Pinnacle Mountain State Park – a Great Place to Practice Mountain Climbing


We were heading through Little Rock, Arkansas and decided to do some hiking at Pinnacle Mountain State Park. I had never hiked a mountain before. Topping out at just over 1,000 feet, Pinnacle Mountain is relatively small as far as mountains go, but I had to start somewhere.

It’s probably better to start with a small mountain, rather than trying to run up a stratovolcano like Mount Rainier. I had seen Rainier from afar during a trip to Seattle and desperately wanted to climb it. What began as an unknown in that case, turned into a long term goal. The situation with Pinnacle Mountain was much different. Its height is much easier to maneuver within an hours time.

Pinnacle Mountain from inside the state park.

Amenities

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

The Map Is Optional

Let’s get right to it. 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 was very easy to find a place to park near the visitors center. We briefly checked the center out and grabbed a map so that we would know which way to go. We walked to the 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 trail.

The rocks near the top of the mountain get very large.

The Trail Leads Up

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 was beginning to sweat. 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. The trail was not wide, but we did not see too many other adventurers on the Pinnacle Mountain trail. Although the trail is easy to navigate, I noticed a few others heading off 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.

The Arkansas River from the top of Pinnacle Mountain.

Beware The Rocks

It was at this point that 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 feel free to bring your furry family member. It was my better half who opted to stay behind because she did not want to risk climbing the wet rocks. The rocks were everywhere, but I chose to hike the side where they were 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 liked to see that!

Carefully I hiked up the larger, wet rocks as I noticed that slipping off the side would not be a good option. I was so close to the top that the sides had become dangerously steep. 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 to move up the rocks, cautiously using my hands when necessary. The larger rocks were much less likely to move underneath my weight.

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

Pinnacle Mountain

Suddenly, the rocky slope leveled off and I realized I had reached the pinnacle. I noticed other trail markers on top, but I was pretty sure the nature trail ended a ways back before most of the rocks began. Although it is a mountain, so there could conceivably be several routes to the top. I looked around for a few minutes in an attempt to admire the view. Sadly, it was still very dreary looking outside, especially from the pinnacle of the mountain.

It was not a bad view, but it could have been more pleasant! 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. 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 Exit

I treaded back down a separate path where the rocks were slightly smaller and my better half was waiting. She was so close to the top! We exited the forest the same way we had come. Due to our scheduled drive, we were unable to visit the arboretum, or the trail that runs along the Arkansas River.

Although mountain biking is allowed, we did not notice anyone on bikes. Canoeing was also an option, but we did not get close enough to the river to see if there was anyone on it. We only spent about one hour at Pinnacle Mountain State Park and it seems like an excellent place to practice mountain climbing. If we ever journey back to Little Rock, we would definitely return to Pinnacle Mountain.

Prior to Pinnacle Mountain, the highest natural structure I had climbed was Enchanted Rock in Texas. I have since returned to Enchanted Rock in an attempt to speed run the Rock. Perhaps I may even speed run Pinnacle Mountain if I happen to return. Speed running small mountains, I wonder if that’s a thing? Whether it is or it isn’t, mountains are wonderful things and I look forward to climbing higher.

DavidE

I created Places For Pups to catalog all the dog friendly adventures Abbey and I take on a daily basis, and I hope you will share yours here as well.The content and photos on this site belong to me and may not be copied or used without permission.

This site contains some ads and affiliate links, from which I may receive a small commission, which will help further our adventuring.

Even though I promote places, or things, and emerge from the woods unharmed, I am not at all responsible for you, your family, your friends, or your pets. You are solely responsible for following in my footsteps and trying things I have described on this site. I wish you good fortune on the trails to come.
DavidE

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