Craighead Forest Park offers the outdoor enthusiast a brisk workout of any of the park's walking, hiking, or biking trails. Approximately 15 miles of mountain bike trails weave through the forest, 2.4 miles of chat trail skirt the lake's edge, and 2.9 miles of paved road circle the park. The park also offers an exclusive area for ATV riders, and many of the wooded trails also accommodate horses. For a more complete nature experience, three trails lead to the Forrest L. Wood Crowley's Ridge Nature Center.
Mountain Bikers will find trails for all skill levels within the confines of the park. Beginner trails are inside the loop road and have trailheads located at Access #5 and Access #6. The beginner trail is approximately 4 miles in length. The more advanced trail begins just behind the bathroom at Pavilion # 1 and winds its way around to the South side of the park before connecting to the beginner section of the trail. The entire trail is 11.7 miles in length and a test for even the most seasoned rider.
ATVs, Horseback Riding & Hiking
- ATV enthusiasts are welcome to ride all the trails in the Northwest section of the park. The ATV riding area extends from the parking lot on Craighead Forest Road west to South Culberhouse.
- Horseback riding is also permitted in the park. There are no marked trails for horses, but horse enthusiasts may take a nice trail ride on several trails located outside the main road that circles the park.
- Horses are not allowed on any trails that are inside of the road that circles the park.
- All trails are open for hiking. In addition to the mountain bike trails and ATV trails, walkers and runners are invited to spend a little time on the 2.4 mile chat trail that circles the lake.
The Forrest L. Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center on the southern edge of Jonesboro tells the story of a unique ridge atop the Mississippi Delta with indoor and outdoor exhibits, films and trails.
The 17,033-square-foot, three-story facility opened August 25, 2004. It features a three-story education, exhibit and meeting facility on 160 acres. The center adjoins the southern boundary of Craighead Forest Park and includes a 5.5-acre prairie, 2.5-acre pond and approximately 100 acres of woodlands.
Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center
600 E. Lawson Road
The Forrest L. Wood Crowley's Ridge Nature Center sits on a 160 acre site on the southern edge of Jonesboro. The Center tells the story of the unique ridge that traverses the Arkansas segment of the Mississippi Delta with indoor and outdoor exhibits, films, and trails. A three-story indoor facility features education, exhibit and meeting space. The center adjoins the southern boundary of Craighead Forest Park and on its grounds visitors can find a 5.5-acre prairie, 2.5-acre pond, and approximately 100 acres in woodlands.
The main level of the Center features an exhibit hall and auditorium which present the story of the ridge’s formation and its wildlife through hands-on exhibits and a special 16-minute feature film with animation and special effects. Visitors can test their shooting skills at the hunting simulator or view a huge aerial photograph of Crowley’s Ridge. Visitors can also experience lightning flashes and the roar of thunder in front of a two-story diorama, visible from the main and lower levels of the center. The diorama provides information on the special plants, animals, and demonstrates how rainfall runoff constantly reshapes the ridge. The Crow’s Nest on the upper level of the center provides a bird’s eye view over the center’s diverse landscape to the ridge and Delta south of the site. The center offers educational programs from animal feedings to wildlife walks on a daily basis. A gift shop features souvenirs and other items.
There are 5 nature trails on the grounds. The Habitats Trail, about a quarter-mile long and handicapped accessible, circles the pond behind the nature center. The short walk features several wayside exhibits, a viewing blind and opportunities to spot a variety of wildlife. For those who like to venture farther, trails through the woods connect to Craighead Forest Park. Colorful blooming gardens have been planted in front of the Nature Center to attract hummingbirds, butterflies, and other insects.
Visiting Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center
Tuesday - Saturday: 8:30 am - 4:30 pm
Sunday: 1 pm - 5 pm
Closed on Mondays and major holidays
There is no charge to visit Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center, although donations are welcome.
Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center - The official website of the Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center.
Forrest L. Wood Crowley's Ridge Nature Center
The Forrest L. Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center in Jonesboro (Craighead County) was built through the efforts of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC). It is one of four such nature centers that were built after the 1996 passage of a one-eighth-cent conservation sales tax. Named after Forrest L. Wood, former commissioner and longtime supporter of the AGFC, the center opened on August 25, 2004, after nearly two years of construction.
Located on the northern, wider part of the 200-mile-long Crowley’s Ridge, the center provides the public an opportunity to view wildlife in its habitat and learn about the area’s history. The facility maintains several interactive indoor/outdoor exhibits and offers two related films. Educational programs focus on Arkansas’s history of natural resources, wildlife and their habitats, and outdoor skills. Workshops are held monthly, with classes offered for boating and hunting education.
The three-story wooden and glass structure is surrounded by many types of flora and fauna. After entering the 17,000-square-foot facility on the main level, also called the Exhibit Hall, visitors can interact with the exhibits, including a two-story diorama that depicts a thunderstorm and its effects on the ridge. The films Arkansas on the Wild Side and Crowley’s Ridge are shown in the auditorium. Also located on this level is an exit to the trails, a gift shop, and aquariums for many of the habitats.
The upper level, also known as the Crow’s Nest, is an observatory with a telescope for viewing the surrounding ridge. A hands-on activity room, also known as the discovery room, is located in the lower level along with a meeting room, an aquarium, and additional educational animal habitats.
Located on the grounds is a pond surrounded by a quarter-mile-long walking trail called the Habitats Trail; the center also features another trail of just over two miles connecting to Craighead Forest Park.
The Forrest L. Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center is open to the public free of charge every day except Mondays and major holidays, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, and 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sundays.
For additional information:
Forrest L. Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center. http://www.crowleysridge.org/ (accessed September 8, 2021).
T. French Adams
Last Updated: 09/08/2021
Forest nature center craighead
Forrest L Wood Crowley's Ridge Nature Center, Jonesboro
Love the nature center. Great place to take the kids to learn about animals and nature. They have theater room that shows a video about how Arkansas was formed thousands of years ago. Walking trails with lookout towers you can climb up to look out over the area through a telescope. Lots of live snakes, fish, turtles, etc... to view. They also have a gift shop to get a souvenir of your trip there. Highly recommend!more less
We always take the grandkids here when they come up....but more importantly, we visit a few times a year on our own. It is really neat to see some of the animals they have on the property and learn more about our wildlife. My husband loves the shooting gallery game the best. The kids craft center downstairs is fun. And if you catch it just right, you will get to see them feed the gators or maybe even pet one!more less
Upon a recommendation from a gentleman next to us at the state park, we stopped in for a visit, and it was well worth the drive. The video on the formation of Crowley's Ridge was educational, and well worth its time. The nature trail behind the center was awesome with its elevated walkways over the marshlands, and the tower looking over the prairie. If the nature center staff reads this, add a donation box near the entrance! I looked around for one, and finally asked the front desk, only to find out they had to ring up donations... not a huge deal, but having a box would certainly bring in more funds.more less
Well laid out. Lots of information at the various exhibits as well as numerous live animals, most all reptiles and amphibians including alligators. Would be nice to have a few mammals maybe but still a variety of wildlife to see. Nice gift shop and the outside walking trails are impressive.more less
One of our favorite places to take the kids. Love the walk through the trails ans enjoy the slower part of life.more less
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