No, I didn’t go back to Arkansas. At least not yet. This is yet another LCRA Park, but it is run by Travis County as a “Vendor Park”. Also, although it has a Leander Texas address it is in Lago Vista, in fact it’s right out the road from Lago Vista High School. Ah how to ever figure out how postal routes work……
Anyway, I really debated about going here at all It is small at just over three hundred acres and the trails didn’t really seem all that great, didn’t look like many miles and zero elevation gain, it just didn’t seem all that exciting. But then while researching the area I found out that it is said to be the most scenic place on Lake Travis. Well scenery is the hiker’s holy grail so here I am at Arkansas Bend. And I might add I was not disappointed.
I arrived as the park was opening on a hot humid day. I was kind of thankful that I picked this spot near the water with relatively easy hiking. I started out from the trailhead on the Two Bucks Trail which took me to the overlook for the Longview. It was a nice view, but I found better throughout the day. I wanted to get here before the crowds which really never materialized. The place is most noted for its boat ramps, but they are closed because the lake level has fallen below the level of the ramps.
Arkansas Bend is basically three fingers that jut out in the lake separated by Kill Deer Cove (pictured in the Longview) and Stewart Cove. Water in both coves is at a really low level which kind of added to their beauty. The water was very blue, and it contrasted well against the whitish limestone cliffs.
I left the Overlook on the Longview Loop heading for the Stonewall Trail which ran beside Stewart Cove. This trail was just an old ranch road, so I began to think this was going to be an awful hike.
As I hiked up into Stewart Cove I came across a couple of sailboats at anchor. This really added to the beauty of the cove.
As I moved along the Stonewall Trail, I found the Wagon Wheel Trail. Finally, a real hiking trail! The Wagon Wheel Trail looped around the finger between Stewart Cove and the main lake. It was a beautiful trail with several places to access the area near the water.
I followed this trail and found an opening that took me out to the lake upon some pretty high cliffs. This area was gorgeous.
The trail took me over a rise to another unnamed cove that was almost dried up.
Then I hiked along the lakeshore atop the cliffs. The trail was narrow, and you felt like any misstep, and you were going in!
I ended this hike at the picnic area above the Stonewall Trail, so I decided to eat a snack as I looked across Stewart Cove.
Arkansas Bend: a pleasant surprise and a park I will definitely return to.