Craighead Forest Park – A Guide to the Best Trails in Jonesboro

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Craighead Forest Park is one of the highlight attractions in the city of Jonesboro Arkansas. Ok, so there is not a lot going on here and given that it is our current hometown it’s fair to say we spend quite a bit of time here enjoying the gorgeous lake and awesome trails throughout the park. If you love nature and the outdoors, a visit to Craighead Forest Park is worthwhile and you will gain a greater appreciation of why this is such a popular spot in north-east Arkansas.

craighead forest park jonesboro arkansas

Whether you are a highly skilled mountain biker, a seasoned cross-country runner or perhaps just someone who enjoys relaxing among the flora and fauna, Craighead Forest Park is the perfect spot to visit.

Heather will concur that I am a huge critic of Jonesboro, primarily because of its geographic location in the heart of the “Southern” United States but also because I find there is very little to do here. Fortunately, Craighead Forest Park offers visitors to Jonesboro the opportunity to experience the natural environment and enjoy the gorgeous surroundings.

craighead forest park jonesboro

Craighead Forest Park Information

History

The history of Craighead Forest Park dates back to 1937 when the Young Men’s Civic Club of Jonesboro started working on the lake to create an attraction for locals to enjoy. The park has seen substantial change over the years and today it covers 692 acres of scenic landscape located on Crowley’s Ridge.

A Distinctive Recreational Park in Northeast Arkansas

The park is open daily from 6:00AM and 10:00PM. All vehicles must remain on the designated roads around the park and since the recent development of the new pedestrian walkways, foot traffic is required to stay on those sidewalks or trails throughout the park.

craighead forest park jonesboro arkansas

Address

4910 S Culberhouse Rd,
Jonesboro, AR 72404

Things to Do Inside the Park

There are plenty of opportunities for recreational activities at Craighead Forest Park. Whether you enjoy a relaxing afternoon fishing or perhaps you want to entertain a family picnic, Craighead Forest is home to a myriad of activities.

craighead forest lake

Let’s take a look at some of the best things to do.

Fishing and Wildlife

The 60-acre Craighead Forest Lake is home to a variety of fish that attracts locals and visitors alike to test their skills. The Arkansas Game & Fish Commission frequently stocks the lake with a combination of bass, bream, catfish and crappie.

craighead forest park

Walking around the trail that surrounds the perimeter of the lake, you will likely see local anglers ready to pounce on their next catch.

craighead forest park wildlife

Picnics

Several picnic areas can be found throughout the park, offering gorgeous views around the lake and ample space to enjoy a family picnic.

craighead forest park

Visitors can also reserve one of the various pavilions that are scattered around the park.

craighead forest park jonesboro

Camping

If you looking for a perfect spot in north-east Arkansas with rustic surroundings, Craighead Forest Park is the ultimate location. It’s certainly not five-star luxury but for those willing to entertain the campground experience, this is definitely an option worth considering.

craighead forest lake

The asphalt camping spaces are all equipped with water, electric outlets, picnic tables and access to a grill. The views across the lake make this a great location for a weekend getaway.

Hit the Best Trails in Jonesboro

Despite recent renovations to create a pedestrian walkway around part of the park, there are numerous trails that intertwine throughout the forest creating a haven for avid mountain bikers.

craighead forest park trails

Rugged terrain provides challenging yet rewarding trails for those brave enough to head off-road. If you are thinking about a leisurely bike ride, Craighead Forest probably isn’t the best idea given the rolling hills of Crowley’s Ridge that provide such an awesome experience for the more experienced riders.

craighead forest park jonesboro arkansas

But don’t worry, if hopping on two wheels is a little too adventurous, you can don your hiking boots and head out into the trails and explore the rustic scenery.

craighead forest park

Perhaps the most scenic of all the trails at Craighead Forest Park is the 2.4-mile trail around the edge of the lake. The trail is relatively well maintained and easy to walk around.

hiking trails craighead forest park

If you are seeking something a little longer, the trail around the road is paved and with a distance of just under 3 miles, is certainly a great workout, especially when you are faced with a couple of strenuous hills that you have to climb.

craighead forest park loop

Phase one of the community project to develop a brand new walkway around Craighead Forest Park has recently been finished in 2016, characterized by a layer of tarmac that provides a comfortable walking experience for visitors around the park. The installation of outdoor workout equipment is certainly a huge benefit for those wanting to enjoy a complete workout in the open-air.

craighead forest park

Summary

Craighead Forest Park is one of the highlight attractions in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Ok, so there are not too many reasons to speak of but if you are passing through Jonesboro, be sure to head over and explore everything this beautiful park has to offer.

craighead forest park jonesboro arkansas

The walking/biking trails alone make this an attractive location especially with the gorgeous landscapes across the lake. You never quite know what wildlife you will stumble across but if you love the outdoors, Craighead Forest Park is a must-see experience!

Have you spent time in Arkansas? Do you enjoy spending time in parks?

6 COMMENTS

  1. This park is really picturesque it reminds me of Entwhistle reservoir, you don’t appear to have to go far to enjoy a scenic walk.

  2. Hi Chris and Heather,

    I’m a first time visitor.

    The park looks like a fine place with a lot to do, especially for outdoors-y folks. It’s great to see people exploring their own back yard! We’re so often wrapped up in greener pastures we miss out on the great places we have around us. I’m from South Africa and my hubby and I have recently started exploring our backyard too!

    Chris, I get why you feel there’s very little to do in Jonesboro. Coming from a busy place like Manchester! Hubby and I lived in the UK for 8 years and my work took me to Manchester a couple of time. It’s pretty vibrant with plenty to do and see. But the quiet life – now that’s what I talking about!

    Thanks for a great blog!

    Astrid
    Astrid recently posted…Best Canned Food for SurvivalMy Profile

    • Hi Astrid,

      Thanks so much for taking time to visit our site – hope you enjoyed it and will be coming back again in the future 🙂

      Craighead Forest is definitely a “go-to” spot for us when we are here in town and not on the road traveling (most weekends we try to get out and explore but sometimes it’s nice to stay at home right!). You frequently take your home for granted and only realize the beauty of it when you are not there. I have lived in Jonesboro for 6 years now and of course, Heather all of her life. I still maintain that there is nothing to do here hence the reason we love traveling so much but Craighead is definitely one of the few reasons we enjoy here 🙂

        • You are exactly right Astrid! We are ALWAYS ready for a long haul trip and don’t worry, South Africa is HIGH on our bucket list of destinations we need to visit soon 🙂 I will definitely let you know once we have concrete plans to visit!

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