Pinnacale Mountain is a foothill of the Ozarks that stretch down from Missouri through Arkansas. It is the highest elevation in the central Arkansas area at over 1,000 feet above the river valley below. The Big and Little Maumelle rivers gracefully wind about the foot of the mountain giving visitors a gorgeous panoramic view from the summit. We went to the mountain for the “kick-off” to our “Rock-Unit” with KONOS (the curriculum we use for homeschooling our kids – who were 6 and 8 at the time we took this field trip).
There are plenty of trails (some harder and some easier) and a myriad of different habitats to observe along the way. The rocky boulders, tall forests and mysterious swamps are great for nature walks or climbing. We have been to this mountain and the park and valley below it quite a few times in the 20 or so months that we have lived in Arkansas and it has new surprises each season. Also, if you live near Pinnacle and haven’t been to any of the park’s events – you are really missing out.
These photographs are from the month of January (2006). Even then, there were plenty of birds and animals to see. Inside the information center, the kids were able to spend time talking with one of the park rangers about the stuffed animals, the mountain itself, the amazing see-through bee-hive they had set up with a live hive in it, and about the birds that came to eat at their feeders outside. We even got to look through their telescope at some bald eagles!
More photos of the park (and much better than mine, by the way) can be found at the Pinnacle Mountain State Park website, or at the Mountain Parks website. They even have a few panoramic views from the top of the mountain and some taken by helicopter of the area (gorgeous!). I have not been disappointed in the State Parks in Arkansas. They are top notch. I guess that is why they call it the “Natural State”. The scenery here is definitely something I will miss when we move home (but in defense of Texas, there are many lovely places there, too!).
It took us over an hour to reach the summit of Pinnacle on our hike (we took the trail on the easier side of the mountain because the kids were with us). We packed a sack lunch, drinks, our camera, and a few first aid items and took turns with the backpack. It was MUCH easier coming down without the added weight of lunch and full water bottles. However, even on the way down, you are getting a workout. We were sore the next day in places we didn’t know we had places! It was worth the aches and pains, though… we love visiting there. So while it wasn’t true “rock-climbing”, it was certainly a lot of fun following the trail of boulders to the top. It was just the jump start we needed for a fun study about geology.
Other Quick Links:Sprittibee’s Homeschool Series (Links for field trip lists, book lists, other years…)
KONOS Rock Unit Fun
Photo of Pinnacle in the snow
Memories from our KONOS Rock Unit (additional photos and info on this field trip)
Boo Hoo… Break is Over (Photos at Pinnacle and Petit Jean State Parks this Spring)
Spring Break in Arkansas (additional photos taken at Pinnacle this Spring)