Our Great Outdoors

Independence County offers an abundance of options for the most seasoned outdoorsmen, as well as for folks from the big city looking to get back in touch with nature. Whether interested in fishing and boating, cycling, hiking, climbing, or a picnic in a scenic public park, visitors will find just what they are looking for in Batesville and the neighboring communities. The lush surroundings of Independence County beckon locals to explore and enjoy the stunning natural region just beyond their own backyards.

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The White River running east to west through the county, plays a central role in the area’s outdoor adventures. Though certainly a big river, size is not all that distinguishes the large waterway. The White stands out as one of the most fertile rivers in the nation and is home to trout, walleye, large and smallmouth bass, spotted bass, and a host of panfish and catfish species. Several record-breaking brown and rainbow trout have been hooked on the upper White, which supports a phenomenal fish population all along its length. While fishing can be enjoyed most times of the year, there is also a plethora of sloughs and inlets that provide excellent catches during spawning season and times of high current on the main river. In addition to angling, the White River, Polk Bayou, and other waterways provide boating options. These local waterways mean ample opportunities for visitors to enjoy themselves outdoors, whether by a relaxing float down the bayou, a boat race, or a little downtime on Batesville’s shores.

There is no shortage of cycling options for those preferring to explore the county on two wheels. The Batesville-Ozark loop is a top-rated route in the state, and beautiful rolling hills are the hallmark of the 21-mile route. Wide shoulders and light traffic make it a popular ride for pros and amateurs. Lyon College also offers over five miles of mountain bike trails, which are open to the public from dawn to dusk. The Lyon trail system includes a beginner route that runs throughout the campus. Intermediate and advanced trails, featuring ramps and bridges run along the length of the bluff on the north edge of campus. Additionally, Lyon offers a full 18-hole disc golf course.


A multi-use trail known as the Batesville Greenway was constructed for running, walking, cycling and all other forms ofnon-motorized transportation. Currently, the eight-foot-wide trail begins at the Batesville Community Center and leads further south to Riverside Park. Upon reaching Riverside Park, pedestrians can connect to the river walk or continue east along the Greenway, past the Municipal Golf Course, and end at Batesville High School. Future development of the Greenway will take users to either Eagle Mountain Magnet or onto the Soccer and Terry Sims Diamond Sports Complexes.

South of Batesville, Jamestown Crag is one the largest exposed areas of Atoka sandstone in the region. It is also easily the best sport climbing location in Northeast Arkansas. The most popular rock climbing spots in the state are in the northwest corner, making Jamestown a unique and impressive feature of the county. The Crag features more than 100 bolted routed, as well as chicken head holds and other styles of climbing know to Arkansans. The tallest route on the rock is 90 feet, and routes range in difficulty from 5.5 to 5.13. Each year in October, the owners hold a climbing competition called King of the Crag to raise funds to preserve the area and grow climbing options. Beyond climbing, Jamestown Crag provides breathtaking views, paths, camping, and a waterfall for visitors.

Riverside Park, located alongside the beautiful White River, is the most visited park in Independence County. The City of Batesville maintains the park year round, so gather up the extended family (the fun ones anyway) and make it a day long field trip! The first of two playgrounds was designed to encourage imagination, exploration, and discovery for almost any age. A large, adjacentgreen space allows for kickball, soccer, football, etc., while the vibrant colors of the playground will instantly plant a smile on even the fussiest toddler. A separate, shaded playground accommodates children ages 3 and up. Here, kids can enjoy a historic train engine repurposed as part of the playground and worked in to enhance the scenery and sense of exploration. Kennedy Park is located in Batesville on the south side of the White River. The park is especially great during the late spring, summer, and early fall months. The playground situated under a grove of trees with breezy vistas of the river below is perfect on sunny days. The park features a boat ramp and pavilion. After a full day at the park, exploring near the dam and sand bar, unload your boat and watch the sunset from the bluff or water’s edge.  

Independence County supplies citizens with a variety of ways to experience the great outdoors. In addition to waterways, trail systems, and large parks, the county features play spots at area schools and at the updated soccer and baseball complexes. Locals of any every can enjoy strolling Main Street and stopping by the smaller Pocket and Maxfield parks along that route. The city continues to expand pathways for walking, running, and biking throughout the area, as well as incorporating plans for more diverse, future outdoor experiences. Batesville recently received awards in both wellness and environmental efforts in part due to these initiatives. The community has no plans to slow down on moving forward with further improvements to quality of life for residents.

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