With social distancing and mask mandates still being enforced around Northwest Arkansas, more locals are looking for fun activities that still comply with our current situation. The good news for us natives of NWA is that we live in one of the best spots in the country to enjoy the outdoors. Here we have outlined several places in the area to safely explore from the end of summer into the fall months.
NWA is home to over 200 miles of trails and while you may not get the chance to walk, jog or ride down them all, the most noteworthy is the Razorback Greenway. This 36 mile path spans from north Bentonville to south Fayetteville and includes 6 downtown locales, a plethora of arts and entertainment venues, historic sites, and parks & playgrounds. For all those who enjoy leisurely cycling, the RG is also the site of the area’s annual Square to Square event. Every fall, families and individuals alike are invited to bike from the Fayetteville town square to Bentonville’s downtown with stops along the route that feature eats, drinks and entertainment. Although the cities of Fayetteville and Bentonville have announced a safe, virtual alternative for the event, it is sure to be just as enjoyable. More information about the September 19 – November 1 ride can be found at their website.
Other reputable options for outdoor fun can be found at Crystal Bridges. Although the museum is known primarily for homing internationally recognized art, it’s exterior has just as much to offer. The 4-plus miles of trails and grounds make up the 120 acre site that is filled to the brim with exquisite landscaping. Visitors are invited to enjoy 8 different trail options, each with varying lengths, difficulty and surfaces; walk, bike, or skate around on your choice. Along the trails, spectators may take in scenic waterfalls, foliage and outdoor artwork. With so much to see and do, Crystal Bridges once again proves their value to Bentonville and surrounding communities. Access more info including an interactive trail map and plant guide by downloading the CB Outdoors App!
Where there is water, fun can always be found. One of the many benefits of living in Northwest Arkansas is being a short drive to a body of water at all times. Of course, one of our favorite spots as locals is Beaver Lake, as it offers options for boating, fishing, and water skiing and is no more than 20 minutes from anywhere in NWA. Just a short drive out of town is the Buffalo National River, also offering a wide variety of outdoor activities from kayaking, floating, camping and hiking. Other notable rivers in our area include the White and the Kings, both of which offer similar amenities to Beaver and the Buffalo. There are only a couple more months left to relax and unwind by the water while the weather still permits, so be sure to relish the opportunity!
If you’re looking for outdoor fun a little closer to home, Lake Atalanta is a great option. This public park sits just east of downtown Rogers and offers 10 miles of soft-surface, multi-use trails. Enjoy a low-impact hike, relax under a pavilion with a lake view, or even cast a line at one of the many fishing piers. The convenience of Lake Atalanta makes this spot a great weeknight mini-adventure!
Tucked away near the 8th Street market and the new Momentary Museum is Bentonville’s soon-to-open Osage Park! This much-needed, outdoor experience is a space for all! The Walton Family-funded park will feature a music pavilion, pickleball courts and even a true recreational lake that will mirror the activities available at Lake Fayetteville. Kayaking, canoeing, and fishing are just some of the options that will be present in the coming months! The 55 acre park will also feature 12 acres of wetlands and 11 acres of native landscape. Select areas of the project are now open to the public with more information to come on the completion. More information can be found at the Walton Family Foundation website.
With so many natural resources coupled with a corporate funding of outdoor activities, we are presented with a multitude of opportunities for excitement. Although the coming months may present some uncertainty and choices remain limited, we are fortunate to live in a place where enjoying the outdoors is so accessible. If you haven’t already, take a step outside and discover the treasures in your own backyard.