As someone who is native to the Ozarks in northwest Arkansas but now living in mostly-flat central Arkansas, I often miss the expansive overlooks atop towering bluffs of the Buffalo River. Luckily there is another place to enjoy some clifftop views that’s a lot closer to where I live now– Emerald Park in North Little Rock.
This 135-acre park has several access points, depending on what you want to see– since the main feature of Emerald Park are the dramatic cliffs, you have to decide if you want to walk around below them along the Arkansas River Trail, or walk up top along the cliffs themselves. To explore the quarry and the riverside park area, park where River Road ends just beyond the skate park in North Little Rock. To hike the cliff trails, park behind Pulaski Tech on Marge Gardner Lane– you’ll see a sign and a small lot.
One really neat thing about this park that not many people know about are the wet-weather waterfalls! They are best seen from below the cliffs in the quarry area. In times of heavy rain, there are tall pour offs that cascade down in a couple of different areas, which is an incredible sight. The cliffs are also a great area to watch fog rolling along the Arkansas River.
There is even a small waterfall area (again, during times of heavy rain) near the skate park that is a fun scramble when it’s running. (Put in these coordinates to Google Maps and you’ll see the approximate location: 34.776520, -92.300090) The photo below was taken in March after several days of rain.
Lately we’ve actually been having fabulous weather in Little Rock– about time after all the rain and flooding over the last month or two! Tyler and I decided to hang out on the cliffs last night to watch the sunset over the Arkansas River, and it was heavenly. The mimosa trees are blooming like crazy around here and the air was heavy with their scent. That’s one of those smells that really brings back memories of childhood summers in Arkansas for me. There were a handful of other people also out enjoying the weather, but luckily Emerald Park is big enough that you can easily claim an area for yourself and enjoy it in solitude. String up your hammock and relax– I’m partial to some of the Madera hammocks!
If you’re in Little Rock sometime, check it out! And if you live here, you have no excuse not to. 🙂