Saturday, November 2, 2013

Morrilton, Arkansas–Petit Jean State Park

In early October, I went to Petit Jean State Park  in Arkansas for several days.   The park is on top of a mountain about 60 miles west of Little Rock.  I had a great time at this park.  My campsite was a full hookup site, with a pretty good view of the lake. 

On my first day at the park after setting up, I drove around the park just checking things out and stopping at a couple of overlooks. 

Both of the pictures above were taken at the Stouts Overlook.

One of the trails I hiked was the Seven Hollows Trail.  It only goes through 4 hollows, the other 3 are on private property.  This trail has a great mixture of things to see – an arch, box canyon, rock shelters, great rock formations…

The arch was hidden behind some trees, but it was fun scrambling around the area. 




Above was taken in the Grotto, a side trip off of the 7 Hollows Trail.  During spring and early summer, there is a waterfall at the end of the Box Canyon, but it was dry when I visited.  It was still worth the extra walking and scrambling over some rocks.

The trail is rated moderate and I would have to say I agree.  It has some hills, but that was not the bad part.  In many parts of the trail it was very rocky, which made it difficult to walk – but it was well worth it!

This area is known for the rock layering and something called Carpet Rocks.  These formations are a result of fractures in sandstone that were filled with quartz.  The sandstone weathered away, but the quartz was left, leaving very interesting patterns in the stone.    I found a few small examples of Carpet Rocks on this trail, but knew I would search for better examples on another day. 

Below is some interesting rock layering that may eventually be more like a Carpet Rock.

It looked like the tree below was kissing the rock --

You may have to click on the picture below to see this one, but I found the rock that the tree is growing on very interesting.

The next day, I went on a couple of shorter trails looking for some better examples of Carpet Rocks and also Turtle Rocks.

From the Cedar Creek Trail, I found the following examples of Carpet Rock.  The first boulder I found was probably about 10 – 12 feet long and was covered with these great patterns.   Some people thought that these were carvings like petroglyphs, while others have said that aliens did them.  But geologist say they are natural and that’s the group I believe!!  It was impossible to get a good shot of the entire boulder, below are a couple of close up shots. 

In the above example you can see my 1/2 of my shoe at the bottom center of the photo, just to give a size perspective of the rock.  This was taken just past the Cedar Falls Overlook. 

There is also some rock formations that they call Turtle Rocks.  There are a few on the Seven Hollows Trail, but the best ones are found on the Rockhouse Trail. 

My pictures don’t really do them justice, they did look like turtle shells.  

Another day, I went to the Bear Cave Trail which was an easy trail with lots of places to walk around and thru rock formations.  Below are pictures taken from that area -- 

In addition to the hiking trails, the park has a paved walking/biking trail that I walked for a few miles one morning.  I would strongly recommend visiting this park!!

(By the way, I am currently back in Georgia.  From Petit Jean, I headed to Memphis, then Chattanooga, TN before getting back to Georgia. I‘ll try to do those blogs in the next week or so!)

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