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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Arkansas Arboretum Review

Arkansas Arboretum
Pinnacle Mountain State Park
Location: 11901 Pinnacle Valley Road Little Rock, AR 72223 (MAP)
Hours: 6:30 AM to 1 hour after sunset
Contact Info: Phone 501-868-5806
Downloads: Park Map, Trail Map, Butterfly Checklist

Date Visited: 12-18-2008

I visited the Arkansas Arboretum in December of 2008. Pinnacle Mountain State Park, where the arboretum is located, is just outside of the city of Little Rock. Access to the park is free and the arboretum is on the Arkansas Trail inside of the park. The sign above is clearly visible from the road and directs you into a large parking lot.

There is a large bulletin board at the trail head with park maps, brochures, and posted information. Unfortunately, when I was visiting there were no arboretum maps or tree lists specific to this trail.

The trail itself is paved with asphalt and is currently in good condition making this park very handicap accessible. It was an early winter morning when I visited, so I saw no other people during my entire walk through the arboretum. The area is somewhat remote so I encourage bringing a friend, carrying a cell phone, or letting someone know where you will be.

The tree markers are beautifully detailed with common tree names, an elevation of the tree, leaf detail, description, and map. (in addition some contain flower, fruit, and seed details). My major complaint is that there are no scientific names on these tree markers. Other trees throughout the arboretum had laminated paper name tags (with common and scientific names) affixed to the tree trunks, but those were in a state of decline.

The trail is supposed to simulate the various regions of Arkansas and the trees that grow in those regions. Information signs are located throughout the trail to keep you updated with what you are viewing.
Overall the arboretum is quite mature and densely forested. Visitors have the opportunity to observe trees as they would appear in native woodland conditions. The trail is fairly short, just over half a mile with some slope. Casual walkers can expect to spend an hour walking the loop.

Observed Trees
Aralia spinosa - Devil's Walkingstick
Callicarpa americana - American Beautyberry
Nyssa aquatica - Water Tupelo
Vaccinium arboreum - Farkleberry