Devil’s Den: Yellow Rock Trail – 3 mi

Devil's Den: Yellow Rock Trail - 3 mi photo
Yellow Rock bluff overlook (panoramic)

Yellow Rock Trail at Devil’s Den State Park (southern Washington County, Arkansas) is one of my favorite trails. This 3.1-mile semi-loop hike has beautiful views and wonderfully interesting and scenic rocks formations.

The trail is a semi-loop with two major spurs. The opening half-mile spur connects then to a largely triangular-shaped loop.

At the west end of the loop, there is a .3-mile spur over to the CCC Overlook. Including travelling both spurs, the hike length is 3.1 miles.

It’s a moderately challenging hike with some significant climbing and an elevation change of about 400 feet.

For my money, the highlights of the hike are: (1) the Yellow Rock bluff; (2) the CCC Overlook; and (3) the cool rock formations in the initial spur.

Devil's Den: Yellow Rock Trail - 3 mi photo
Overhanging rock along the uphill part of the Yellow Rock Trail, Devil’s Den State Park

Getting There

For most people (coming from north or south), to get to Devil’s Den State Park, take I-49 to Exit 45 (Winslow exit). Head west on Highway 74. At about 7 miles, the highway heads into the park.

Continue through the park until you cross the bridge over Lee Creek. Take the first right turn after the bridge.

The marked trailhead is about a tenth-mile on this road. There is parking on the right.

CLICK – Google Maps Directions to Iron Springs Rec Area

 

Devil's Den: Yellow Rock Trail - 3 mi photo
Rock formation near beginning of Yellow Rock Trail
The Hike

The trailhead is almost right next to a parking area.

The first .4 miles of the trail is my second favorite part of the hike. In the first area, there are some cool large boulders, apparently which had fallen from the bluffs up above.

In one stretch, there is a giant rock slab on the right. Then the trail heads over to the base of a large rocky bluff where the trail hugs a wall of rock with interesting protruding rocks.

Devil's Den: Yellow Rock Trail - 3 mi photo
Huge block formation on the lower level of the trail.

The trail then turns into a fairly steep uphill switchback area. Near the top of the switchback area are a couple of very nice vista areas.

Note of caution: As always, be very careful around bluffs because of the risk of a dangerous or fatal fall. There are no rails on this trail.

At about .5, you arrive at the loop. (Sometimes there is a sign here, but there was not on my last hike.) I usually take a right here to take the loop counterclockwise. This is also the direction toward the Yellow Rock bluff. (Some people just hike to the bluff and then back.)

Devil's Den: Yellow Rock Trail - 3 mi photo
Giant block on lower level of trail.

At about .8, there is a large scenic stream bed. Of course, it most attractive during wet times with water flowing, but this area with its cool rocks is an enjoyable sight any time of year.

At about .9, the trail reaches the Yellow Rock bluff. (There’s actually a spot a little ways earlier where you can see the bluff from a distance.) This is a wonderful and large bluff overlook. There are great views of the Ozark Mountains and Lee Creek Valley.

If you have children with you, be sure they do not get to close to the edge of the bluff. Again, there are no railings here. A fall would likely result in serious injury or death.

After the bluff, the trail continues on heading uphill. At around 1 mile, there is a cool stone staircase. In this area, the trail turns and starts heading west for a little while and then turns heads mostly south.

Devil's Den: Yellow Rock Trail - 3 mi photo
Awesome rock formations as the trail works its way uphill.

There is another crossing of that stream at around 1.3 miles (same stream as we crossed earlier below).

At around 1.7, after descending a set of stone stairs, the trails hits another fork. (No sign when I was last there.) Here, you would turn left to continue the loop or turn right to go to the CCC Overlook. I recommend taking the .3-mile spur to the overlook. There are several wooden footbridges along this spur.

The CCC Overlook is a cool spot. (It is also accessible via Highway 170.) The pavilion here was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. It was renovated in 2000. There also is a cool east-facing vista here facing the park.

Devil's Den: Yellow Rock Trail - 3 mi photo
Uphill climb on Yellow Rock Trail.

After seeing the overlook, turn around and head back down the spur until you reach the loop again. Turn right to continue on the loop.

From here, the trail heads northeast back toward the initial fork. This stretch largely follows a ridge line. During leaf-off there are a number of views through this area, but there are not many when the leaves are out.

When you get back to the fork, turn right to head down the mountain and return to the trailhead.

Devil's Den: Yellow Rock Trail - 3 mi photo
Vista on the climb up to the higher part of the trail
Final Notes

I had about 60% AT&T cell coverage. The coverage was all in the higher elevation areas.

The trail was in very good condition as usual. This is a frequently travelled trail with white blazes.

Devil's Den: Yellow Rock Trail - 3 mi photo
Uphill climb to the higher area of the trail.

These photos are all from my recent hikes on June 25 and September 3, 2016.

Devil's Den: Yellow Rock Trail - 3 mi photo
Yellow Rock bluff as seen from the trail a little bit to the south of the bluff.
Devil's Den: Yellow Rock Trail - 3 mi photo
Big rocks in stream area prior to Yellow Rock bluff
Devil's Den: Yellow Rock Trail - 3 mi photo
Yellow Rock overlook
Devil's Den: Yellow Rock Trail - 3 mi photo
Stone steps, just a little ways past the Yellow Rock Bluff at north part of the loop.
Devil's Den: Yellow Rock Trail - 3 mi photo
Dry stream area along the northwest part of the loop
Devil's Den: Yellow Rock Trail - 3 mi photo
CCC Overlook Shelter
Devil's Den: Yellow Rock Trail - 3 mi photo
View from the CCC Overlook
Devil's Den: Yellow Rock Trail - 3 mi photo
Yellow Rock Trail on the south part of the loop.
Devil's Den: Yellow Rock Trail - 3 mi photo
Yellow Rock Trail, Devil’s Den State Park
Photo Gallery

Click below for full-screen photo gallery.

Maps
Devil's Den: Yellow Rock Trail - 3 mi photo
Devil’s Den Yellow Rock Trail – Contour Map (Click to Enlarge)
CLICK – Interactive Trail Map

 

Devil's Den: Yellow Rock Trail - 3 mi photo
Approximate elevation profile based on gps data.

Devil's Den: Yellow Rock Trail

LocationDevil's Den State Park, Washington County, Arkansas
Length/Type3.1 mile hike; semi-loop
DifficultyModerate (3 of 5)
Gpx file by MikeLink
Date HikedJune 25 and September 3, 2016 (and earlier)
DirectionsGoogle Maps Directions to Iron Springs Rec Area
Official Info (Links)(479) 761-3325 Website Trail Map Flyer (pdf)

[Last updated: 4-4-2017]

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