Riverside Park is the largest city-managed park, containing over 150 acres of scenic forest and trails. This park is managed primarily in a wilderness style, with only one road running through the forest and several primitive foot, biking, and horse trails. The park land is rimmed with large and tall 100-60 foot cliffs, looking over the beautiful blue-green waters of the Little Red River.
There are many recreational opportunities in the park, including an extensive trail system, a newly constructed playground, overlooks, geocaching, a boat dock, and much more. In the past, this park has been underutilized and unsafe, because it was not patrolled or secured. However, in late 2019, the City of Searcy has redone the park, outfitting it with new playground equipment and trails. The recent influx of citizens and tourists to the area has made the park much safer has been known to be in the past.
The park, in addition to its recreational opportunities, is being explored by local experts on its botanical and ecological properties. The cliffs are made of limestone, so several caves lie on the property, and more have recently been discovered. Because of the limestone composition of the site, there is an ongoing possibility for a more extensive cave system beneath the property. The park protects large tracts of old forest, including some rare fragments of original virgin forest, containing trees upwards of 150 years old. The forest is primarily undisturbed, so native plants grow in abundance, some of them uncommon. The park harbors intact ecosystems that can be hard to find in this part of Arkansas.
In early 2020, the city of Searcy announced plans to expand Riverside Park and create a south entrance. Mayor Kyle Osborne has said that there are plans for "a big public fishing lake with piers on it," and that the additional 50 acres "will provide a new and easier entry into the park". The project has been in the making for over a year, but now with the land purchase, the project should only take "two or three years at the most". Additionally, the project has caught the eye of the Arkansas State Parks, who provided half of the funds needed to purchase the land. Mike Parsons, the Searcy Parks and Recreation Director, said that "The possibilities for outdoor recreation are pretty much endless." We can expect great things to come out of this park in the future. (information sourced from: https://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2020/feb/23/searcy-looking-expand-riverside-park/)
*The park is quite large, but when visiting this park, be careful to not cross the property boundaries because the park is surrounded by sensitive private land. In many places the property boundary is not defined by fences or notices. Use this google map to track and ensure you do not cross these boundaries*