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Nature & Trails

Crystal Bridges grounds with pond
Due to impacts from the recent severe weather in Northwest Arkansas, some trails and areas of the grounds are closed for your safety.

All trails are will be closed on Tuesdays for ongoing tree and debris clearing.

The following trails are currently open:

  • Art Trail
    • No access from Compton Gardens or Razorback Greenway

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.

In 2024, Crystal Bridges was awarded Level I Accreditation by the ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program. The stunning arboretum at the museum is defined by areas of native, managed forest, flowering and specimen trees, and display gardens well-known for joyful spring displays of dogwoods, redbuds, and magnolias. Crystal Bridges is the only museum in Arkansas that’s also an arboretum.

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.

Crystal Bridges Trails

Bridge over stream with rocky shore

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.

Waterfall on rocky hillside

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.

Trail on steep slope with steps in woodland

East Terrace Switchback

Length:1000 feet
Surface: Hard surface, walking and biking trail
Difficulty: Steep slope with steps

Climb the stairs on the east side of Walker Landing to discover a delightful hidden gem: the museum’s East Terrace and Switchback. Carved out of the ravine face and surrounded by towering trees, the East Terrace features Celeste Roberge’s sculpture Chaise Gabion and a long, zig-zag trail up the steep hillside to the colonnade at the museum’s main entrance. This trail provides a lovely variety of blooms in the spring, including Cherokee Princess dogwoods, Virginia Bluebells, and Sunshine Selections Lenten Rose hellebores, as well as Robyn Horn’s redwood sculpture Already Set in Motion.

blossoming dogwoods in north forest trail

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.

paved path surrounded by green trees and flowering dogwoods

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.

trail with stone steps in woodland with purple flowers

Rock Ledge Trail

Trail is currently 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.

trail with stone staircase in woodland with blossoming flowers

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.

Paved trail along pond with museum building in background

West Walkway

Length: 800 feet
Surface: Hard surface, walking and biking trail
Difficulty: Flat

This paved trail follows the west bank of Town Branch Creek and the museum’s upper pond. The path is lined with American beech trees and Swamp Hibiscus, and features a group of several giant clusters of Arkansas quartz crystals from Avant Mines near Hot Springs, the largest quartz crystal mining operation in the world. Note: there is no access to the museum from this trail.

Connecting Trails

Stone wall and benches in garden area

Crystal Bridges Trail

Portions of the trail are currently closed.

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.

Intersection of paved trails with one leading into forest

Enfield Trail

Length: 0.2 mile
Surface: Hard surface, walking and biking trail
Difficulty: Moderate

This paved trail is part of the Bentonville trail system, and connects with the north ends of the paved Crystal Bridges Trail and the museum’s hard-surface North Forest Trail. To the east, this trail also intersects with NE J Street.

Hard surface trail near J street roundabout

NE J St. Trail

Length: 1.1 mile
Surface: Hard surface, walking and biking trail
Difficulty: Moderate

This street-side paved trail travels from Tiger Boulevard south to NE 2nd Street, and connects with Crystal Bridges’ Orchard Trail. This trail also passes the Amazeum, just north of the entrance to Crystal Bridges grounds at Museum Way.

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

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