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Friday, June 12, 2015

The Tanyard Creek Nature Trail

The Tanyard Creek Nature Trail wasn't on our list of places to see in Arkansas.  But when we planned the trip, we left a pretty flexible schedule to allow us to squeeze in a few places as we went along.  Tanyard Creek was a place we stumbled on, and since the kids needed a place to stretch, it met our needs.  It was a great stop.  The trail is a loop.  It starts at a parking lot near a golf course, then drops to a small creek and gives the option of turning it into a lollipop loop just over a mile long that goes past a cave and a waterfall.  If you keep an eye out, you can spot a small natural arch in a limestone overhang as well.
Along the nature trail there are several signs identifying plant species and what makes each useful or unique.  There are several bridges over the creek as well.  At the trail junction, we took the trail to the right which leads to the cave.  The cave had a small building built over the top of it, which has since collapsed. The metal panels are bent and crumpled around the cave entrance.  We went to the entrance and felt a cool breeze coming out and could hear water dripping in the back.  A small stream trickled out of the entrance and dumped into the larger creek at a pool with a school of fish gently swimming at the bottom of the current. 
The trail led as along the creek and next to several limestone ledges and overhangs.  One or two of them had small waterfalls coming off of them.  The water had forced its way through cracks in the rock after a dam was built to create Lake Windsor.  I liked the way these ferns found a great place to grow in one of the small cracks. 
After crossing the base of the dam, the trail ascends along a larger creek (Tanyard Creek) to the waterfall outlet from Lake Windsor.  The waterfall is manmade, from the outflow from the lake.  It's a pretty waterfall.  This part of the hike is different then the other half.  It's a lot more of a southern forest, and numerous signs identify trees such as hickory and sassafras.  We enjoyed the waterfall for a while, then turned around and finished the lollipop back to the trailhead.  It's an easy hike and completely enjoyable. 

Nearest City: Bella Vista, AR
Location: Nature Trail Lane, Bella Vista, AR
Time Needed: 1-2 hours, less if you don't have young kids.
Difficulty: easy-moderate
Kid Friendly:yes
Additional Info: Tanyard Creek Trail

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