The entire Pea Ridge National Military Park is one of our favorite places to visit. At the time of this publication, the park’s visitors center is closed due to Covid-19. The park charges $10 per individual, $20 per car, $15 per motorcycle, or a $35 annual pass.
Williams Hollow Loop is 2.2 mile hike in Pea Ridge National Military Park. You drive to the main entrance of the park, when it is open you stop at the visitor’s center to pay to enter, & then you drive to STOP 8 on the driving loop. You will see an old tavern, walk directly beyond the tavern, & you will see a trail at the bottom of a small hill. You will finish the loop by coming out in front of the tavern.
Like I mentioned, the loop features Elkhorn Tavern, which was many things in it’s time has a rich history, but for the purposes of the war it was a medical hospital & it was one of the general’s quarters for time. There is a creek crossing, several signs with historical information, & we discovered a ton of little critters on our hike. We especially loved the four, fearless armadillos who came to say hello while we were hiking!
Word to the wise: If you are going on this trail in the warmer months, SPRAY SPRAY SPRAY with bug repellent. The grass fields are overgrown & some of the trail is covered in high grass (this could be because of the Covid-19 closures. I’m not sure how the trail is maintained during a more normal time.) We sprayed really well & didn’t have any issue. And we did a major tick check when we got home!
If you’re curious to see more of the park, one of our favorite stops is marker 1 which is the Trail of Tears. Being able to teach my kids about the history of the Native Americans by physically being in that space, telling them how these tribes had to give up their entire way of life & their homes by the United States Federal government is important to me. It stays with you in a way reading it in a textbook never could.
Pea Ridge Battlefield was also a major victory for the federal government in the Civil War. There have been several times when my kids & I have been able to have meaningful conversations about the history of the civil war, slavery, the civil rights movement, & current racial issues. Learning about those topics while hiking through fields where soldiers fought on the issue of slavery is so important.
I’d recommend this trail to anyone who is wanting a shorter hike, a lot of fun history, & doesn’t mind paying the fee to get in once the park reopens. I think it’s worth the $20 or for us maybe even the annual pass!