Hidden Gems: Knoop Park
Nestled behind the Ozark Point water tower in the quaint community of Hillcrest lies a beautiful location that is unknown or largely ignored by the bulk of Little Rock residents. Stone paths and fresh grass give way to a breathtaking cityscape with a bright backdrop. Though modest in size, both getting there and the view make it more than worthwhile.
Knoop Park was established in the early 1930s as part of the Works Progress Administration project to help bring life to the then-infantile Hillcrest area. Since its founding, it has evolved into a location frequented by not only immediate residents, but also by those living in nearby districts Stifft Station and Capitol View. Sometimes it even attracts visiting out-of-towners, such as Kayla Arkangel from Mountain Home. “Whenever I come back to Little Rock to visit someone, I make a point to go to [Knoop].”
In stark contrast to other parks in the state, Knoop is not particularly geared toward children. There are no swing chains rattling in the wind, and there are no slides or jungle gyms for juvenile horseplay. However, the daytime shyness and seclusion of the park make it the perfect spot for a picnic or nature-oriented field trip. Jogging enthusiasts also take advantage of the surroundings, as the safe and well-constructed trail serves as an ideal location for light exercise and athleticism.
The natural beauty, especially during early evening and nighttime hours, makes the area ideal for meditation and mental calm. One noteworthy spot is a circular courtyard-like structure built atop the hill’s beginning incline, which appears somewhat private and provides an amazing view of the city from Cantrell onward. It is on this path where one will find the aptly named “echo rock,” a point from which you can hear your own voice bouncing off the trees. This area is also appropriate for housing rudimentary chalk drawings and aspiring guitarists, which are slowly becoming more common in Knoop’s endearing atmosphere.
Metropolitan appeal is also a factor in choosing Knoop over other local parks and nature hotspots. Its location in a densely populated area ensures a fair share of visitors, but the typical and sometimes irritating sounds of the city are avoided because of its distance from downtown. The romance and vivacity of the landscape is available to guests without having to journey outside Pulaski County. Because of this, the park is ideal for a reflective after-dinner stroll or as part of an informal first date.
Whether it’s a trip comprising dog-walking, picnics or a mere 20-minute walk, Knoop Park provides the perfect escape from the hectic aspects of everyday life. If anything, listen to the silence. It’s always talking.
Knoop Park is located at 20 Ozark Point in Little Rock and open every day until 10 P.M. Maps and directions can be found at the Little Rock Parks and Recreation website littlerock.org/ParksRecreation.