Water is one of the most powerful forces on earth. Over time, it erodes and creates some of the most spectacular sites. Like the Grand Canyon and Palo Duro Canyon. But did you also know that it’s created a “Little Grand Canyon” right here at home?
The Little Grand Canyon of Arkansas can be found just past the dam and spillway at lower White Oak Lake, in southwest Arkansas. It’s just off of Highway 24, down the end of Ouachita Road 332. Park at the end of the road, but please be mindful and park on a hard surface only. Keep walking a bit down the path and keep looking out to your left. Eventually, the view will stop you in your tracks and quite possibly take your breath away. The erosion of the dirt and soil has created the most magnificent hidden canyon! It’s one of our favorite places to stop for photos and for a picnic. There is plenty to explore around the Little Grand Canyon of Arkansas, both at the canyon overlook, down in the canyon, and in the hills surrounding the area. You can take a little hike to follow the creek, or spend a little time working on some agility while jumping around the mogul hills that are to the right of the road on your way to the overlook.
Keep in mind that this is not an official part of the state park, so please be mindful of Leave No Trace principles, and carry out what you carry in. Please do not litter.
It’s also not a bad spot to toss in a line and try to catch some fish. We always bring along our pocket fisherman, just in case there’s a chance to go fishing.
Five tips for your best day ever at the Little Grand Canyon of Arkansas:
- Dress accordingly. In the summer months, it will be VERY hot, muggy, and well, buggy. Dress in layers and remember sun protection and bug protection. Also, remember to do a tick check anytime you’re leaving the wilderness before you get into your vehicle to leave. When adventuring with children, it’s always advisable to bring a change of clothes for the way home.
- Pack a picnic lunch and plenty of water to get the full adventure experience. Remember to bring a blanket or easily packable chair or two.
- Wear OLD shoes or hiking shoes with good traction. It can be quite muddy and at times slippery if you’re exploring down in the canyon. Remember, the canyon walls are made of dirt and earth, not rock or stone. If it’s rained recently, it’ll be muddy, soft, and slippery.
- Be mindful of wildlife and look before you step. You’re entering their territory, so please be respectful of their homes. Yes, there may be snakes, but they won’t bother you if you do not bother them.
- Please practice Leave No Trace principles while exploring and pack out all of your trash.
For a 15-second snippet of one of our favorite picnic spots at the Little Grand Canyon of Arkansas, check out this Instagram Reels Video HERE.
Happy adventuring! If you head out on an adventure to the Little Grand Canyon of Arkansas, let me know! I’d love to hear about your adventure. You can find me on Instagram at @coleyraeh or on my website at www.luckeywanderers.com
Nichole is a freelance writer located in southwest Arkansas, who loves all things outdoors including gardening, hiking, backpacking, and canoeing. She is a homeschooling mother to two, and they are entering their seventh year of homeschooling! They are an adventure and outdoor-loving family of four, who are often embarking on day trips and road trips to chase some shenanigans. As a family, they love supporting small and local businesses, especially local bookstores and coffee shops. Nichole hopes to inspire others to see the wonder and adventure in both the big and the small, close to home and on the road. You can follow their adventures on Instagram by following them at @coleyraeh.