One mission of RecLife is to get people outside so that they can see God in creation, relate with Him, and build relationships with others through adventure. Below is a list of 10 Outdoor Pursuits everyone should experience this Fall.
Hike and Hammock the DeSoto Bluff
Difficulty: Easy Hiking Time: 20-30 minutes* Experience Time: As long as you wish
Many people take advantage of the bluff for hammocking and relaxing. However, many people don’t know there is actually a hiking trail from campus. From main campus, walk the sidewalk North up 8th St. When you get to the intramural fields you have two options: 1) Walk through the grass by the intramural fields and soccer field. Keep going north and the trees will close in and lead you to a trail that goes up the bluff. Take caution as this trail is thrilling and steep. Once you reach the top of the trail, turn right and walk along the bluff edge to reach the main DeSoto Bluff. 2) Follow 8th St past Carter Rd, where it turns into Phelps Cir. After you pass 3 houses on your right there will be an OBU Property sign. Turn right on the trail here and follow it to and up the easy hillside. Once you reach the top of the hill turn right to reach the main DeSoto Bluff.
Fish Lower Degray Lake
Difficulty: Easy Travel Time: 10 min Experience Time: As long as you wish
This 400-acre lake is a peaceful getaway for anyone looking to catch some fish. Take Lower Dam Pike out of Caddo Valley to its terminus at the Lower Dam Park. This location allows you to fish the Caddo River below the dam or the lake above. You can fish from the bank or rent a canoe from RecLife. Take some time to take in the scenery and look for the abundant waterfowl.
Lake Catherine State Park Hiking
Difficulty: Easy Travel Time: 45 min Experience Time: 2-3 hours
Park at the main trailhead in the campground and there is a variety of trail options. One great option is the Falls Branch Trail. Follow the red blazes for this 2-mile round trip trail. Walk the trail counter-clockwise and the 10 foot waterfall will be near the end.
Backpack the Eagle Rock Loop
Difficulty: Hard Travel Time: 1.5 hour Experience Time: 1-3 days
There are many great day hikes on this loop, including the section of trail near Little Missouri Falls, but there is nothing more powerful than backpacking the entire 26 mile loop. The North East portion of the trail is a gentle walk along the Little Missouri River while the Western side goes up and over several peaks and ridges. A great way to hike the trail is to park at the Winding Stairs trailhead and hike clockwise. This allows the hiker to end with the less difficult portion of the hike. Contact RecLife for information on rental gear for this trip.
Hot Springs Hiking
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate Travel Time: 45 min Experience Time: 1-2 hours
Hot Springs National Park has some great hiking trails just behind Bathhouse Row. From the cascade and thermal pool at the North end of Bathhouse Row take the stairs up to the Grand Promenade. Follow signs for the Peak Trail. There is some route finding involved, but look for the signs and, when in doubt, head uphill. The trail finishes at the top of Hot Springs Mountain. From here you can go up the Observation Tower for $7 per person or walk to the East side of the ridge for some free views. To lengthen your hike you could take the Hot Springs Mountain Trail or you can head back down. Return on the Shortcut and Dead Chief Trail to make this a 1.5 mile hike ending on the Grand Promenade. As you walk along the Grand Promenade, think about all the people who used to walk along that path after a soak in one of the bathhouses. Finish with an après hike drink at Kollective Coffee and Tea.
Mountain Bike at Iron Mountain
Difficulty: Easy to Difficult Travel Time: 20 min Experience Time: 1-4 hours
This set of trails is rated #2 in Arkansas, so don’t miss out. The 16 miles of trail is broken into 5 colored trails that can be done as loops or linked together for a longer ride. The 5-mile long white trail is the easiest and has great views of Lake Degray. For some great hill climbing and descending try the yellow trail. There are several trailheads to access the trails. The white trail can be accessed at the Upper Mountain Trailhead on Skyline Drive about 3 miles west of Hwy 7. The yellow trail can be accessed from the Spillway Trailhead about 1-mile on Skyline Drive about 1 mile west of Hwy 7. Contact RecLife to rent mountain bikes for your adventures.
Canoe the Caddo River
Difficulty: Easy Travel Time: 10 min*
Experience Time: 1.5-2.5 hours
Fall is a great time to canoe the Caddo River from the Lower Dam to Caddo Valley. You can rent canoes from RecLife and put in at the Lower Dam Boat Ramp. The water level is low right now so it makes for a relaxing float. Be sure to follow the main channel or you might become grounded on a gravel bar. Contact the RecLife Director about renting a canoe and if you ask nicely he might even let you use the access at his house as a take-out point.
Camp at the Blue Hole
Difficulty: Easy Travel Time: 1.5 hours Experience Time: 1-2 days
The Blue Hole near Hopper, AR is a great place to camp and enjoy God’s creation. This land is privately-owned, but the owner wants people to experience nature so they allow camping, hiking, ATVs, etc. for free. To get there, follow Hwy 240 through Hopper, take a left onto NFW 517, then right on NFW99. A small dirt entrance on the left will take you directly to the Blue Hole. Please be respectful of this area and leave it better than you find it.
Walk/Jog the Feaster Trail
Difficulty: Easy Travel Time: 5 min walk Experience Time: 1-2 hours
This paved trail leads from North Campus all the way through town to the Medical Center. It is 2 miles one-way and offers a great chance to get out and walk outside. To reach the beginning of the trail walk up 8th St from Main Campus. As you approach the football stadium you will notice a paved sidewalk on the South side of the parking lot. If you take this to the right the trail will lead around the North side of the Maintenance building to the Ouachita River and the end of the trail. If you take it left it will lead you all the way to the Medical center. The trail follows a creek much of the way and goes through several parks as well. Note that to cross 10th St you must walk up the road embankment and cross the road.
Difficulty: Easy Travel Time: Varies Experience Time: 1-2 hours
There are several great disc golf courses in the area and RecLife offers free rentals of disc golf equipment. The closest course is on North Campus near the Intramural and Soccer Fields. The first tee is right near the Intramural Field parking lot. One of the last holes is missing so just play on. Another great course to play is at the Lower Dam Park in Caddo Valley. This course offers a variety of open greens and tree-holes.
The first tee is near the bathrooms. This course is about 10 minutes from campus. Double that drive and you can play at DeGray Lake Resort State Park. This course begins at the State Park Visitor Center.
*Note: Travel times stated are one-way
If you have any questions regarding any of these adventures please contact RecLife Director Shane Seaton.