When I was asked if I would write an article for Joplin Outdoors I knew right away what I had to write it on, Tanyard Creek Nature Trail in Bella Vista, Arkansas. It is one of my all-time favorite places, and I always try to talk everyone into going there.
Open to the public, Tanyard Creek offers a mostly shaded, easy to hike, dog and kid friendly trail that is approximately a two-mile loop. The path starts out paved but turns into a well maintained natural path with lots of signposts along the way telling about its flora and history. The signposts make the hike quite educational for all ages, teaching things like how to identify wild ginger or a hazelnut tree. While walking along the paths you will find cute little wooden bridges, a delightfully playful waterfall, wonderful natural shelves, gorgeous moss-covered cliffs, a pretty little prairie, a lovely pond filled with lily pads, a suspension bridge, foundations of homes from long ago, the skeleton of an old car and even more!
The creek comes from a dam on Lake Windsor leading into a beautiful waterfall. You can walk to the top of the hill to view the lake and dam, via an unshaded path across the small prairie. Although it can be reached by an easy to walk trail, I like to walk alongside the creek all the way to the falls. It is a little more adventurous, the views are stunning, the water is relaxing, and if you want to see the dam and lake there is a path to the right of the waterfall that will take you directly to it. With every weather change, be it seasonal or intense rain, I like to go look at the waterfall. Sometimes it is a quaint little cascade that you can walk behind without getting wet, and other times it is a true force to be reckoned with. I have heard it has even been known to freeze, although I haven’t had the pleasure of seeing that yet.
My very favorite thing about Tanyard Creek Nature Trail aside from the pure beauty of the place is how family friendly it is and welcoming to all. I always see families enjoying different aspects of what it has to offer. On hot days there are children splashing and swimming in different sections of the creek, sometimes floating about on their toys. If it is what you desire, it is easy to find a little spot to call your own and enjoy the water. People take their children fishing, for picnics, and to play in the waterfall. You will see people taking lazy naps in their hammocks, reading under a shade tree, or sitting on one of their many benches enjoying the sounds and beauty of nature.
I have introduced Tanyard Creek to many people. Not a single one of them have ever been disappointed. Each one of them has enjoyed it more than they expected, as it was for me when I first went. Beautiful in every season and slightly less than an hour from Joplin, Tanyard Creek is a delight. Don’t just walk the path. Hang out and get to know it a while; it is definitely worth the day!