Delta Heritage Trail State Park is the perfect destination for enthusiasts of hiking or cycling. The Rails To Trail project along the former Union Pacific Railroad is being built in phases by Arkansas State Parks. Once completed, the trail will be about 85 miles long. With multiple trailheads, the trail crosses through many different terrains. It will eventually cross over both the Arkansas and White rivers once complete.
The 960-acres of land for the park was acquired by the state in 1992 from the Union Pacific Railroad. Construction of the planned trail began several years later. The first trail segment opened to hikers and bicyclists in 2002. Construction continues to extend the trail, but many miles have already been completed.
Visitors to the trail will enjoy beautiful scenery. While out exploring, you’ll pass by wooded forests, farmland, and streams. The area is home to an abundance of wildlife. White-tailed deer may be spotted during the quiet mornings and evenings. Coyotes are known to pass through in the evenings. Delta Heritage Trail also provides a great opportunity for birding with many different types of birds that are native to the area as well as others that are migratory.
The state park is open year-round for both trail use as well as camping. Class D campsites are available within the state park on a first-come, first served basis. There are no hookups at any of the campsites. To preserve the natural beauty of the land, the state did not construct fences or warning signs in some areas of the park. Stay alert when roaming around the park and trail.
Delta Heritage Trail State Park is located in West Helena, Arkansas off of Highway 49. With many nearby cities and towns, you won’t be far from services during your visit. The trail itself passes through a number of different municipalities.
While there are a number of trailheads the main entrance to the park is in Barton. This is where you will find the Visitor Center, campsites, and picnic area. Parking is available at many of the other trailheads as well. Visitors can bike, walk, or drive to the park’s amenities and trails.
There is much to explore within the park and also in the surrounding area. Many scenic and historical sites are located within a short drive of the state park if you’re considering taking a day trip during your stay.
Delta Heritage Trail State Park offers ten primitive Class D campsites to its guests which are open year-round. This park does not take reservations. Camping is available on a first-come, first served basis only. Located near the Visitor Center, the campsites are also close to one of the many trailheads as well as restrooms.
The campsites have no hookups, so come prepared with extra water for your RV or trailer. While there isn’t a water hookup, water is available in the camping area. The restrooms have running water as well.
Campfires are permitted at the campsites. It’s the perfect way to wind down in the evenings after spending a day out hiking or biking on the trail.
The main attraction at the state park is the Delta Heritage Trail. Both hikers and bicyclists are welcome throughout the trail. The trail passes through many scenic areas, crossing through forests of native hardwoods, farm fields, and over streams. There are multiple trailheads located within the state park. Bike rentals and trail maps are available at the Visitor Center. Be sure to pick up a map before setting out hiking or biking.
Birdwatching is a popular activity at this state park. Whether you're on the trail or relaxing at your campsite, if you keep your eyes peeled you’re bound to see many different types of birds. Blue jays, hawks, woodpeckers, and wild turkeys are frequent visitors to the park. Many species are native to the area while others are migratory, passing through during specific seasons. Bring along a pair of binoculars for better viewing.
Whether you're taking a break from the trails or gathering for another occasion, there is a picnic area at the Visitor Center. It is a great spot for lunch, dinner, or just a snack to refuel after the miles and miles of activity the Delta Heritage Trail provides. Trees surrounding the picnic tables provide shade during the hotter days.
Visitors to Delta Heritage Trail State Park are likely to see many different types of wildlife during their stay. The area is home to many animals, while others may only pass through during certain seasons. White-tailed deer, coyotes, and beavers may be spotted. Snakes and turtles have often been seen by park visitors as well. Butterfly migration is a sight to be seen and usually occurs in the fall when monarchs migrate from the Northern U.S. to Central Mexico for the winter.
There are geocaches located along the trail and throughout the park. Make sure to download your geocache app and plan to bring along small items to leave behind for the next person if you plan to take what you find. Be careful not to disturb wildlife while searching for geocache. Keep in mind that there aren’t warning signs in some areas to preserve nature, so use caution when trekking around.
The Visitor Center is certainly worth a stop in during your visit to Delta Heritage Trail State Park. There is a gift shop where you can pick up souvenirs and other items. If you choose to bike the trail, bike rentals are available there. Restrooms and a picnic area are located at the Visitor Center as well.