Tag Archive: hiking


Garvan Woodland Gardens

Yesterday I took some time to go and check out all the buzz surrounding Garvan¬†Woodland Gardens. Any time I’ve ever heard someone mention Garvan¬†Woodland Gardens, their sentence has always ended with, “You have to go see it, its beautiful,” or something to that effect. So, I figured it was about time that I did.

Garvan¬†Woodland Gardens is basically a huge botanical garden that covers a wide area complete with koi ponds, waterfalls, smooth walkways, and many¬†species of¬†animals. The gardens are a ¬†little way away from the main bustle of the city, but that’s definitely a good thing, I mean come on…who would want to go to a serene nature preserve within the sights and sounds of the city? Garvan¬†Woodland Gardens was founded by Verna Cook Garvan, CEO of ABCO¬†(A. B. Cook Industries) which was¬†her father’s business,¬†as CEO Verna was¬†one of the first female Chief Executive Officers¬†of a major southern manufacturing business. Mrs. Garvan¬†took great care and time to personally pick out where each pathway would lead and also which trees needed to be cut to lay them. For 40 years Mrs. Garvan planted thousands of species of different flowers and plants that now form a superb collection. The gardens are now run by the Department of Landscape Architecture through the University of Arkansas.

I know that strolling through gravel pathways surrounded by blooming flowers and trees isn’t exactly everyone’s idea of a fun time, it’s not too high up on my fun list either. But, different people have different tastes and I’m writing this blog to appeal to many different tastes. So, if you’re into the nature and outdoor scene, this is the place for you! Once you make it to the Welcome Center¬†in front of¬†the gardens, you receive¬†a map of all the different trails going through the gardens along with the names of the different categories of gardens inside the facility. The winding trails inside the gardens can lead you to a number of different attractions and features. You could spend hours in this place!¬†For example, the Garden of Pine Wood, the Hixon¬†Family Nature Preserve, and Dierks Promenade are some popular features available for your pleasure, just to name a few.

I actually did enjoy myself, prior to what I thought before entering the gardens,¬†as I walked around the beautifully landscaped gardens and I would very highly recommend Garvan¬†Woodland Gardens to anyone who enjoys walking and observing nature. I would also highly recommend this spot as a great date destination, a worker told me that they¬†have hundreds of weddings and proposals a year there, so who could argue with those stats? So, overall if you don’t like walking, getting a little¬†hot (its all outside), and/or observing some beautiful scenery then avoid this place, however if you do like any of those things you have to check out Garvan Woodland Gardens for sure.

Location: 550 Arkridge Rd, 71913

Contact: www.garvangardens.org, (501) 262-9300

I decided to get out today and do something that the Spa City is frequently favored for…hiking one of its many mountainous trails. Although I accomplish most of my experiences by myself, I was glad to have my mother accompany me on this hike. When I was a small boy, my grandparents always took on me atop West Mountain to hike the different trails, so I was eager to come back and see if I could remember any of it…

Sunset trail is the longest trail in Hot Springs National Park, encompassing more than 17 miles of terrain. My mom and I decided to forgo hiking the whole trail, and instead stuck to just the first section, which is 5.8 miles there and back.  As I often am with most of my ventures, I was surprised by how cool and breezy it was on the trail. Sunset trail winds in and out of the various trees growing on the mountain, creating a shaded and breezy environment.  The terrain on the trail changed from rocky gravel to clay and dirt multiple times. This particular trail is classified as moderately difficult, due to the many steep inclines and declines found throughout it.

I had a great time on the trail and¬†enjoyed the many different views offered, observed the different kinds of wildlife (white-tailed deer, small garter snake, and box turtle) found throughout the trail¬†and just being out in nature. The trail presented¬†a multitude of¬†opportunities for viewing downtown Hot Springs in a unique way,¬†at¬†a high elevation.¬†Sunset trail even boasts a secret, known only to the locals. The duck. My mom and Aunt informed me of¬†a look-out point available from West Mountain that¬†over looks downtown,¬†that they used to frequent with their boyfriends. They used to park there at night and look¬†down at the city lights, which are said to take the shape of a duck (although my Aunt confessed that she¬†wasn’t too ¬†concerned about looking around at the lights while she was parked with her boyfriend)!¬†

¬†I had a great time hiking along Sunset trail on West Mountain and definitely recommend it to anyone and everyone! It was a very nostalgic experience for me, as I even recognized many of the big rocks and boulders I used to climb/play on when I was a kid. Sunset trail is just one of many nature and mountainous trails to hike in Hot Springs and seems to be one of the most popular trails in the area. Fun for all ages, especially young adults, I plan on coming back to Sunset trail and hiking the other parts of it! So, don’t forget to bring some bottled water (but don’t litter) and get out there and start hiking!

Contact: www.nps.gov/hosp/planyourvisit/sunset-trail.htm