With multiple overlooks of the beautifully secluded Lincoln Lake, diverse hiking and mountain biking trails and a plethora of spots for rock climbing or bouldering, this city park just north of Lincoln, Ark. is an easy one to fall in love with.
About 30 to 40 minutes west of Fayetteville, Lake Lincoln may not be as easily accessible, but it is perfect for an afternoon or day trip away from business and traffic.
Heading north on Jackson Highway from Lincoln will bring you to the main trailhead on the right. Behind an information kiosk and map is the entrance to the Eagle View Trail, which will later turn into the Lake Loop Trail. Eagle View is rated intermediate to strenuous for mountain bikers and easy for hikers, according to the Lincoln Lake website. The trail follows an old service road to the Lake View Overlook, one of several stunning angles of the lake. Weaving through the woods, the trail leads to a second (and even better) overlook atop a 50-foot bluff. Known as the Eagle View Overlook, this is a great spot to search for bald eagles, especially in the wintertime. The trail then splits into two loops, an upper loop and lower loop. Those mountain biking should take the upper loop, as the lower one is not clear enough yet for biking. Hikers should absolutely take the lower loop, however, as it winds through incredibly beautiful bluffs and rock formations. If you are looking to boulder or rock climb, this lower loop is the trail for you.
Well marked with white arrows, both of the loops eventually circle back to the original trail, a trek of about four miles. Hikers wanting to see more of the lake can continue onto the Lake Loop Trail. There is no marker for the transition to the new trail, but you will know you're on it when the scenery changes from rocky bluffs to grassy lowlands. The Lake Loop will take you over Moore's Creek and around the lake, eventually connecting to the Piney Loop and Spillway Loop trails. About five miles in total, this trail is rated difficult for hikers and is not recommended for mountain bikers, according to the website. Highlights of the trail include access to very large rock formations, popular with rock climbers, and remote wooded areas.
The Piney Loop Trail can be accessed at the tail end of the Lake Loop, or at the trailhead, which is past the main trail entrance, over the bridge and on the right. This is the more popular trail amongst mountain bikers, and is ranked intermediate for bikers and easy for hikers, according to the website. Heading north from the lake, this trail also passes by several great rock formations before crossing over the dam. From here the trail enters a thick pine forest before looping back to the trailhead, completing a four-mile trip.
It's hard to pick a favorite trail at Lincoln Lake, and is impossible to explore them all in a day, though that's a good problem to have. Get out this week as the weather warms up in Norwest Arkansas, and if it's your first time to Lincoln Lake, embark on the Eagle View Overlook. By the time you finish you will be so in love with the scenery, exploring the entirety of Lincoln Lake might even become a new New Year's resolution.