When it's finished, the Arkansas River Trail will total 24 miles, a loop that follows the Arkansas River on both its north and south shores from downtown Little Rock to Pinnacle Mountain State Park. In Riverdale, the trail runs through bluffs and woods along Murray Park and the Little Rock and Western railroad tracks and leads to the Big Dam Bridge, crossing the river to North Little Rock, and Two Rivers Bridge, crossing the Little Maumelle to Two Rivers Park. It's a haven for joggers, bikers, commuters and leashed canines — shady in summer, bursting with color in fall. The Riverdale leg is perfect for snapping photos of wildlife, particularly the elegant Scissortail flycatchers that dip and soar near the water's edge.
At 4,226 feet, the Big Dam Bridge is the nation's longest bridge constructed solely for pedestrians and bikers. Suspended 65 feet above the river, the bridge incorporates the Murray Lock and Dam directly into its design. A cross-section of the city's diversity is nearly always in attendance, engaged in various modes of muscle-powered transit. At sunset it's a great place to catch a bird's-eye view of the Pinnacle Mountain light show.
This creek empties into the Arkansas from a ravine in back of the Robinwood neighborhood. You can just stare at it from the railroad tracks or venture down to its edges for some muddy play.
Murray Park is a wide expanse of riverfront lawn that offers soccer fields, covered pavilions, two playgrounds and a boat dock. It also boasts the only fenced, off-leash dog park in Little Rock. Paws Park is pooch paradise—two well-maintained acres of shaded walkways, benches and water troughs, with a separate play area for smaller pups.
This public course offers a short nine for beginners and folks with not a lot of time and a nice links-style 18-hole course. The river isn't a hazard, unless you can hit the ball like John Daly, but you can get in trouble along the edges. It is possible to enjoy a frosty one afterward in the club house. There's also a practice range. With golf, you can't practice enough.
For a relatively small neighborhood, there is a wealth of options. It may be in an unattractive office building, but Brave New Restaurant's reputation as one of the finest restaurants in Little Rock is deserved. For Louisiana fare, there's massive (Cajun's Wharf), lively (The Faded Rose) and more authentic (Maddie's). At lunch during the week, Whole Hog Cafe might be the busiest and best barbecue joint around. For burgers and other pub grub, Town Pump and Buffalo Grill are predictably satisfying. Loca Luna and Union specialize in approachable gourmet. In warm weather, there's no better place to sit outside and drink a beer and eat a slice than Pizza Cafe's deck.
Town Pump is a neighborhood dive that's become popular with the younger set uninterested in the River Market district or Hillcrest. On the weekends, Cajun's is perhaps Little Rock's swingin'est singles bar; a Play-De-Do cocktail on the deck is an essential warm weather ritual. When Little Rock doesn't want to go home, it goes to Discovery (open only on Saturdays) or Backstreet (only open Fridays and Saturdays) to dance until 5 a.m.
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