Explore short drive hikes - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

short drive hikes Map
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hiking
17 hours ago

The first place to cross the river is close to the parking lot. Watch for red stripes hanging from the trees. Also, there is a tree with double white marking. Look on the opposite side of the river to see the trees with blue and white markings. After the first crossing follow the white markings. In difficult places like camping sites look for red stripes. The second river crossing is marked by red stripes and tree with double white markings.

hiking
2 days ago

Beautiful scenery, good workout with some elevation changes. Very rocky, be sure to wear shoes with good tread, especially if it has recently rained. My favorite trail at Petit Jean so far. Went on a Friday afternoon in August (very humid, obviously, but not too crazy hot as it is very shaded), didn’t see any other people at all.

Love Richland creek, falling water and all the other falls along this beautiful creek

loved this trail! we saw lots of deer, great lake views. we finished this trail in about 2.5 hours, taking a few breaks due to the heat.

We went mid-May and it was perfect! Beautiful trail and great for the entire family. The water was a bit cold to swim in, but that didn’t defer the kids!!

Beautiful sights, however the ranger maps are very misleading and lack detail. The rangers themselves weren’t very knowledgeable about the trails. Got a little lost at first on the hike. The first Creek you come upon is Blaylock Creek. We mistook it for the little Missouri. Also, I’d recommend hiking early in the summer. That 95 degree sunny day had us melting. Not literally. Anyway, we weren’t able to finish the trail because once you cross Blaylock Creek it’s a pretty steep and rough hike uphill for a good while. Just keep going and it will eventually wind down to the Little Missouri River. Follow the white marks on the trees. They are old markings, but they are the correct ones. Pack plenty of water! It is very beautiful. Next time we will be prepared and it will be a memorable hike!

Overall this is a great trail for a day hike. We did come across one large group and two smaller groups that were camping. It is a little challenging in places, but the views and water make it worth while. Heading out we did lose the trail after we crossed the stream. It took some wandering and All Trails to get us back on course. The odd thing is that we were able to follow the trail all the way back to the stream with no difficulties.

This trail is extremely well shaded which was very nice for a summer hike. There are plenty of camp sites along the way. If you want to swim, wait until after you cross the Little Missouri River and go several hundred yards further. There are some really nice swimming holes.

Since it was summer and the temperature was in the mid 90sF, we carried a lot of water. We did not need to do that. You will be fine with just one bottle and a good filter.

In addition to the white rectangular blazes, there are a few places that have pink plastic markers hanging from the trees. These were helpful at the river crossing.

hiking
22 days ago

Some steep inclines and rocky climbs but great! Benches along the way right after long stretches are nice. The waterfall wasn’t running because it’s super hot and dry in July, but the water felt nice.

hiking
23 days ago

Moderately easy trail. Some spots the trail is overgrown and gets narrow. Would recommend bug spray to keep the ticks off in the overgrown areas. We jumped on the Cabin Trail from the gift shop back to the trailhead.

Fun one to hike in the dark.

hiking
28 days ago

We didn’t get to see the fall which was disappointing but the trail it self was beautiful! We hike a lot and this trail was shorter than most but I would say it’s pretty moderate not easy. My dog loved the lake at the end!

Beautiful trail. .25 mile in we came across a doe and her fawn. Trail could be better marked at the boulders. Not much shade halfway through the trail. Bring lots of water!

hiking
29 days ago

fun trail, not alot of work. swam at the base of the fall.

Gorgeous trail and nicely shaded. Perfect for an easy outing. Probably my favorite trail of the weekend for its simplicity and beauty.

backpacking
1 month ago

Kid friendly, great swimming place shallow rock in lake right below falls.
In summer, waterfall is not flowing, but still a nice hike with plenty to see.

Great trail! Beautiful views! Loved it!

beautiful hike! didnt see one person the entire way. bring a TON of water, sunscreen, and light clothing. i hiked this trail around 3pm and the sun and heat was almost unbearable. not a good first time hike and not for unexperienced hikers.

hiking
1 month ago

My husband and I (50+) enjoyed our time on this trail. It was a good cardio/leg workout. We saw a mother deer and her two foal, and a snake. It was lying atop a mossy rock right after the overlook. It was the same color green.
The difference between the tornado ravaged area and the untouched area was varied.
This was a long hike that provided beautiful and varied scenic looks.

