Saturday, May 18, 2024

Pinnacle Mountain Infinity Loop

Trip Info:
Pinnacle Mountain State Park West Trail, East Trail, Base Trail
Trailhead Elevation: 251 ft.
Summit Elevation: 1,011 ft.
Distance: 5.29 mi. 
Elevation Gain: 1,811 ft.
Start Time: 7:19am
End Time: 9:05am

Trip Report:
The Infinity Loop is a coined phrase typically applied to a special kind of route on volcanoes in the Pacific Northwest and around the world. It involves hiking to the summit from one side of the mountain and then down the opposite side to the base, then making a complete circumnavigation of the mountain starting and stopping at the same base, and finally completing the route by going back up and over the mountain to the place where you started. The route mimics the shape of the infinity symbol which looks like a figure eight.

Summit Views
Pinnacle Mountain just outside of Little Rock, Arkansas has the trails to make a perfect infinity loop route so I told my brother David we should try it sometime. Its worth noting doing an infinity loop on Pinnacle is almost, with slight hyperbole, infinitely easier than doing one on a large volcano like Mount Rainier. Such a route on Rainier could take multiple days and encounter glacial and rock fall danger all along the way. While our route on Pinnacle was completed in under 2 hours and could easily be done quicker.

Nonetheless, we wanted to have our fun and bring an infinity loop route to Arkansas. We set out from the West Summit Trailhead which is the most popular place in the park and headed up to the summit. We made our initial ascent in 17 minutes and we were moving at a pretty brisk speed by our standards. We then descended down the much steeper and more rocky east side until we met the Base Trail. Its worth noting we didn't quite go all the way out to the East Trailhead and parking, we only went as far as the junction with the Base Trail.

We trail ran the Base Trail which was about 2.8 miles for us. We were definitely not pushing the pace or looking to set any speed records here. We were keeping it an easy 11/12 minute/mile pace. Once we reached the junction with the East trail we headed up again, rinse and repeat.

Our total time was 1:46:16. I think on a day when we made this our sole effort and really push the pace we could shave 20-30 minutes off. All in all, it was fun exploring the mountain in this way and trying something new. We had done the standard routes by themselves many time over and this was something different to go with.

I have a track and waypoints from the activity all contained in the embedded Google Map. Check it out and use at your own risk.

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