Hiking, Climbing, Mountain Biking & Kayaking

The Beard and Lady Inn is a great destination if you love hiking, mountain biking and kayaking.  We have amazing hiking trails for all skill levels, the best mountain biking trails in Arkansas, and several creeks within minutes suitable for kayaking and canoeing. 


Devil's Den State Park -  A world class 2,500 acre state park with hiking, pool, mountain biking, horse trails, boating, fishing, and dam. The park is nestled in Lee Creek Valley and is filled with beautiful rock formations, caverns, and an 8-acre lake (fishing with canoe and paddle boat rental).

  • Devil's Den/Lee Creek Trail: Beginner to moderate trail that is a 1.25 mile loop (~1 hour) with great views every few minutes of hiking and finished along Lee Creek.
  • Yellow Rock Trail: Moderate 3 mile long hike. A favorite for its great panoramic view of the Lee Creek Valley.  State Park Website.

Directions (17.5 miles from Beard and Lady Inn) -11333 West Arkansas Hwy. 74, West Fork, AR 72774 

Here is a quick view of Devil's Den:

White Rock Mountain National Park- The closest national park with an awe-inspiring 2,260 foot view of the Ozarks on the Ozark Highlands Trail.

  • White Rock Rim Trail: Beginner 1.8 mile loop that is perfect for sunrise and sunsets.
  • White Rock West Trail: Moderate hike with multiple waterfalls, creek crossings, and bluffs  - part of the White Rock/Shore Lake Loop.
  • White Rock/Shores Lake Loop Trail: Moderate to difficult 17.5 mile trail connecting White Rock to Shores Lake with waterfalls.  Best to hike clockwise.




Directions (24.8 miles form Beard and Lady Inn)Location  - Enter White Rock Mountain Recreation Area into Google Maps 

Ozark Highlands Trail (OHT) - 270 miles from Lake Fort Smith State Park to the Buffalo National River.  It is one of the longest, most beautiful hiking trails in the country. Local access point is along Scenic Hwy. 23 North (The Pig Trail).  See trail information.


There is great rock climbing at Lake Shepherd Springs that is roughly 15 minutes and 8 miles from the Inn just past Lake Fort Smith. If you let us know in advance enough you can hire out a guide to go climbing if you are new. 

Description: This area offers around 40+ routes on nice rock with mostly sport climbing. You can climb year round here with little or no traffic. There is shade but summers can be humid. There is also bouldering potential. 

Directions: This area lies near Chester and Mountainburg off of highway 71. From Chester and Mountainburg head north on 71 until you reach a road on your right. It is four miles north of the Dam View pullout that overlooks the dam on the right. This road leads to Lake Fort Smith State Park and the road is called Shepherd Springs road. Follow the road down for two miles, and then past the park entrance. It turns to dirt after about 2/3 of a mile past the park entrance. Drive further for about .33 mile and look for a small cairn of rocks on the left with a trailhead sign that points right. You may be able to see the bluff from the road and then its a 2 or 3 minute walk uphill.

Rock climbing area GPS Coordinates : Latitude/Longitude : 35° 42' 19" N 94° 6' 26" W

Parking lot GPS Coordinates : Latitude/Longitude: 35° 42' 18" N  94° 6' 17" W

Check out the routes here:

1. Mountain Project

2. The Crag


Northwest Arkansas has some of the best gravel and mountain bike trails and parks in the world. There are gravel bike rides starting right in Chester. Gravel is the fastest-growing form of cycling and is accessible to beginners.  It can give people the experience of connecting with rural beauty without the intensity of going up and down mountains. 

Scope them out on:  OZ Trails. The closest mountain bike trails to the Beard and Lady Inn are:

Boston Mountain Trail Ride at Lake Fort Smith State Park (Intermediate/Difficult Single Track)12.4 miles of trails with an average of 4% grade and maximum 20% grade. Loop A about 4 miles and Loop B at 2.5 miles.  Across the road is another new 3.5 + miles of trails with rock gardens, banked turns, and a boulder drop. The terrain is dirt with some loose rocks. Start at the visitor center parking lot and go to the trail sign and take the trail counter-clockwise to start with the more difficult climbing first.  Near the Loop A and B junctions take the Y in the trail to the right to go back to the parking area. The new trail is across the road from Loop A and B. Trail Information

