River Holiday Market is a holiday shopping extravaganza featuring over 120 booths, but there isn’t just shopping to be done. The market also has various food trucks for anyone looking to grab a bite to eat and the North Pole’s most famous resident, Santa Claus, will be making an appearance. 

Mistletoe Market

November 9–11

4425 Jefferson Avenue #115

Texarkana, Arkansas 

Finding a unique and handmade gift for loved ones in your life will be no problem at the Mistletoe Market. You’ll also find several events for young children like a visit from both Mr. and Mrs. Claus, crafting and story time. There is also a breakfast and brunch. Beyond the great shopping, the market is the largest fundraiser for the Junior League of Texarkana.  

NWA Holiday Market

November 10–11, 2023

Friday, 9 a.m.–8 p.m.

Saturday, 9 a.m.–6 p.m.

1420 S 48th St.

Springdale, Arkansas

The local talent on display at the Northwest Arkansas Holiday Market is second to none. Anything your loved ones want can be found here. Everything from clothing, glassware, tasty holiday treats, handmade woodwork, even custom items for your pets and more. 

Ree’s Royal Winter Market

November 18, 8 a.m.–6 p.m.

4831 Malvern Ave.

Hot Springs, Arkansas

You can choose from over 50 local vendors, crafters, artists, and boutiques at Ree’s Royal Winter Market. Once your shopping is all done, get your fill at one of the several outstanding food trucks on site. Lastly, you can keep your little ones entertained with live holiday music and a petting zoo.

45th Annual Christmas Showcase

December 1–3

Arkansas State Fairgrounds, Hall Of Industry

2600 Howard Street

Little Rock, Arkansas

This annual holiday event put on by the Arkansas Craft Guild continues to be the crown jewel of handmade holiday shopping markets in the state. All the best craftsmen and artists throughout the state gather to showcase wood carving, pottery, wooden kitchen tools, stained-glass, handmade jewelry in precious metals and stones, lamp-worked glass bead jewelry and much more. 

Holiday shopping can be hard, but finding high-quality home, life, and auto insurance doesn’t have to be with the help of Farm Bureau Insurance of Arkansas. Use our Agent Finder to contact a local agent and get a fast and free quote today.

Christmas Parades of Arkansas

With the summer long gone, and fall getting ready to wrap up, we’re closing in on the most wonderful time of the year. Arkansas has plenty of fun activities around Christmas, one of which is the fantastic Christmas parades that take place all around the state. Here are a few events that are worth checking out this holiday season. 

Christmas Parade of the Ozarks

Springdale, AR

November 25, 2023

One of the earliest Christmas parades you can attend is a post-Thanksgiving tradition in the city of Springdale, Christmas Parade of the Ozarks. Businesses and organizations are encouraged to enter floats for the annual event, as hundreds of families line the streets.

Christmas Parade of Lights

Eureka Springs, AR

December 1, 2023

Floats, bands, walkers, and hundreds of thousands of lights will be on display during the Christmas Parade of Lights in Eureka. As of this writing, the 2023 theme has yet to be announced, but one thing is clear, a certain North Pole resident will be present at the parade. 

North Little Rock Sertoma Christmas Parade

North Little Rock, AR

December 3, 2023

North Little Rock gets in the Christmas spirit every year at the North Little Rock Sertoma Christmas Parade, and in 2023 it returns. The parade will feature various floats, marching groups, decorated vehicles, school groups, local pageant winners, equestrian riders and, of course, Santa. 

Paragould Christmas Parade

Paragould, AR

December 5, 2023

The Chamber of Commerce for Paragould is putting on its annual Christmas tradition, the Paragould Christmas Parade in downtown Paragould. Walking and riding groups will be joined by antique cars, trucks, and tractors. 

El Dorado Christmas Parade

El Dorado, AR

December 7, 2023

The annual El Dorado Christmas Parade is the largest holiday parade in south Arkansas and a huge favorite among the locals. The Square has become the go-to spot to watch floats, bands, and other parade entries as they make their way toward downtown El Dorado.

Celebrating the holiday season across the states means you’ll be on the road, and when you do, you shouldn’t have to worry about car insurance. Farm Bureau Insurance of Arkansas offers high-quality car insurance that keeps you covered. Contact your local agent for a quote today.

Arkansas Duck Hunting Season Information for 2023

Duck hunting season is here again, and we’ve got all the information Arkansas hunters need to start bagging. 

