While visiting the state of Arkansas recently, Cedar Falls Trail was one of the many trails on our list to hike. It is located in Petit Jean State Park and is rated as moderate by the park service. I would agree with this rating simply because the trail has many loose rocks and such that could be a hazard. If not for this simple reason, I would maybe even rate this trail more toward the easy end of the spectrum. The trail is marked as 2 miles round trip but according to the park service it is 1.5 round trip. Either way, it’s doable and honestly, when your hiking elevation it is somewhat hard to accurately track the mileage which could explain the discrepancy. We did not track our mileage but I would say, from my experience, it felt more like two miles.
The trail head is easily found if you locate Mather Lodge within the park and park in the lot here. Make your way through the breezeway to the back of the building and you can clearly see the start of the trail here.
They do have ample warning of the loose rock that you will find along the entire trail but strenuous may be somewhat of an over statement in my opinion. It is into a canyon and back out of the canyon but elevation is not severe and I found it quite tolerable in my condition (6 weeks post op).
As you begin your way down into the canyon the trail is well marked and easy to follow. Staying on the path and maneuvering your way around the rocks is not difficult.
After the bridge crossing, up a ways, you will find that you will need to cross the rocks and a small stream. Hopefully the water will not be high when you attempt this hike but if so, I believe that there are enough large rocks to easily do this without getting your feet wet. We had just a small amount of water at the time and had no issues crossing over the rocks to stay dry.
Down the path you will arrive at Cedar Falls. We visited in March so there was ample water flowing and it was beautiful.
You are able to make your way up the side of the waterfall and walk behind if your brave enough to attempt the slick rocks. My husband did and found it refreshing.
After a short time here and a small snack, we made our way back the same way we came.
It was a great hike and I think that most families with children 4 and up should be able to accomplish this hike with no problem. Proper footwear is recommended to avoid slipping on the rock covered trail and don’t forget your camera.