Directions (7.8 miles from the Beard and Lady Inn) - 18187-18181 Shepherd Spring Rd, Mountainburg, AR 72946

Fossil Flats at Devil's Den (Intermediate Single Track) - Possibly the oldest trail in Arkansas providing riders a choice of a 2.4, 4.2, or 6 mile rides with an average of 4% grade and maximum 19% grade with the difficulty increasing each mile.  There is flat exposed rock along an exposed creek bed with fossils, evidence of early settlers, creek views, and large rock formations (so the terrain is rocky).  Consider starting at the river crossing and riding counter-clockwise for less climbing. The Ozark Mountain Bike Festival is held annually here each spring.  See map of trail.

Directions (17.5 miles from Beard and Lady Inn) - Fossil Flats Trail head - 11333 West Arkansas Hwy. 74, West Fork, AR 72774

Springhill Park Mountain Bike Trail in Fort Smith (Easy-Intermediate Track)  - A 10 mile route with three loops and twisting fast trails.  Home of monthly races and two annual competitions sanctioned by the International Mountain Biking Association including the Springhill Classic MTB Race in the Fall.

Directions (31.5 miles from the Beard and Lady Inn) - Springhill Park - 12010 Edgewater Rd, Fort Smith, AR 72903

The Bike Park at the Jones Center -  2.75 acre state-of-the-art outdoor bicycle skills training area with 3 separate areas: Pump Track (largest asphalt track in North America), Skills Course, and Bicycle Playground.  Hosted the 2018 Red Bull Pump Track World Championships.  Free for all skill levels.  

Photo from Pumptrack.com

Directions (42.4 miles from the Beard and Lady Inn) - Jones Center 922 E Emma Ave, Springdale, AR 72764

The Railyard Bike Park -  slopestyle course for all skill levels where you can ride on dirt and wood ramps then you can take a paved trail to Lake Atalanta Park or shoot off-road onto multi-use trails connecting to Lake Atalanta or Pleasant Ridge trails.


Directions (52 miles from the Beard and Lady Inn) - Lake Atalanta - 299 E Cherry St, Rogers, AR 72756

There are many more rides in the Fayetteville, Bentonville, Rogers, and Bella Vista areas including the Back 40 Loop, the Slaughter Pen, Blowing Springs Loop, the All-American, Warthog, Flo Ride, the Ledges with Mount Kessler being the closest in Fayetteville (Mount Kessler Trail Map). Scope them all out on:  OZ Trails.



Chester is located near Clear Creek and Frog Bayou which offer canoeing and kaying when the creeks are higher from November to April with the most ideal weather conditions in March and April.

Clear Creek - 10+ mile run from Schaberg to Mountainburg before flowing into the Frog Bayou. The thickest part of Clear Creek is across the street from the Beard and Lady Inn and can handle local recreational paddling year round near the Chester City Park.

Frog Bayou - Class II - up to 21.5 mile run - Flows SW from Lake Fort Smith through Mountainburg to Rudy to join with the Arkansas River near the Fort Smith and Oklahoma state line.  Class I to II stream that flows based on the dam-released water of Lake Fort Smith and local rainfall. The first part of the run starts from the put in at Felix Doyl Rd/Ash Street Bridge in Mountainburg until arriving at the Silver Bridge (has a gravel parking lot to put in or out at Hwy 282).  The second low bridge is called Grotto where 282 crosses the Frog Bayou the second time (there is a parking lot there). One can also drop in at the Lancaster low water bridge and float to Rudy (Ribbit Run) as rapids are long, twisting, and closely spaced. The first ledge below Lancaster Bridge can be a surfable wave.

Please view Frog Bayou information and up to date river water level reports with a minimum of 3 to 3.5+ inches.

Image from A Canoeing and Kayaking Guide to the Ozarks by Tom Kennon

Lake Fort Smith State Park - You can also flat water kayak and canoe on Lake Fort Smith.  The water is clear and there are nice rock bluffs alongside of the lake. Fishing is allowed, but unfortunately swimming is not allowed. There is a boat ramp where you can drop your kayak. 

Directions (7.8 miles from the Beard and Lady Inn)15458 Sheperd Springs Rd, Mountainburg, AR 72946

Chester is also within 1 hour drive to kayaking on the Mulberry River and Siloam Springs Kayak Park