Spring is here and giving me amazing opportunities to continue my scavenger hunt of Conway’s parks.
This week, the hubs, pup, and I visited Cadron Settlement Park. Somehow I have been living in Conway for going on 16 years and have only made it out to the park once during that time – for a gorgeous wedding that was so long ago that I had actually forgotten I’d ever been to the park. Since then, I seem to have conflicts every time I’ve received an invitation to get out there.
My lack of familiarity with Cadron is exactly why I’m sharing this scavenger hunt – in the hopes that someone reading this column either learns or re-learns of these Conway gems.
Cadron was resplendent this weekend. It was a tiny bit chilly, but the sun was shining, young grass and tiny flower petals covered the ground, and scents of daffodils and irises filled the air.
We went out later on Saturday afternoon, so there were just a few folks trying to get a hike in before the sun started going down, but from the number of morning runs, hikes, and bike rides I haven’t participated in, I have to believe it is a hopping place most Saturday mornings.
Cadron is a bit out of the way, so it isn’t one of those parks that many will just pop over to after school or work – though it is a heck of a lot closer than Petit Jean or Pinnacle for anyone wanting a trail to enjoy. It’s at the end of Highway 319 West off of Old Morrilton Highway – just over 2 ½ miles from the northern most point of Hogan Lane and almost 5 miles from the Salem/Highway 64 light.
The park has a lot of awesome features for anyone wanting some fresh air. There are tons of picnic tables, several pavilions, hiking trails, fishing opportunities, a boat ramp, and mountain biking trails.
The park’s name is "Cadron Settlement Park" – and the City of Conway, Conway Chamber of Commerce, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have done a great job creating an outdoor classroom. The old community building was re-built during the 1970s and even has a wheelchair accessible ramp for the times when it’s open (there weren’t any dates or hours posted). Even with the building locked, there were a very informative number of plaques scattered about giving a history of the settlement from its time as a French trading post, to when it was part of the Trail of Tears, a family homestead, and then a community.
On the to-be-improved list: When you come, make sure to bring plenty of water because I didn’t see any fountains while I was there. (I did see a place where a fountain may have previously existed.) Also, the restrooms were definitely not in the most amazing shape – and there’s no place to wash one’s hands, so bring hand sanitizer.
Except for those few who live right around the park or are really experienced road cyclists, this is currently one of those parks one drives to. After getting there, though, lots of fun, walking, hiking, learning, and frolicking opportunities await.
Amanda Potter Cole is a lover of outdoors and a promoter of livable communities. She resides in Conway with husband, Bob, and furbaby, Thrall.