“Take A Hike” is a weekly series that examines diversity in the outdoors. In each installment, we’ll highlight one of the Natural State’s 52 state parks and talk to BIPOC Arkansans about what they enjoy about spending time in nature.
"Love going on hikes with my girlfriend and dogs."
Name: Joel A. Rodríguez
Hometown: Tyler, Texas
Currently Lives In: Little Rock, Arkansas
Occupation: Home Inspector/Subcontractor
Favorite Outdoor Space: Burns Park disc golf course
What’s one outdoor place you want to explore, but haven’t yet?
The vast number of trails in the Ouachitas and the bat caves at Devil’s Den, but they have been closed for so many years now.
What do you enjoy about the outdoors?
Love going on hikes with my girlfriend and dogs.
Who first introduced you to spending time in nature?
I was a member of a Cub Scout group back in Texas but really didn’t get to enjoy and understand it until I joined Venture Crew 8 when I was in high school.
What is one of your fondest memories of exploring nature?
I honestly thought this was going to be the easiest question, but it’s way harder. One of my most recent was getting to see the redwoods out west. They have been on my need-to-see for a long time and I had been close a couple of times but never made it until two years ago. I flew out west and finally got to walk around giant trees. People tell you how big they are but you don’t really understand it until you experience it.
ABOUT THE PARK
Situated in the Arkansas River Valley just 45 minutes from Arkansas Wine Country, this state park sits atop the 1,350-foot Mount Nebo. The 1930s-era Civilian Conservation Corps constructed many of the rustic-style cabins, pavilions, bridges, and 14 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails, according to Arkansas State Parks. Cabin 1 was the first cabin rental in state park history.
Twelve of the park’s 15 cabins are located along the bluff and have views of the river valley below. Most of the campsites do as well. There are 34 campsites (24 Class B and 10 hike-in tent sites). Other facilities include a swimming pool, tennis courts, picnic areas, pavilions, and a visitor center with a gift shop.