Postcard From Village Creek State Park

Arkansas is known for its outdoor beauty and there are many state parks which help capture this treasure for everyone to enjoy. Located in the northeastern part of the state off Highway 284, Village Creek State Park, with 6,909 acres, is Arkansas' second largest state park.  It is covered with a a dense mixed hardwood forest including oak, hickory, and uncommon hardwood trees such as American Beech, Sugar Maple, Butternut, Basswood, Cucumbertree, Kentucky Coffeetree, and the Tuliptree or Yellow Poplar. 

Lake Austell and Lake Dunn are contained within the park and if you are into fishing, you can catch your supper of bass, bream, catfish, and crappie. The park campground includes 24 RV sites, 5 tent sites and 67 sites for horse campers around Lake Dunn. There are also 10 fully-equipped cabins with kitchens and wood-burning fireplaces.
A section of the 1820s Military Road that once linked Memphis, Tennessee to Little Rock is still visible in the park. A section of the infamous "Trail of Tears," it was a major route of Indian removal for Creek, Chickasaw, and Cherokee between 1832 and 1839.

Nice wooden bridge over a deep gulley.
To be honest, I didn't know about this park before I decided to take a quick road trip to see what was left of Twist, Arkansas. But with it being located a little south of Twist and not that far out of the way when going back home, a side trip was in order when I saw it on a map. Most state parks have hiking trails, but without having time to research this one, I just took a chance on it. I was pleasantly surprised to find it has 5 trails ranging in difficulty from Easy to Moderate and from 1/4 mile to almost 3 miles in length. We decided to take Austell Trail, a 2 1/4 mile (round-trip) Moderate trail. The trail was pretty well marked, not very hard to walk and even had a few places where steps were made from railroad ties and a couple of wooden bridges which spanned deep creek gulley's.  It earned it's Moderate rating from the steep climbs up hills and over ridges. There were plenty of ups and downs so it seemed to be uphill both going and coming back!

Plenty of very steep sections - the wife "up" ahead.
The weather was great and it made for a good family outing even if the youngest daughter did moan and complain about the difficulty for most of the hike. Like that's a problem for me. You're 12-years-old for goodness sake, suck it up, kiddo. And if spending time with your parents hiking around in the great outdoors doesn't result in fond memories in your adult life, well, take your $100 of inheritance I'm leaving you, hire a therapist and tell him all about it. The big hug and "I love you" I received that night when it was bed-time though tells me she might not be needing that therapist...at least not because of today.
 
Lake Austell at the end of the trail.
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