Neat rock formations and fun to check out the base of the bluffs. Better views on other bluff hikes. A lot of the hike is in the woods.

hiking
1 month ago

The entire State Park is very well-kept. The trail is very clean and provides a great view of the lake! The loop provides various changes in scenery and a lot of wildlife! The hike was moderate, with a few decent inclines, taking 3-4 hours. I would not recommend bringing small children or as a first hike.

We had a blast on this hike! SO much to do... Always love going down here for the day. I also made a short blog about some diving we did! Please be sure to check it out

https://youtu.be/vVWvDsBg3NM

hiking
1 month ago

This was a fun little trail that I enjoyed early in the morning before it got too hot. Beautiful views of the lake and dense forest. Lots of educational signs giving history and information about the area all along the way. Nice places to step off-trail and swim in the lake. Just a great little hike.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful shaded trail along the river with great swim and fishing areas along the way. INCREDIBLE watering hole at the end! Absolutely wonderful! Crystal clear water with little waterfalls/slides. Not very well marked though. You will want to wear shoes and clothes you don’t mind getting wet (chacos and a swimsuit to change into or wear under clothes)

This is the way we went. Follow road according to the driving directions on All Trails. There is a parking/day camping area at the bottom before you go up, you loose cell signal soon after, but you will see a small sign for hiking trails pointing towards a fairly washed out road going up the hill. Take that road and go 2 miles (turns to gravel and is narrow but safe to drive cars). At the top there is a parking area on the left with a small bathroom. Signs will point to Eagle Loop (a 25 mile loop that is also on All Trails) follow the path and take a left at the fork, trail will follow the river (white blazes on trees). The path goes down to the river and you have to cross. There is a large boulder in the river with some steps leading up and a blue blaze on a nearby tree. Cross and follow the white blazes for the rest of the path. It is fairly well marked for the remainder of the trail.

About a mile and a half down the path there isn’t a good marking, but the trail again leads to the river (there’s a creek coming off the hill to the right, you turn left to cross the river) cross the river and continue following white blazes. We went to the large swimming area (we decided to name it “Bird Bath” Swimming Hole), had a great time, and turned around there and came back the same way.

hiking
1 month ago

amazing loop

hiking
1 month ago

Well, we hiked the trail, or what looked like the trail (it was pretty narrow and there were several false trails), until we got to King’s bluff. The waterfall was a trickle, as was expected, but after that, the trail became confusing. We wanted to see the rest of the bluff, the hoodoos, and get to the bottom to see the caves. But this old road (false trail) ruined all that. The road was broader and more well trodden than the smaller trail that went towards the bluff, so we mistook it for the real trail and ended up missing most of the scenery. It also added .2 mi. to the trail length. After we reconnected with the actual trail, we realized it was the fake trail that we walked past earlier with the sign saying “Road Closed”. Please, don’t return this way, as it gives you a false interpretation of the trail. You see a little piece of the scenery, but after that you miss the rest. It is not worthwhile. We will definitely return in the fall when the waterfall is running, and the forest is a little thinner. Once again, make sure not to miss the actual trail. If you do you will sacrifice 80% of the scenery for more mileage. The rest of the trail though, was amazing, and I recommend this trail greatly. Just don’t go on that fake trail.

on Caddo Bend Trail

1 month ago

Perfect Day Hike! We saw several deer along the way!

on Caddo Bend Trail

hiking
1 month ago

Gorgeous area with clearly marked trail. Not too strenuous, only two areas with a fairly steep incline but not too bad.

on Falls Branch Trail

1 month ago

Clearly marked and well kept trail. In a bit of a dry spell so the creek is very low, hardly any water flow on the hike to the falls. Barely-there waterfall but otherwise the scenery is beautiful! Just needs a good rain shower to get things flowing again.

hiking
1 month ago

This trails is very feature packed. Being interested in forest ecology and old growth, I have revisited this area a few times over the past 4 years. I have documented cut trees and radial growth estimates well over 150 years of age on the rugged edges of this trail. In particular, the Shortleaf pine trees on the ridge, before you drop to the creek, are doppled with a few gnarly trees well into maturity and oaks along the steep slopes appear to be about 120 years old at the oldest. With all that said this forest is a sight to behold. It represents a wonderful mixture of stream-edge hardwoods and xeric Shortleaf pine/ Bluestem. The Little Missouri is lined with Sycamores and Wild Hydrangeas that add a tasteful reflection to the waters below. My better-half enjoyed leisurely swimming here, in the heat of the day. I suggest taking this trail as an escape from the devilish summer heat. When you've finished counting growth rings on the stumps cleared for maintenance, head over to Brushheap mountain for a beautiful climb and some stunted oaks. Best of luck!

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