Nature

The experience of and appreciation for nature is central to the mission of Crystal Bridges. The Museum is situated on 120 acres of native Ozark forest which include natural springs, streams, geographical features, and a host of native plants and animals. Our dedicated Trails and Grounds team are committed to the use of native plants in the landscape, and work year-round to keep the grounds beautiful and healthy for all to enjoy.

Dogwood Trail: Trail closed for improvements  |  Rock Ledge Trail: Limited access; some portions of trail closed for improvements

 



Trails & Grounds

The trails and grounds of Crystal Bridges are a must-see part of the Museum experience. More than 3.5 miles of trails wind through the
Museum’s 120-acre site, providing guests with access to the beautiful Ozark landscape. Designed to spark the imagination,
the trails help guests form connections to the land and its history, as well as enjoy outdoor artworks.

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Art Trail

Length: 1/3 mile
Surface: hard surface, walking and biking trail
Difficulty: Moderate slope

More Info

The Art Trail features several outdoor sculptures, an amphitheater, and access to artist James Turrell’s Skyspace structure, The Way of Color. The Art Trail also connects the Museum’s south entrance to the Crystal Bridges Trail. This trail provides access to springs, and features many native plants, including cone flowers, American basket flowers, and black-eyed susans.

View Skyspace Hours Here

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Crystal Spring Trail

Length: 1/3 mile
Surface: hard surface, walking and biking trail
Difficulty: Moderate slope

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The Crystal Spring Trail, accessible from the Museum’s South Lawn, takes visitors to the heart of Crystal Bridges’ grounds: the natural spring from which the Museum derives its name. Crystal Spring bubbles up from the Ozark limestone at the base of a ravine just a short walk from the Museum’s south entrance. The spring produces 100 to 125 gallons of fresh water per minute, at a chill 52 degrees year-round. It has been an important source of water for the area’s human and animal residents for more than 100 years.

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Crystal Bridges Trail

Length: 1 -1/2 miles
Surface: hard surface, walking and biking trail
Difficulty: Moderate slope

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Part of the City of Bentonville Trail System, Crystal Bridges Trail connects the Museum’s south entrance with downtown Bentonville via the Art Trail. The trail begins at NE 3rd street near the Downtown Square, and culminates at NE A Street at the northern edge of the Museum grounds, near the trailheads for Slaughter Pen Hollow. Crystal Bridges Trail features a beautiful walk through Compton Gardens, a mountain bike trail, and an overlook area where guests can view the Museum campus from the ridge above.

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Dogwood Trail

Trail closed for improvements

Length: 1 mile
Surface: soft surface hiking trail
Difficulty: Moderate slope with steps

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Pedestrian friendly, the Dogwood Trail features over 500 dogwood trees that flower during spring. In addition to being the longest trail on Crystal Bridges property, the Dogwood features several natural seating areas carved out of the forest. This trail connects to the Rock Ledge Trail and to the City of Bentonville’s Enfield Trail.


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North Lawn Trail

Length: 1/4 mile
Surface: hard surface, walking and biking trail
Difficulty: Moderate slope

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Enjoy views of the Museum's gallery bridge, as well as up-close encounters with Mark diSuvero's monumental sculpture, Lowell's Ocean, on this trail across the spacious North Lawn.

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Orchard Trail

Length: 1/2 mile
Surface: hard surface, walking and biking trail
Difficulty: Gentle slope

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The Orchard Trail provides access to Crystal Bridges’ main entrance from Orchards Park and NE J Street. The trail features an evergreen forest made up of several species of pine trees as well as Eastern red cedars. This trail connects the Museum’s Additional Parking area with the main entrance, and also connects with the Tulip Tree and Dogwood Trails.

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Rock Ledge Trail

Limited access; some portions of trail closed for improvements

Length: 1/2 mile
Surface: crushed granite hiking trail
Difficulty: Moderate slope

More Info

The Rock Ledge Trail takes its name from the rock bluffs once carved into the hills to make way for a nineteenth-century railroad that was never completed. This soft surface, pedestrian-only trail overlooks several sculptures, the Museum’s north lawn, and the Crystal Bridges Trail below, and features large colonies of serviceberry and wild hydrangeas. Take a moment to rest at the Rock Ledge Shelter and enjoy the native plants and animals you may encounter.

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Tulip Tree Trail

Length: 1/2 mile
Surface: crushed granite hiking trail
Difficulty: Moderate slope with steps

More Info

The Tulip Tree Trail features some of the largest trees on the Crystal Bridges grounds, and includes access to the Tulip Tree Shelter, which was fashioned from a scale mock-up of the Museum’s pine-beamed roof structure that was created during the design phase. Forming a loop from the Tulip Tree Trail, Crystal Spring Trail offers access to the natural spring for which the Museum was named. Tulip Tree Trail also provides access to the Art Trail and the Museum’s south lobby.



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Quartz Crystals

Beside the walkway that runs along the west side of Crystal Bridges’ upper pond is a stone grotto made of boulders, ranging in weight from 3,000 to 10,000 pounds, that are covered in natural quartz crystals. These boulders were excavated from a mine in west central Arkansas, an area that produces some of the largest and clearest quartz crystals in the world.

These quartz crystals were formed deep underground over millions of years. When two of the earth’s tectonic plates slowly collided around 300 million years ago, the pressure caused an uplift that formed the Ouachita Mountains in Arkansas and Oklahoma. As stone was pushed upward, the high pressure and heat allowed these crystals to form in the cracks and hollows deep within the Earth as it cooled.

For many years, quartz crystals were mined for use in radios and watches, because they can be used to transmit frequencies without distortion. In the 1950s, General Electric Co. patented a process for making synthetic crystals, and quartz crystals were no longer in demand for manufacturing. Now they are enjoyed for their beauty, and some people believe they have healing properties.

We invite Museum guests to explore and enjoy this fascinating and beautiful exhibit of some of Earth’s natural artworks. You may touch gently, but please don’t climb on the boulders. Help us preserve these crystals for generations to come.



Eco Box

Eco-boxes are outdoor audio boxes you power yourself with a hand crank. Audio recordings provide information about a range of subjects: from native plants, to local history, to outdoor sculptures. The first Eco-box is installed on the Tulip Tree Trail, near Crystal Spring. Four additional Eco-boxes are scheduled to be installed in the months ahead. Eco-boxes are sponsored by the Coleman Company.

 

Outdoor App

This free app for Apple and Android devices offers interactive trail maps, art and plant guides, and audio-tour information about many of the fascinating features of Crystal Bridges’ grounds. Users may select favorite features to create a personalized tour, and upload and share photos of their own discoveries on the Crystal Bridges trails! 

The Crystal Bridges app is sponsored by Cox Communication.

               


Hydration Station

The Coca-Cola Hydration Station is a covered pavilion located at the Museum’s Additional Parking lot near the Orchards Trail. The Hydration Station will serve as a shelter for Crystal Bridges guests awaiting the museum’s shuttle to the main entrance. It also houses vending machines offering Coca-Cola, Dasani, Powerade and other beverages to refresh thirsty museum guests and those walking the Crystal Bridges trails. Sponsored by Coca-Cola.



Nature Blog

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