We had a chance to catch up with Al Knox, Trails Maintenance Supervisor, from Hobbs State Park. He gave us some insights in to camping at Hobbs State Park, best times to visit and the popular activities in the park. Read below for some insider information on a great state park in Northwest Arkansas.
Visit the Visitor Center, get park info., buy a good wildflower guide book, get a free trail map, then hike the half mile self guided Historic Van Winkle Trail.
Al’s Favorite Campsite
Campsite #1 ; because it is well off the Pigeon Roost main trail, above a bluff overlooking Beaver Lake. You can see eagles flying eye to eye in winter, and it is isolated from other campsites, and has only one tent pad.
Get To Know Hobbs State Park
What are some unique features of Hobbs State Park
Unique features of “the Hobbs” as it is known locally, are that it’s Mission Statement is: “ to provide enriching educational and recreational experiences in harmony with resource stewardship”: it is the largest state park by land size and is the only state park that allows gun deer and turkey hunting. Plus, it is the only park with a “conservation area” designation. Most of the 12,000 wooded acres, a mixture of oak, hickory, and pine, is open to hunters with permits. Hiking trails are closed during these dates; November 16-20, and December 7-11.
The park Visitor Center is open every day year around, except Thanksgiving and Christmas. This building is also a unique feature, built with large open beams with an old Ozark barn theme. A nature viewing area with computerized self interactive features and cultural historical displays entertains and educates the public. A mock up underground cave with interactive lights gives visitors a realistic look and feel of at a typical Ozark cave. A well stocked gift shop amazes most visitors. Free trail brochures and maps are available, not only for the Hobbs, but also for all 52 State Parks, and many local features and businesses.
What are the most popular activities in the park?
Many different things to do include: hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, backpacking, birding, nature viewing, gun shooting range (pistol and rifle only), historic civil war home site and mill area, guided and self guided hikes, nature related programs for whole family, geo-caching, pontoon boat lake cruises, kayaking lessons, eagle watch cruises, picnic areas, large and small game hunting in seasons, and more.
Where is Hobbs State Park located? What are some other attractions in the area?
The park is in Rogers, AR close to Missouri border. Overnight visitors to NW Arkansas have a plethora of eating, sleeping, and other services readily available within 15-25 miles of Hobbs park. The new “World Trade Center” businesses, world class Crystal Bridges Museum, War Eagle Cavern, Corps of Engineer lake marinas with full service campgrounds (you can car camp there, and day hike our trails!).
What is the best times to visit Hobbs State park?
Best times to visit, according to most folks, are Fall and Spring, with great tree leaf colors and wildflowers at both times. However, winters are usually mild, and great for hiking, mountain biking, and horse back riding on 24 miles of multi-use trails and 11 miles of foot traffic only. Six different trails provide options for all ages, and two are fully handicapped accessible.
What are the campsites like? Are they more open or secluded?
Currently , the only overnight camping allowed is a primitive area, which is only accessed by a four mile hike on the Pigeon Roost Trail, or by boat on the 28,000 acre Beaver Lake which is much closer. There are five different camp sites on a high ridge overlooking the Van Winkle Hollow cove. Each site has 2 – 4 tent pads, metal fire rings with grills, and lantern hanger poles.
There is no electricity or water on site. Trailhead parking is located one mile east of the park Visitor Center on Highway 12. Reservations are not required, but calling ahead (479-789-5000), or checking the bulletin board sign in sheet upon arrival is suggested. There is a pit toilet at the trailhead, but no drinking water . Hikers should bring there own, or fill up canteens at the Visitor Center. The trail is considered moderately strenuous due to hill ups and downs, and is popular with day hikers and beginning backpackers. Two connected 4 mile loops provide choices, as well as a shorter 2 mile hike to a lake cove with overlook.