In recent years you might have noticed an extra amount of attention in the county focused on expanding natural tourism. The term refers to a type of tourism that is based on the natural attractions of a given area. The idea of this type of tourism existed long before it was ever labeled as such. When you think of the term images of Yosemite, The Buffalo River, The Natural Bridge, and The Ozark Mountains come to mind.

Over the years the county has successfully leveraged its natural beauty and have expanded hiking trails, ATV trails, canoeing and kayak services and mountain bike trails. The expansion of these offerings has significantly impacted the number of visitors coming into the county.

In some random conversation it was agreed upon that we would begin hiking and exploring around the county. We recently took advantage of one of the beautiful days during spring break and decided to explore the hiking trails in Fairfield Bay.

The first stop on the tour was the Indian Hills Cave Trail. With puppy in tow we headed down the winding trail, admiring the multiple caves and swapping theories of how the people must have lived in these hills years ago. The experience rekindled memories of the last time I had walked those trails, a wedding ceremony I officiated in that space years ago, and most of all how out of shape that I am.

There is something about being in nature and away from technology that is refreshing. The senses seem to be awakened by the smells, the feeling of the wind, and the sounds of nature coming to life during the early days of spring. The sounds of nature were a welcomed break from constant zoom meetings and the clutter of a fainted t.v. in the distant background.

Full of energy, we ventured across town and decided to walk the waterfall trail, also in Fairfield Bay. The terrain of the waterfall trail was more challenging but worth the effort when we arrived at the waterfalls. The view and the sound of water pouring over the rocks was breathtaking. As the water flowed over the rocks I was lost in thought considering how I take for granted living in this part of the state. The most rewarding part of the day was the uninterrupted family time that we were able to spend together.

If you have not taken advantage of some of our area trails and if you are able, you should. The call of the outdoors is beckoning. The hiatus from traveling that many families have taken from traveling due to the pandemic is set to expire soon if it hasn’t already. Local families do not need to travel far to see some of Arkansas’ most beautiful scenes.

The county is home to several hiking trails and the opportunities to play outside with your family are countless. Take some time and embrace the county’s natural resources. In addition to the trails in Fairfield Bay there is the South Fork Nature Center trail in Choctaw and several more.

The county needs to continue to leverage its natural resources as a means to boost local and regional tourism. If you have story ideas related to this topic I would like to hear from you for a future column.

As the weather allows for it, pack a lunch, some water, and go take a Hike!

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