When is Duck Hunting Season?

Nov. 18–26, 2023

Dec. 9–23, 2023

Dec. 27, 2023–Jan. 31, 2024

Duck Hunting Bag Limits

This year’s daily bag limit is six, with includes the following limitations:

  • four mallards (two hens) 
  • one scaup 
  • three wood ducks 
  • one pintail 
  • two redheads 
  • two canvasbacks 
  • two black ducks 
  • one mottled duck

The coot daily bag limit is 15. The merganser daily bag limit is five, which may include no more than two hooded mergansers. The possession limit for ducks, coots, and mergansers is three times the daily bag limit.

Hunting Licenses, Permits, and Stamps

Hunting License

If you’re looking to hunt in Arkansas, you’ll need to purchase a hunting license online from the Arkansas Game and Fishing Commission.

Duck Stamps

Besides a hunting license, anyone hunting migratory waterfowl requires a signed Federal Duck Stamp with them. You can purchase them online through the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Additional Information

If you are interested in finding out more about this year’s duck hunting season, the Arkansas Game and Fishing Commission has released the 2022-23 Arkansas Waterfowl Hunting Guidebook.

If you’ve invested in your hunting equipment, you’ll want to protect it with Farm Bureau Insurance of Arkansas. Speak to a local agent near you and find out what protection we offer.

Help Feed Arkansas During Hunger Action Month

Anytime is a good time to help those in need throughout the state, but September is a great time as this month marks the start of Hunger Action Month. Arkansas Farm Bureau Insurance Company (AFBIC) has been proud to partner with the Arkansas Food Bank over the years, helping feed countless needy families. If you’re looking to learn more, this blog will provide you some information about their organization, the need to help right here at home, and how you can get involved. 

History of the Arkansas Food Bank

The Arkansas Food Bank was founded in 1984 after the rice farmers in the state realized that their crop surplus could be used to help feed their neighbors in need. Within two years, the Arkansas Food Bank had distributed over 1 million pounds of food. A few years later, in 1989, the Arkansas Food Bank became a member of the Feeding America network, which greatly expanded its reach to acquire and distribute more food.

How Hunger Impacts Arkansas

Despite those remarkable efforts over the years, more than 467,550 people in Arkansas may not know where their next meal will come from. According to Feeding America, more than 134,690 of those hungry in Arkansas are children, meaning 1 in 6 children throughout the state face hunger. 

The biggest burden facing needy families is, of course, a lack of financial resources. SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) does a lot to bridge the meal gap for many families, especially families with young children. Around 48.3 percent of households receiving SNAP benefits have children. However, even these programs aren’t enough as Arkansans still need around $262,358,000 more per year to cover the cost of food.

Ways You Can Help Out

Donate Funds

There are many ways you can help out, with the first and easiest way being to donate money. You can donate directly to the Arkansas Food Bank online. You can donate via phone by calling (501) 569-4306 or by text message by simply texting “Donate” to (844) 381-3663. Lastly, you can donate by mail at 4301 W 65th Street, Little Rock, AR 72209. Be sure to make checks payable to the Arkansas Foodbank.

Donate Food

You can donate food by hosting a food drive. Those looking to donate will find plenty of information online at the Arkansas Food bank website, as well as a helpful guide about which items are most needed

Where You Can Go to Donate

The Arkansas Foodbank isn’t the only food bank doing great work to feed the hungry in our state. There are six major food banks that serve Arkansans located throughout the state, as well as one location in neighboring Tennessee. Finding the location nearest you is a great place to get started. 

Northwest Arkansas Food Bank

1378 June Self Dr.

Bethel Heights, AR 72764

River Valley Regional Food Bank

1617 South Zero St.

PO Box 180070

Ft. Smith, AR 72918

Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas

3414 One Place

P.O. Box 2097

Jonesboro, AR 72402

Arkansas Foodbank

4301 W 65th St.

Little Rock, AR 72209

Harvest Regional Food Bank, Inc.

3120 East 19th St.

P.O. Box 707

Texarkana, AR 71854

Mid-South Food Bank

3865 S Perkins Rd.

Memphis, TN 38118

Farm Bureau Insurance of Arkansas has proudly served the state for over 70 years, providing high-quality home and auto insurance. Speak with an agent to get a fast and risk-free quote today.