Buckeye Trail/E. Caney Creek Trail (Ouachita Forest) – 9 mi

By
"Buckeye Trail/E. Caney Creek Trail (Ouachita Forest)   9 mi" photo
West-facing evening view of Ouachita National Forest from one of the great vistas on the Buckeye Trail (7-13-2013)

This is a challenging 9.4-mile loop hike in the Caney Creek Wilderness of the Ouachita National Forest in Polk County, near Shady Lake. It is composed of the Buckeye Trail and the east part of the Caney Creek Trail.

It’s a tough hike, but it has some great scenic areas and wonderful vistas.

As you can see from the maps below, the hike roughly makes a rectangle with the south side being 3.8 miles of the Caney Creek Trail and the north and (shorter) west sides being the Buckeye Trail.

The east side is a 1.1-mile gravel road walk (Forest Road 64) between the Buckeye trailhead at the northeast corner and the east Caney Creek trailhead at the southeast corner.

"Buckeye Trail/E. Caney Creek Trail (Ouachita Forest)   9 mi" photo
Katy Falls and Katy Creek. It is accessible from a spur near the west end of the Buckeye Trail.

The net elevation change on the hike is about 1100 feet. (On the entire hike, the cumulative elevation gain is about 1970 feet.)

Continue reading

Caney Creek Trail Cascade Video (Ouachita Forest)

By
"Caney Creek Trail Cascade Video (Ouachita Forest)" photo
Cascade on the west part of the Caney Creek Trail, Ouachita National Forest

Back in April, I got to hike the west part of the Caney Creek Trail in the Ouachita National Forest’s Caney Creek Wilderness (Polk County, Arkansas). I hiked it from the west trailhead near the Cossatot River over to the trail’s juncture with the Buckeye Trail, a distance of 5.7 miles, and then back for a total hike of 11.4 miles.

This trail has lots of wet crossings, especially during wetter times like during my April hike. The trail crosses the Cossatot River and then crosses Caney Creek 10 times before reaching the Buckeye Trail juncture. So I had 22 wet crossings on my hike. (By the way, I need to get some decent water shoes.)

It was a very scenic hike. I thought the areas along Caney Creek and the Cossatot River crossing were wonderful. (I hope to get a full trail summary posted soon.)

Alternate video link.

My favorite spot was this cascade or mini-waterfall on Caney Creek. The trail doesn’t cross exactly at this spot, but it is in full view from the trail.

Continue reading

Mount Nebo: Bench Road Trail – 4 mi

By
"Mount Nebo: Bench Road Trail   4 mi" photo
Bench Road Trail at the southeast part of the mountain, Mount Nebo State Park

While not as awesome as the Rim Trail, the Bench Road Trail at Mount Nebo State Park is a pleasant wooded stroll with a number of cool sites.

The trail sits on the natural bench that circles the mountain a few hundred feet below the rim level.

It was built in the 1800’s as a road for residents and visitors to the mountain. It was Bench Boulevard in the 1890’s.

Except for its length, the Bench Road Trail is a pretty easy walk. Including the last quarter-mile walk on the highway, the hike is 3.7 miles.

"Mount Nebo: Bench Road Trail   4 mi" photo
East-facing view from Bench Overlook (panoramic)

Continue reading

Cove Lake/Lookout Window Loop (Ozark Forest) – 4 mi

By
"Cove Lake/Lookout Window Loop (Ozark Forest)   4 mi" photo
Cove Lake north shore line, Cove Lake Trail, Ozark National Forest

Cove Lake is a scenic recreation area in the Magazine District of the Ozark National Forest, near Paris. It has camping, boating, swimming, fishing, and two hiking trails: Cove Lake Trail and Lookout Window Trail. This hike involves both trails.

The first part of the hike is on the Cove Lake Trail. I started at the main trailhead at the northwest corner of the lake. The trailhead parking is right off of Highway 309 on the north side of dam.

"Cove Lake/Lookout Window Loop (Ozark Forest)   4 mi" photo
South-facing vista view from Lookout Window Trail. Flattop Mountain and Mount Magazine are in the distance. Cove Lake is below.

The Cove Lake Trail is a roughly 3-mile trail (the trail part, anyway) that makes nearly a complete loop around the lake. This hike takes a detour from most of the north side of the trail for the Lookout Window Trail.

The trail part of this hike is 3.7 miles. After that there is about .7 miles of road walking to complete the loop for a total of 4.4 miles.

Continue reading