Tuesday, August 26, 2014

 

Revamped Pinnacle Mountain West Summit Trail

Located just northwest of Little Rock, Arkansas is Pinnacle Mountain State Park, with the namesake peak being our destination.  We arrived at the parking lot to the
West Summit Trailhead about 9am Sunday morning.  The weather forecast was for a hot and humid day but we hoped to be off the mountain by noon.  The West Summit Trail is severe, having an elevation gain of roughly 800-feet over the 1-mile climb.  Though steep throughout, the trail becomes extremely hard the final 3/10ths of a mile to the summit.  Part of the difficulty of the climb is the shale and sandstone boulder fields you have to navigate, requiring you to take great care with each step.

The park service had redirected the direction of the trail since my last visit in 2008 away from the loose shale to requiring more time in the boulder fields.  Additionally, they had repositioned some large rocks, forming stone steps. I believe overall making for a smoother ascent.

The trail is marked in 1/10th of mile increments, giving one a good point of reference as to location on the trail.  There is a “Your Are Here” bulletin-board at the 7/10th mile marker showing routes to the summit.

video
We took frequent breaks as we made the climb not only to catch our breath but to also enjoy the view.  Once on the summit we had a panoramic view of the nearby Ouachita Mountains and expansive valleys, as well as, of the Big Maumelle, and Little Maumelle rivers.

After snapping a series of “I was there” photos on the summit, we ate a Cliff Bar for an energy boost and headed back down the way we came, electing not to descend the steeper boulders of the East Summit Trail.

Total time from beginning to end was 2-hours and 15-minutes.  The descent was much easier and faster than the climb.

One thing that remains the same about Pinnacle Mountain each time I visit is the diversity of those enjoying the mount; all ages and shapes of people make the climb to test themselves on the craggy paths and enjoy the vista from the summit.



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