An hour’s drive from downtown Conway, nature lovers can find many opportunities for outdoor play.
Greers Ferry Lake
A popular summertime destination that will take almost exactly an hour to drive to from downtown Conway is Greers Ferry Lake, located in Heber Springs. It is one of the most visited lakes in the nation, according to Park Ranger Jason Presley.
“We’ve got 11 different parks located around the lake and over 1,200 campsites,” Presley said. “We’ve got 40,000 acres of water to boat and swim on. We have several trails located in the Heber Springs area. There’s all kinds of fishing here. With the trout fishing in the tail waters of the Little Red River, you can catch four species of trout. In the lake there’s anything from bream fishing to bass to catfish to walleye to crappie. This area holds several records for walleye and the hybrid striped bass.
“We have scuba diving as well. It’s a very good lake to scuba dive in for the visibility. Divers have to have their diver flag. And it is suggested to wear your personal floatation device while boating on Greers Ferry. We have skiing, inner tubing, wake boarding — we have 276 miles of shoreline.”
Pinnacle Mountain State Park
Just 32 miles from downtown Conway is Pinnacle Mountain State Park. Adventurers can climb the mountain, and nature lovers can learn about different species of trees and plants.
Park interpreter Matthew Friant said, “We’re more than just the mountain. We have many miles of trails. We have the base trail all the way around the mountain. We have a paved trail, which is handicapped accessible. The arboretum trail illustrates for visitors the natural divisions of the state. All the trees and many plants and herbs are labeled. We have the Rocky Valley Trail; and the Ouachita Trail, which is 225 miles, runs through the park. We have two mountain bike trails.
“Other than hiking, we also have great fishing in the Little Maumelle River and the Big Maumelle River, which are great to catch largemouth bass and sun fish and catfish and crappie. We rent canoes and kayaks and people can float along the Little Maumelle River. That’s a popular thing.”
Petit Jean State Park
Located 37 miles from downtown Conway is Petit Jean State Park, a mountainous, wooded hideaway with overlooks, rock formations and a waterfall.
Park interpreter Rachel Ebrecht said, “We have about 20 miles of hiking trails. It’s a great place to go birding or to see a great sunset. We have several overlooks in the park. The scenery we have here, such as Cedar Falls, or the beautiful scenery at the overlook — also there are some wildflowers blooming this time of year — it’s a neat place to bring a camera and just see what you can find to photograph. We’re open all times of year, and what you can find changes from season to season.”
She noted there is a Cedar Falls overlook boardwalk, which is handicapped accessible.
(Staff writer Rachel Parker Dickerson can be reached by email at email@example.com or by phone at 505-1236. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)