Next up, we made our way to Petit Jean State Park (first word pronounced “petty”) which is 3500 acres located atop Petit Jean Mountain adjacent to the Arkansas River in the area between the Ouachita Mountains and Ozark Plateaus. The elevation is about 1200 feet and towards the end of the journey we had to go up some “steep and curvy” roads at about 10 mph to get there. This final hairpin had a log trailer stuck in our lane after they lost their unsecured load so all traffic had to use the one remaining lane to get around them, fun stuff!
We stayed at campground A right along Lake Bailey so we had some pretty great views out the windows. The park is huge and well maintained with multiple sites for day use, tent camping, cabins, RVs, etc. There is also a historic lodge that acts as a hotel and includes a pool and restaurant if that is more your thing. There is plenty of space between sites so it’s not crowded, but still wooded enough that we were able to pitch our hammock. Walking along the lake, we eventually reached a creek that took us to the 20 miles of hiking trails. Over three days, we got in about 25 miles of the best hiking we’ve experienced so far. The trails are well marked, mostly shaded since they cut through the forested sections of the park and are very technical so lots of fun and tiring! Bring good shoes and lots of water. There are several picture opportunities including an overlook pavilion, turtle rocks, and then you can hike down right to their famous Cedar Falls waterfall.