Cedar Creek Trail - The trailhead is located on Ark. 154 by the old Pioneer Cabin, a small log residence constructed in 1845 by John Walker. The hiking trail immediately heads downhill to Cedar Creek. The
native rock steps were placed here in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. You will notice that there wasn't a set standard on the size of the step used. These steps were built of rock found near the trail so some of the steps are short and some are high. As you continue downhill, you will be following along a beautiful stream that has several small cascades to the point where it joins Cedar Creek. As you near the creek, you will see a chunk of carpet rock, which is a natural rock that has eroded in such a way that it resembles patterned carpet. There are triangles and squares found in this design, a rare discovery in nature. You will then cross Cedar Creek. After you cross the creek, the trail continues along the creek heading upstream. You will see some remarkable views of Cedar Creek and the surrounding hillside. When you reach the giant rock leaning on the cliff, you will then cross back over the creek to where the trail continues between the highway and the creek. This stretch of trail is one of the best stretches to hike if you are looking for wildflowers. You will soon be nearly back to your vehicle and can enjoy a nice overlook before the trail makes a sharp left turn back to the Pioneer Cabin.
Boy Scout Trail - This is Petit Jean's longest trail. It interconnects nearly all of the other hiking trails in the park. Before you begin this hike, please register at the park visitor center. The trail starts at the Civilian Conservation Corps bridge named the Davies Bridge that spans Cedar Creek and follows scenic Cedar Creek Trail on the north side of Cedar Creek.
The Boy Scout Trail passes some of the most scenic locations in the park including the canyon rim and the riparian zone of Cedar Creek. Plan well. This trail is a great, but strenuous, day hike. No camping is allowed on the trail. If you want to hike only a short section of the trail, it crosses many of the trailheads in the park.
Canyon Trail - The Canyon Trail, another of the park's beautiful trails, is one of the least traveled trails in the park. It is a one-mile stretch of trail that begins after you cross the bridge on the Cedar Falls Trail. Instead of turning right and going to the waterfall, turn left and follow the bright yellow trail blazers to the Blue Hole. From the intersection with the Cedar Falls Trail, the Canyon Trail winds down the canyon and alongside Cedar Creek. You will find many interesting plants along the trail including sassafras, which was the original flavoring for root beer. You will also find tall oak and hickory trees. As you continue along the trail, stop and look at the creek. On a clear day you can see the surrounding cliffs reflecting in the water below. After one mile, you will reach the Blue Hole. Blue Hole is the old swimming hole that was used by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the 1930s. At the Blue Hole, you are at the end of the trail. You can return to Mather Lodge the way you came, or hike a section of the Boy Scout Trail to complete a loop. The Boy Scout Trail intersects with the Canyon Trail at the Blue Hole.
Seven Hollows Trail - A 4 ½-mile hiking trail on the west end of Petit Jean State Park, this trail offers something for everyone. Beginning about one-half mile west of Mather Lodge, the trail begins through short dense vegetation, a result of the forest fire during the summer of 2000. As you hike, you will notice that you quickly drop out of the burned area into the hollows. Throughout the first hollow, you will be in the area where Dr. Hardison, a local physician who lived on the south brow of the mountain, first came up with the idea in the 1920s to preserve the area as a park. It isn't hard to see why he thought it was beautiful. Many brightly colored wildflowers can often be seen here.
The trail winds through four hollows, across small streams and beside tall sandstone bluffs. The Natural Bridge, located about 1 ¼-mile from the trailhead, is a naturally formed arch. The Grotto, a box canyon at the halfway point of the trail, offers a small waterfall. This is a great place to find out what has visited the area before you, as tracks from animals are easily spotted in the muddy area along the stream. As you hike, don't forget to look around at your surroundings. Even on the busy hiking days of spring, there are places on the trail where it will seem as though you are the first to see it, and you will understand why it was so important to Dr. Hardison to save this area.
Cedar Falls Trail - Beginning at Mather Lodge, you'll take this 2-mile round trip to the foot of the park's most notable natural feature, spectacular 95-foot Cedar Falls. Cedar Falls is only one the many interesting sites you will see along the way. As you descend into the Cedar Creek Canyon, you'll come upon a spring that creates several miniature waterfalls as it cascades alongside the trail. At the top of the canyon, the vegetation is different than that below. As you reach the canyon floor, the trail will cross Cedar Creek and then continue for about another ½-mile along the creek. As you walk alongside Cedar Creek, you might see some of the wet weather springs. As you approach the Cedar Falls, listen for the water as it cascades over the rock. A turn or two later and the falls will come into view. Sitting on rocks enjoying the waterfall is a great place for a picnic. Allow plenty of time for this hike. Two hours will give you time to enjoy the falls and take your time walking back up the hill to the lodge.