Fuzzybutt Falls (southwest Searcy County, Ozark National Forest) is a waterfall that I’ve always heard about (mostly because of the name) but had no idea what a great, easy hike it is to get to with a lot of bang for your buck along the way.
The hike, most of which is in the Richland Creek Wilderness, takes you by three waterfalls, follows along Falling Water Creek (one of my favorites) and ends at a great canyon with a uniquely named 16-foot waterfall that will definitely create a memorable experience.
Take Highway 7 to the community of Pelsor (halfway between Jasper and Dover) and turn east onto Highway 16. Travel 10 miles on Highway 16 (past the Pedestal Rocks Special Interest Area and the community of Ben Hur) and then turn left onto Forest Road 1205.
There is currently no road sign here, but there are signs for “Falling Water Horse Camp.” So turn at the road toward the horse camp.
Travel 5.3 miles down this gravel road, and it will cross a bridge over Falling Water Creek. (At 2.3 miles, you will pass Falling Water Falls.) Cross the bridge and park in the parking area on the other side.
For approximate Google Maps directions from your location to the parking area, see this link.
After parking, cross back over the bridge and enter into the woods on a horse trail on the west side of the creek. The horse trail is marked with green blazes (at least, the early part of the trail is).
The trail takes off to the right and into the woods. The trail follows along the creek for a bit. At a little past .2, the trail enters the Richland Creek Wilderness.
At about .4 miles, the trail crosses a smaller creek and a small waterfall. If you bushwhack up this creek to the left, you will eventually get to Horsetail Falls. It’s not a far hike, but a challenging bushwhack. To the right is a little spur trail that takes you to a nice spot to check out Falling Water Creek.
Back on the main trail, cross over the small creek and continue up the hill on the horse trail. The trail levels out a bit, and then it goes back up the hill a little more steeply and veers further away from Falling Water Creek.
The trail then goes back down the hill and toward the creek. At approximately 1 mile, some bluffs will appear on your left. Fuzzybutt Falls is in this canyon.
To get to Fuzzybutt Falls, follow the stream into the canyon about 200 yards in. It’s an easy hike. Then the falls is right there.
Fuzzybutt Falls is 16 feet tall. While not as tall as many other waterfalls, it is particularly photogenic, and the canyon itself is a fantastic setting that gives you the feeling of being in a world all to yourself.
Plan to spend a little time and enjoy the falls and the canyon.
You may wonder about the unusual name of Fuzzybutt Falls. Tim Ernst, who is responsible for a lot of the modern-day exploring and documenting of the area (and whose trail guides are a must for any Arkansas hiker), named many of the waterfalls in the area.
Ernst usually takes a picture of himself at the falls (for perspective) and decided on a cold day to take a picture of his backside at the falls. Because the National Park Service labeled the photo “obscene” his butt was blurred out of the pic. Thus the name of the falls.
Apparently, a lot of people replicate his photo at the falls. It was cold on my hike, and I’m a fan of pants, so I just took one of me in my full gear. (See pic at top.)
When you are done exploring, it is time to head back.
You’ll notice on the way back that as the trail turns to the right and back up the hill there is a little spur trail on the left that heads to Falling Water Creek. Be sure to take this spur, as it leads in about 100 yards to Six Finger Falls.
Six Finger Falls is a great waterfall along Falling Water Creek that is made up of six smaller waterfalls as they flow through different cracks in the rocks. It really is a unique waterfall. (During high water, the falls can become just one large waterfall)
I had viewed the falls from the east side before, but this was my first time viewing it from the west side.
You are now ready to head back to the main trail and make the one-mile trek to your car along the horse trail.
This really is a magnificent area and worth spending a day or three at. In addition to Fuzzybutt Falls, Six Finger Falls, and Falling Water Falls, there are several other waterfalls in the area including Horsetail Falls (noted above), Intersection Falls, and Keefe Falls on the opposite side of the creek.
The distance for this hike round trip is about 2 miles. I consider it an easy hike.
For footwear, I recommend trail shoes or tennis shoes.
Tim Ernst mentions this falls in his Arkansas Waterfalls guidebook.
These photos are all from my December 31, 2014 hike.
Click below for full-screen photo gallery.
[A version of this post was originally published on January 1, 2015 in the blog “Exploring Northwest Arkansas.”]