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Nature & Trails

Crystal Bridges grounds with pond
Forest  Globe Experience

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Forest globes with lights

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.

Trails & Grounds

The trails and grounds of Crystal Bridges are a must-see part of the museum experience. More than five 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.

Download a trail map

Crystal Bridges trails and grounds are open from sunrise to sunset and during museum hours.

Art Trail

Art Trail

Length: 0.5 mile
Surface: Hard surface, walking and biking trail
Difficulty: Moderate slope with incline

The Art Trail connects the museum’s south entrance to the Crystal Bridges Trail, and features a variety of sculptures, native plants, and waterways.

Crystal Spring Trail

Crystal Spring Trail

Length: 0.25 mile
Surface: Crushed granite, hiking trail
Difficulty: Moderate slope with steps

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.

Crystal Bridges Trail

Crystal Bridges Trail

Length: 1 mile
Surface: Hard surface, walking and biking trail
Difficulty: Moderate slope with steep incline

Part of the City of Bentonville Trail System and the Razorback Greenway, Crystal Bridges Trail connects the Art Trail with downtown Bentonville. The trail begins at NE 3rd Street, 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 visitors can view the museum campus from the ridge above.

North Forest Trail - blossoming dogwoods

North Forest Trail

Length: 1.4 miles loop
Surface: Hard surface, walking and biking trail
Difficulty: Moderate slope

The longest trail on Crystal Bridges’ property, the paved North Forest Trail features several outdoor sculptures and hundreds of spring-blooming dogwoods.

North Lawn Trail with Lowel's Ocean

North Lawn Trail

Length: 0.25 mile
Surface: Hard surface, walking and biking trail
Difficulty: Moderate slope

Enjoy views of the museum’s gallery bridge, as well as up-close encounter with Mark di Suvero’s monumental sculpture, Lowell’s Ocean, on this trail across the North Lawn. It connects to the museum’s north entrance with an elevator to the North Forest Trail. Several flights of steps connect to the trail as well.

Orchard Trail

Orchard Trail

Length: 0.5 mile
Surface: Hard surface, walking and biking trail
Difficulty: Gentle slope

The Orchard Trail provides access to Crystal Bridges’ main entrance from Orchards Park and NE J Street. The trail features an evergreen forest with several species of pine trees as well as Eastern red cedars and Buckminster Fuller’s Fly’s Eye Dome.

Rock Ledge Trail

Rock Ledge Trail

Limited access; some portions of the trail are closed.

Length: 0.5 mile
Surface: Crushed granite, hiking trail
Difficulty: Moderate slope with steps

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 pedestrian-only trail features large colonies of serviceberry and wild hydrangeas.

Tulip Tree Trail

Tulip Tree Trail

Length: 0.75 mile
Surface: Crushed granite, hiking trail
Difficulty: Moderate slope with steps

The Tulip Tree Trail features some of the largest trees on the Crystal Bridges grounds and includes the Tulip Tree Shelter, a scale mock-up of the museum’s roof structure created during the design phase. Forming a loop from the Tulip Tree Trail, Crystal Spring Trail features a natural spring that flows from the ground at a cool 50 degrees and feeds into the museum’s ponds.

Plant Guide

 

Learn more about plants on the museum grounds with our online Plant Guide.

Most of the plants at Crystal Bridges are native to our region. Others are cultivars of native species bred to provide a wide variety of bloom, foliage, and color from spring through fall. This searchable guide will provide information on many of the plants blooming at Crystal Bridges, along with tips from museum horticulturalists for using these species in your home garden.

Arkansas 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 Arkansas 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.

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.

Get it on Google play Apple: Available on the App Store

Smartphone with Crystal Bridges outdoor imagery

Eco-Boxes

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.

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 beverages to refresh thirsty museum guests and those walking the Crystal Bridges trails.

Sponsored by

Coca-Cola logo

Hydration Station

Nature & Outdoor Blog Posts

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A comprehensive guide to the fall plants and trees you can see around Crystal Bridges or plant in your home garden in the Ozarks.

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