Take a Hike: Historic Washington State Park

“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.

"I enjoy spending time relaxing in my garden or discovering different plants when I go for walks."

Kailah Tidwell
Photos provided by Kailah Tidwell.

Name: Kailah Tidwell

Hometown: Camden, Arkansas

Currently Lives In: Little Rock, Arkansas

Occupation: Mental Health Therapist & Folk Herbalist

Favorite Outdoor Space: White Oak Lake State Park. It’s not too far from my hometown and we used to fish there as a family.  It’s a great place to walk, fish, camp or relax.

Historic Washington State Park magnolia tree

What’s one outdoor place you want to explore, but haven’t yet? 

The Buffalo River

What do you enjoy about the outdoors? 

 I enjoy spending time relaxing in my garden or discovering different plants when I go for walks.

Kaliah Tidwell

Who helped you develop a love and appreciation for nature?

My grandparents. They usually kept a small garden in the summer. I always enjoyed picking weeds and helping harvest the vegetables they grew. I’ve always felt most comfortable outdoors because of those experiences.

How does spending time in nature have a positive impact on your life?

Being a therapist requires me to sit indoors for long periods of time. Being outside has come to symbolize solitude and freedom after being confined to one space for most of the day. I also have a lot of nostalgic outdoor spaces that feel comforting now. 


Historic Washington State Park
Photo courtesy of Arkansas State Parks.

An important stop on the Southwest Trail, James Bowie, Sam Houston and Davy Crockett famously traveled through the Historic Washington State Park area. James Black, a local blacksmith, actually forged the legendary Bowie knife. From 1863-1865, it served as the Confederate capital of Arkansas. The 1874 Courthouse serves as the park visitor center. Start there, and continue to the Blacksmith Shop, Weapons Museum, Print Museum and other historic locations that make up the largest collection of 19th-century buildings in the state.  

Have you taken a hike in one of Arkansas' state parks? Get featured in the "Take a Hike" series!