We took a trip through the central, northern, and western part of Arkansas to enjoy the changing color of the trees in fall and to do a bit of hiking and sightseeing. The last time we were in Arkansas was 30 years ago. The first destination of our trip was Hot Springs and then we traveled north then west before returning home after a little less than 2 weeks. We were just a bit early for tree leaf color in Hot Springs but were rewarded with full color as we traveled north.
Here is Karin, relaxing by Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs after our drive to Arkansas. As you can see, not much fall color here yet.
Photo of the Full Moon Bridge in Garvan Gardens in Hot Springs. Garvan Gardens is a 210-acre botanical garden owned by the University of Arkansas. The gardens are situated on a woodland peninsula with 4.5 miles (7 km) of shoreline on Lake Hamilton with many paths to explore. Verna Cook Garvan began to develop the site in 1956 as a garden and possible future homesite. Over the next 40 years, she planted thousands of specimens. She willed the property to the University of Arkansas. While we were there, the staff was stringing lights in the trees and bushes for the holidays.
Set on a hillside overlooking Lake Hamilton, the Anthony Chapel is a serene haven nestled among the dense pines and hardwoods of the Garvan Gardens. This chapel was designed by the same firm that designed the Thorncrown Chapel near Eureka Springs (Photos further down this post). The chapel is a wood structure with steel brackets and glass walls connecting you with the surrounding nature.
The Grotto of the Seven Hollow trail in Petit Jean State Park. This small water fall drops about 15 feet into a grotto. This was a really nice 5 mile hike.
Karin taking a break on the Petit Jean Seven Hallows trail with a nicely colored maple in the background.
We next went to Mt. Magazine State Park. The hickory nut trees in this photo are at peak color. This park has the highest point in Arkansas (2,753ft)
Looking up at the leaves on hickory nut trees on Mt Magazine on our way up to the summit. The only thing at the summit is a sign in the woods – no views.
A view out over Bear Hollow from the East loop of the Benefield trail on Mt Magazine. The trees are at prime color.
Karin down the East Loop of Benefield trail on Mt Magazine surrounded by golden hickory nut trees.
Randy on a ledge on the Benefield trail on Mt Magazine.
The red color is from Black Gum trees and the yellows are from hickory nut trees – the North Rim trail on Mt Magazine
Karin enjoying some quiet time at Dill Point on the North Rim trail of Mt Magazine.
One of our neighbors told us about a cemetery in Harrison Arkansas that had a very large collection of beautiful maples. We decided to check this out and were rewarded with one of the largest collection of maple in full color that I have ever seen. The name was Maple Leaf Cemetery.
Maple Leaf Cemetery
Maple Leaf Cemetery
The Lost Valley trail is great little wooded trail in the Buffalo National River area. The trail follows a valley to a waterfall.
Randy and Karin on the Lost Valley trail
Randy checking out the trickle of the bottom cascade of the Eden water fall on the Lost Valley trail
Randy on the “Hawks Bill” on Whitaker Point in the Buffalo National River area. This was a nice 3 mile hike out to a ledge for great views out over the canyons. This was a fun trail but required a slow drive down 6 miles of unimproved road to get to the trailhead.
Several nicely colored maple trees in a yard in Eureka Springs.
This was our second visit to the Thorncrown Chapel outside Eureka Springs. We visited this chapel 30 years ago. Jim Reed purchased the land which is now the site of the chapel in 1971 to build his retirement home. One day while walking up the hill to his house, the idea came to Jim that he and his wife should build a wood and glass chapel in the woods to give wayfarers a place to relax in an inspiring way. The architect, E. Fay Jones, a professor at the university of Arkansas at Fayetteville, designed the building for Jim Reed. Jones was an apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright during his professional career and was the only one of Wright’s disciples to have received the AIA Gold Medal (1990), the highest honor awarded by the American Institute of Architects. The chapel has won numerous architectural awards such as the American Institute of Architects Design of the Year Award for 1981 and AIA’s prestigious 25 Year Award. Recently, members of the American Institute of Architects placed Thorncrown Chapel fourth on its list of the top buildings of the twentieth century. The chapel, with all the wood visible through the glass is an inspiring place. By the way, we were told the cost to clean all the glass was about $30,000.
The Mildred B. Cooper Memorial Chapel in Bella Vista, Arkansas, was another project of the architect, E. Fay Jones. The Cooper Chapel is more in the Gothic style and the structure is made of steel and glass.
Inside the Cooper Chapel
We spent time in the Crystal Bridges museum in Bentonville, AR. This museum was spearheaded by Alice Walton, the daughter of Walmart founder Sam Walton. The collection is from American artists spanning different genres. The museum’s glass-and-wood design by architect Moshe Safdie and engineer Buro Happold features a series of pavilions nestled around two creek-fed ponds and forest trails.
Crystal Bridges Museum