Northwest Arkansas Guide to Nearby Creeks, Lakes & Waterfalls

Where You and Your Kids Can Go to Splash or Wade in the Water

By Kara Ault, Macaroni Kid Fayetteville Publisher August 28, 2020

Updated as of June 2023:  We live in The Natural State, and that is a title rightfully earned by our beautiful Arkansas. We have an abundance of hiking spots, lakes, rivers, creeks and other wading areas in and near Northwest Arkansas and many are free to access. No need to travel far!

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I asked our Facebook followers the question "What are your favorite nearby creeks, waterfalls, and other wading areas?" and here are some of their answers:

  • Tanyard Creek Trail in Bella Vista, AR- beautiful trail and bridge leading to waterfalls and nice wading and floating areas. The hike is dog-friendly and doable with young children.
  • The creek at Lake Atalanta (with a tip that it is crowded on the weekends but weekdays before noon are not usually crowded)
  • Take the approx 1-hour drive, depending on your location, to Kings River Falls near Kingston. Gorgeous scenery, wading & waterfalls. 
Kings River FallsBeaver LakeTanyard CreekCenterton City Park CreekDevil's Den

  • The creek at Gordon Long Park in Fayetteville
  • Wade in the river at War Eagle Mill in Rogers. Plus, the Mill building and the historic bridge make awesome photo opps! (Tip: Go in the Mill to the Bean Palace upstairs for ice cream & cobbler!)
  • Wade or swim in Cove Creek near Prairie Grove, Cane Hill area. Some areas are perfect for wading or tube floating but others at times are deep enough to swim.
  • Hickory Creek Park near Lowell. More info here
  • Withrow Springs State Park- Canoes and kayaks can be rented for $30 for a half-day. Float along War Eagle Creek, and wade or go fishing.
  • The creek at Springdale Lake
  • Wade in the water or hike up to the waterfalls at Devil's Den State Park. Several of the trails are kid-friendly even for small children. When my girls were little, my husband carried them in the baby carrier on his back as we hiked up to the waterfall. When the water is low enough, you can walk across the rock dam. Tip: Be careful- rocks can be slippery.
  • Natural Dam on Hwy 59, about 30 min south of Fayetteville. Wading and beautiful scenery.
  • Play in the creek at Wilson Park in Fayetteville
  • Lee Creek near Chester
  • Take a short drive to Roaring River State Park in Missouri. You can hike, feed the trout in the hatchery (bring quarters to buy fish food!) and you can fish if you buy a fishing license at the park.
  • Farmington Creekside Park. Plenty of room to wade and splash in the creek here. Picnic tables are available in the park.
  • Twin Falls Trailhead- near Harrison. Navigate to it here.

Know of one I should've mentioned? Email me with info & photos if possible at

Don't forget about water safety! Even if just wading, water safety is important. Young children can drown in just a few inches of water. Check out these water safety tips from our friends at Goldfish Swim School in Rogers.