Mt. Kessler Greenways is an advocacy group that has the goal of helping to maintain the natural character of Mt. Kessler, which is located in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
The "Rock City" area of Mt. Kessler is a section of the trail that is a remarkable natural formation, and worth each and every effort to maintain its natural character.
There is a small parking area adjacent to the trail entrance, which is easily filled up on popular hiking days. On the day I visited, it was necessary to park quite a ways down the entry road, due to the parking lot being filled.
When youget to the trail head, you will find a placard with a map, and a place to leave the "Waiver and Release Liability Form", which is a requirement before entering the reserve area. One reason for this is stated as part of the mission for the Mt. Kessler Greenways organization, and it is to protect the value of property owners and adjacent neighbors in the Mt. Kessler Reserve area. It is an area of about 1500 acres, 1000 of which are in the Fayetteville city limits. It is mainly privately owned, but at least 200 acres is owned by the city of Fayetteville, and listed as a city park. There are about eight to nine miles of trails. You can print out a copy of the waiver form at www.mtkesslergreenways.com .
Be sureto sign in on the Trail Log Book, that is inside the weather-protected box, adjacent to the trail entrance. The log book asks that the user identify if they are associated with the nearby University of Arkansas. Records so far, indicate that about 38 percent of users have a University of Arkansas affiliation.
This photo shows me in the "Rock City" area of the trail. It was a photo of this rock formation that I saw in a magazine this year, that made me want to visit the trail. The author of the article listed the Mt. Kessler trail as one of the ten best hikes in Arkansas. Of course, that made me very curious, since I am a native Arkansan, (who lived in Fayetteville for six years and visits there regularly and likes to hike), yet I had never even heard of the trail until I read about it in the magazine a few months ago!
Thisgroup was doing a photo shoot in the Rock City area, and let me take a snapshot of them. I have read since then that a local Fayetteville photography club was having an outing to the Mt. Kessler trail, as one of their monthly activities.
On the day I visited, I saw many hikers---many who looked to be of college age.
When the visitor gets to the ridgeline near the top of Mt. Kessler, there is an expansive view of the surrounding countryside.
Ialso saw several mountain bikers on the trail. The local mountain bike club plays an active roll in maintaining the trail.
One of the hikersI encountered was kind enough to take a photo of me with my camera, along the trail.
Some of the passages through the rocks are so narrow that most bikers will have to dismount from their bike to keep going, but I observed one biker stay on his bike through even the "skinniest" of passages!
Asyou would expect, the trail is a popular place to walk your dog.
Besides mountain bikers and college age hikers, I saw some families enjoying the trail with their young kids.
Mt. Kessler Greenways is accessed on the main highway leading to Prairie Grove, Arkansas. Once you are near the top of the mountain, you can see for miles in the distance.
Fayetteville has the nickname "Athens of the Ozarks", because of its seven hills. Mt. Kessler is the last of those seven hills that has not been changed by development.
One of the goals of the Mt. Kessler Greenways is to maintain the trail corridors in a way that will preserve the natural habitat. One the day I visited, I was able to see some evidence of wildflowers starting to blossom, which is always a good sign. Since my visit there, I learned in an email from Frank Sharp, dated April 8, 2014, that the Mt. Kessler Greenways has been successful in meeting another one of their goals, which is to participate in municipal and county planning, regarding development of Mt. Kessler Reserve area. They secured a challenge grant from the Walton Family Foundation ( the charity started by Walmart founders, Sam and Helen Walton: www.waltonfamilyfoundation.org ) for 1.5 million dollars. The Fayetteville City Council voted to meet the challenge with another 1.5 million dollars. As a result, 376 acres of woods and trails owned by Chambers Bank has been purchased. The Mt. Kessler Reserve will be protected and kept in its natural state via a conservation easement. The Walton Family Foundation's generosity is an example of one of my First Place 4 Health ( www.FirstPlace4Health.com ) memory verses that says, "But just as you excel in everything---in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us---see that you also excel in this grace of giving." ( 2 Corinthians 8:7 ) I am not putting the location of the trail in this blog, as it is important to sign the waiver before you visit. Once you have completed the necessary paperwork, start making plans to try out the incredible "Rock City Trail"!! It will give you miles of smiles! Tricia