TRAIL REVIEW: Backpacking and hiking unite at Pigeon Roost Trail

Pigeon Trail Roost is located in the largest state park in Arkansas.

Photo by Caroline Bauman

Note: This is the third in a seven-part series of Northwest Arkansas trail reviews. Read more here. ×

Trail: Pigeon Roost Trail
Duration: Dry Creek Loop, 4.1 miles; Huckleberry Loop, 4.3 miles; 8.4 total miles
Activities: Hiking, Backpacking

A series of trail reviews would not be complete without highlighting a trail from the largest state park in Arkansas, Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area.

Located just south of Beaver Lake, the park is home to Pigeon Roost Trail, designed for day hikes or overnight backpacking trips. Hobbs State Park is approximately 50 minutes from Fayetteville and a great route to take is up AR-303, which will pass right by War Eagle Mill before leading into the park.

Trails Maintenance Supervisor Al Knox stands near the edge of the Beaver Lake Overlook.

Caroline Bauman

Named after the now extinct passenger pigeon that used to roost in the area by the millions, Pigeon Roost Trail was constructed predominantly by hand, as were all trials in the Hobbs area. The trailhead is located just a few miles east of the Visitor Center, which is absolutely worth a visit while you’re at the park. All hikers need to sign in and out at the trailhead. Those planning on staying at the campsites off the Huckleberry Loop do not need a reservation, but are encouraged to check in first at the Visitor Center.

Dry Creek Loop and Huckleberry Loop combine in a figure 8 to form the trail. Dry Creek Loop is most popular for day hikers and takes about 2 hours to complete. More experienced hikers can combine the two loops to reach the campsites or hike back in four to six hours. The trail is ranked as moderate to strenuous, with a few steep elevation changes and at times a narrow, one-track trail. If you are looking for a family outing with small children, this trail may not be for you. The Shaddox Hollow Trail is recommended for small children or inexperienced hikers.

The Pigeon Roost Trail boots a few of the park’s most unique features, however, including a Native American “thong” tree or marker tree. Located about 100 yards from the trailhead and bent into two right angles, this tree may have been used by Native Americans hundreds of years ago to mark trails, springs, caves or salt supplies. When you come to a fork in the trail, following to the right will lead to the Beaver Lake Overlook. Winter provides an unobstructed view of the Van Hollow branch of Beaver Lake, and the lake is also accessible for swimming in warmer seasons.

Perfect for an afternoon or a more adventurous overnight trip, Pigeon Roost Trail is wonderfully secluded and offers a rich showcase of the history of Hobbs State Park. Do you have plans for the weekend yet? Take some time to get out and enjoy the vast beauty of this trail and state park.

More photos

Trails Maintenance Supervisor Al Knox points to a “thong” tree, believed to be a marker tree for Native Americans.

Photos by Caroline Bauman

Native Americans likely used this tree to mark trails, springs, caves and salt supplies.

The Van Hollow branch of Beaver Lake is accessible from the trail.

The Beaver Lake Overlook offers an unobstructed view of the lake during the winter.