How You Get to the Top of Pinnacle Mountain

While heading through Little Rock, Arkansas, you may decide to hike Pinnacle Mountain State Park. Do not worry if you have never hiked a mountain before. Pinnacle Mountain is just over 1,000 feet high, which is relatively small as far as mountains go. However, it might be a great place to practice mountain climbing, and this is how you get to the top of Pinnacle Mountain.

Getting to the Top at Pinnacle Mountain State Park

Address: 9420 AR-300, Roland, AR 72135

Hours of operation: This state park opens at 6:30am and closes one hour after sunset

Pinnacle Mountain State Park Trail Map

Without specific mountain climbing experience, it’s probably better to start with a small mountain, rather than trying to run up a stratovolcano like Mount Rainier in Washington. Pinnacle Mountain is the perfect size to gain such experience. Its height is much easier to conquer within an hour. There are only two trails which lead to the top of Pinnacle Mountain – East Summit Trail and West Summit Trail.

The top of Pinnacle Mountain from inside the state park.
Pinnacle Mountain from the west

Each summit trail is about the same distance, but the East Summit Trail is slightly more challenging. This may be the reason the West Summit Trail is known as one of the most used trails in Arkansas. Your total round trip distance will be about 1.5 miles, which is a short hike, but the mountain should be a nice workout.

Things to Do at Pinnacle Mountain State Park, AR

  • Dog friendly
  • Visitors center
  • Public restrooms
  • 15 miles of trails
  • Mountain biking
  • Canoeing
  • Playground
  • Pavilions
  • Arboretum

At this Arkansas State Park you can hike 15 miles with your dog, and climb to the top of Pinnacle Mountain. You can also mountain bike, or canoe along the Maumelle. Kids may enjoy the playground or the trails, but be careful climbing the mountain because there are large boulders to maneuver.

The rocks near the top of the mountain get very large.
Large rocks on top of Pinnacle Mountain

The West Summit Trail

We did not have time to hike 15 miles of natural trails. Not only was it a very cloudy day in the month of August, it was also slightly damp. Wet conditions increase the risk of injury while hiking. It was a weekday morning and very easy to find a place to park near the visitors center.

We investigated the visitors center and grabbed a trail map before heading to the top of Pinnacle Mountain. We hiked to the West Summit Trailhead, but it was not very close to the visitors center. If you do not want to see the visitors center, simply park closer to the trailhead of your choice.

The Arkansas River from the top of Pinnacle Mountain.
Little Maumelle River from Pinnacle Mountain

The Weather May be a Factor

The trail began much like many other hiking trails. We exited the road from the parking area and entered the forest. It was not very muddy because the rain was merely a mist. The water was not yet strong enough to break through the trees and reach the trail. It was humid, and I began to sweat well before reaching the summit. No cooling effect was noticeable even though I was sweating and getting wet.

The trail through the forest had twists and turns as it inclined slightly. It was not a wide trail, but we did not cross paths with too many other adventurers on the West Summit Trail. Eventually we reached a point where the trail seemed to disappear. I’d say it took place at the 3/4 mark, which meant there was only a quarter left to climb. However, the final part of the trail is the most difficult.

A slightly wet and very overcast day at Pinnacle Mountain State Park.
The top of Pinnacle Mountain State Park

Be Careful Climbing the Rocks on Top of Pinnacle Mountain

Once I reached the boulders, I had to go it alone. No, I did not leave my dog behind! She was not on this trip because she was not born yet. Pinnacle Mountain State Park is dog friendly though, so bring your furry family member along for the hike.

It was my better half who opted to stay behind because she did not want to risk climbing the wet rocks. I chose to hike the side where the rocks are the largest. To me this appeared to be the most logical “trail”, although it required the use of all fours. I bet my dog would have loved to see that!

Another view of Little Maumelle River

Carefully I hiked up the wet rocks and noticed that slipping off the side would not be a good option. The sides become dangerously steep as you get very close to the top of the mountain. All I could see was rocks and trees at this point.

Of course, it didn’t help that the sky was full of mist and clouds. I continued up the rocks, cautiously using my hands when necessary. The larger rocks were much less likely to move underneath my weight.

Pinnacle Mountain is Moderately Challenging

Suddenly, the rocky slope leveled off and I reached the pinnacle. I noticed other trail markers on top, but I was pretty sure the nature trail ended a while back where the boulders emerged. Although there are two routes to the top of Pinnacle Mountain.

I looked around for a few minutes in an attempt to admire the view. Sadly, it was still very dreary outside, even from the pinnacle of the mountain. I can only imagine what the view must look like on a beautiful day!

The view wasn't spectacular due to the weather, but I had conquered Pinnacle Mountain and reached the top.
Conquering Pinnacle Mountain

My apologies for the dreary looking photos. Unfortunately, I have little-to-no control over the weather. I was a little sweaty from the climb to the top, as well as slightly wet from the precipitation. The climb was moderately challenging for me, but may be more difficult for some individuals.

Conquering Pinnacle Mountain was fun, but the weather made the view less than spectacular. Appropriate footwear is necessary on the mountain, which is more difficult to hike than most nature trails. It’s important to watch your footing as well because it is much easier to twist an ankle walking on rocks. If you are hiking with your dog, make sure his or her steps are sound as well.

The large boulders can be a challenge near the top of Pinnacle Mountain
Large boulders near the top of the mountain

How Long Does It Take to Climb Pinnacle Mountain?

I treaded back down where the rocks were slightly smaller and my better half was waiting. She was so close to the top! We left the forest the same way we had come. Unfortunately, we did not have time to visit the arboretum, or the trail which runs along the Arkansas River. For us, the Pinnacle Mountain climb was out-and-back from the West Summit Trail.

The total distance traveled was only 1.5 miles, which took one hour

Although mountain biking is allowed, we did not notice anyone on bikes. Canoeing is also an option, but we did not get close enough to the river. Our hike at Pinnacle Mountain took one hour, and it seems like an excellent place to practice mountain climbing. If we ever return to Little Rock, we will definitely return to Pinnacle Mountain State Park.

Until Next Time

Prior to reaching the top of Pinnacle Mountain, the highest natural structure I had climbed was Enchanted Rock in Texas. I have hiked Enchanted Rock several times. On one of these occasions I attempted to speed run the Rock.

Perhaps I may return to speed run Pinnacle Mountain one day. In fact, I wonder how fast I could climb the mountain? Mountains are wonderful things and I look forward to climbing higher. Have you visited this state park? Let us know which route you took, and post a photo of your adventure.

I’m a certified personal trainer in San Antonio. After adopting Abbey, I created Places for Pups to help you get outside, exercise with your dog and have fun doing it.

We have mastered hiking in Texas Hill Country. Though we emerge from the woods unharmed, we are not responsible for you or your pets. You are solely responsible for trying exercises, or places discussed on this site.

Grab the best hiking gear and go dog friendly.  I wish you good fortune on the trails to come.


David Earley


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