Cone shaped Pinnacle Mountain is in the far northwest corner of Little Rock in a state park named after it. Take exit 9 off I-430 and go east on Arkansas 10 for seven miles. Right turn on Arkansas 300 and the parking lot for the west summit trail is a couple miles up the road. For east summit trail continue north on 300 for another mile. There will be signs for both areas. Another way to get to the park is Pinnacle Valley road which would be off of Arkansas 10 only 3 miles from I-430. That route will bring you to the parks visitor center too.
From the summit, one can view Lake Maumelle (Little Rock‘s water supply)to the west. The Arkansas River is seen in the north and to the northeast is where I-430 & the Big Dam Bridge (a pedestrian/bikes only bridge)crosses the river. The cities of Little Rock & North Little Rock have an extensive biking-walking trails system
that extend from the Big Dam Bridge
all the way down to the Clinton Library and are working to connect to Pinnacle Mountain’s trails.
The park is also the eastern terminus of the 222-mile Ouachita Trail though the trail does not go over Pinnacle’s summit
Pinnacle has two trails to its summit - an east trail and a west trail; and there is a base trail that goes entirely around the base of the mountain. Both trails are short at ¾ of a mile long each and both are around 700’ incline.
The yellow blazed West Summit Trail has metal markers numbered 1-10 that are equally spread out from the trailhead to near the summit. It is around marker 7 where the trail involves rock hopping so always beware of your footing. The trail gets steeper right on up and passed the #9 marker. At marker 10 is a bulletin board and a fork in the trail/ If you take a right turn you will see the summit of Pinnacle a short climb away and marker #10E. Taking a left at the bulletin will bring to Pinnacle’s rocky ridge and on to the red & white blazed East Summit Trail.
Big Rock & Little Rock
A few miles down river from Pinnacle are two other ‘rock’ landmarks significant to local history. When French explorer, Benard le Harpe traveled up the Arkansas River from the Mississippi circa 1822, he took note of some rocks on the south bank when they were first able to ford the river. As they turned up the next bend they came across the first ‘big rock’ outcropping on the Arkansas. La Harpe dubbed this rock “Rocher Francais’ - the French Rock - and called the first rocks they saw a couple miles back “le petit Rocher” -the little rock. Eventually a settlement established itself at and around the little rock which is how Little Rock got its name.
The French Rock became Big Rock Mountain (elevation 580' but towers high above the river)in what is now North Little Rock. At one time stone used to be quarried here and a resort was once atop it in the late 1800’s. The resort closed and became Fort Roots. Fort Roots is now a VA hospital. In addition there is a bike trail at the foot of Big Rock as well as one that go from the base to the top.
Pinnacle Mountain State Park is open year round and is a day use only park with no camping allowed. However, further down Pinnacle Valley Road is Maumelle Park which has full camping facilites.
External LinksPinnacle Mountain State Park
11901 Pinnacle Valley Road
Little Rock, AR 72223