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Wilson Springs Preserve 

County: Washington 

Size: 121 Acres 

Date Conserved: 2012 

Trail Miles: 2, easy 

Open to the Public but closed February through March each year 

Highway 112 and N. Shiloh Dr in Fayetteville, AR (Sam’s Club Parking Lot) 

Wilson Springs Preserve is a 121-acre wet prairie remnant in north Fayetteville. Part of a historic 1600-acre prairie which is now mostly developed, the preserve is the largest permanently protected prairie remnant in Fayetteville and one of the largest wetland habitats in the region.  


Northwest Arkansas Land Trust has worked since 2013 to restore the preserve to a more historic state, opening tree canopy, removing invasive plant species, and fostering native grasses, wildflowers, and wildlife. The preserve is home to one of the rarest fish species in the state, the Arkansas Darter, which was first discovered in the state in 1979 in a spring on adjacent property.  The preserve is named for Steve Wilson, the biologist who first discovered the fish there. 


There are approximately 2 miles of walking trails. Because of its unique habitat types, the preserve is very wet during early spring and is closed February through March each year. The trails take visitors through a matrix of habitat types including oak savanna, tallgrass prairie, and wetlands. 


Because of the sensitivity of these habitats, no dogs are allowed in the preserve. Visitors may park at Sam’s Club and access the main trail head on the south side of the parking lot. 

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  • Open dawn to dusk, April through January. 

  • Enter at your own risk. 

  • In case of emergency, dial 911. 

  • Foot traffic only; no bikes or motorized vehicles. 

  • No dogs; sensitive wildlife area. 

  • Stay on designated trails only. 

  • Do not feed or disturb wildlife. 

  • No collecting of plants, flowers or other natural elements. 

  • Unauthorized fishing and trapping prohibited. 

  • Hunting prohibited by municipal law. 

  • No camping or campfires. 

  • Pack out what you pack in; leave no trace. 


  • Birds- Wilson Springs has nearly 200 species of birds and is a top 10 Washington County Hotspot on eBird.  Spring migration is fantastic, and thousands of ducks and waterfowl arrive in December each year. 

  • Native plants- There are more than 300 species of native plants. Spring is a great time for ephemerals in the savanna along Hardimero and Savanna Loop trails. Late summer is an excellent time to see milkweeds in bloom and acres of blooming bidens, wingstem, and ironweed. 

  • Wildlife- Wilson Springs Preserve is home to beavers, otters, raccoons, bobcats, and white-tail deer. 

  • Artwork- Wilson Springs Preserve has 4 permanent art installations created and installed by local artists which highlight different aspects of the preserve. 

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