Beaver Lake: Dogwood Overlook Trail – 2 mi

[This post was originally published on April 2, 2011 on “A Hiking We Will Go.”]
Beaver Lake: Dogwood Overlook Trail - 2 mi photo

The Dogwood Overlook Trail is at the Dam Site Lake Park on Beaver Lake, close to Eureka Springs in northwest Arkansas. The hiking trail is only two miles long, but it is a steep two miles and a little more difficult than the length would indicate.We headed out with the dogs today to check it out.

It was a perfect spring day, with blue skies and just a few clouds here and there. Because it was such a short hike, I opted to go without my backpack, thinking we would not be out very long.

The trailhead is at the overlook by Beaver Dam. There is a long flight of stairs going straight up. Buster was headed up the stairs full steam while Katie was resistant to climbing any of the stairs. I handed Katie off to Stuart, and Buster and I started up.

About a third of the way up the stairs, Buster decided that the stairs were not that interesting, so he jumped off to find a different route. Unfortunately, the stairs are there because there isn’t a way up without them. So I dropped the leash and headed back down the stairs, calling him back down the hill.

Beaver Lake: Dogwood Overlook Trail - 2 mi photoWe got to the bottom of the stairs and started back up again. This time he made it about two-thirds of the way before he decided to jump off the stairs and find another way. I was really glad we were able to call to him and get him back on the stairs this time.

After leaving the stairs, the trail heads up slightly to a nice bench and an overlook. We were a couple of weeks early for the dogwood blooms, but the view was nice. We carried on and came to the quarry where the stone for the dam was taken.

It was a little confusing figuring out which way to go next. We followed what looked like an old service road that was going slightly uphill.Beaver Lake: Dogwood Overlook Trail - 2 mi photoBeaver Lake: Dogwood Overlook Trail - 2 mi photoBeaver Lake: Dogwood Overlook Trail - 2 mi photo

As we were headed up the hill, we met two other hikers coming back the other way. (They had also witnessed our previous challenges navigating the stairs.) They said that the trail appeared to just end at the highway. We decided to keep going and check it out.

When we got to the highway, we spotted a trail marker on the other side. So this was our first highway crossing while hiking.

It was a little difficult to see where the trail was, but after some hunting around, we found a marker.

After a bit of hiking, we came to another bench that looked out over the lake. Because of the erosion around the bench, it was quite a ways off the ground. We both took a seat. I felt like a little kid swinging my legs off of the bench.

Beaver Lake: Dogwood Overlook Trail - 2 mi photoBeaver Lake: Dogwood Overlook Trail - 2 mi photo

Beaver Lake: Dogwood Overlook Trail - 2 mi photoFrom here, the trail traveled uphill some more. Some parts were pretty steep. There were some interesting rock formations.

Then we came to a set of steps that led up to one of the longest bluff overhangs I’ve seen. Because of recent rains, there were rivulets of water dripping from the top of the overhang, and the path was a little muddy. But it was such a nice day that it didn’t matter.

From the overhang, there were some nice views of the lake as well since the leaves haven’t come out on the trees yet.

Beaver Lake: Dogwood Overlook Trail - 2 mi photoBeaver Lake: Dogwood Overlook Trail - 2 mi photoBeaver Lake: Dogwood Overlook Trail - 2 mi photoBeaver Lake: Dogwood Overlook Trail - 2 mi photoBeaver Lake: Dogwood Overlook Trail - 2 mi photo

After leaving the overhang, we climbed up some more and came to our second highway crossing. Here, the trail became really hard to follow, and we meandered around for quite a while looking for the trail. Beaver Lake: Dogwood Overlook Trail - 2 mi photoWe started going downhill, and it looked like this trail had not really been used for some time.

At the bottom of the hill, Stuart discovered he had lost his sunglasses. We could have turned back around at that point and tried to find them, but we abandoned them and kept going.

Unfortunately, we missed a trail marker sometime about this point as well. So we circled back around looking for the trail again. Once we found it, we headed out.

It wasn’t too long until we came up to the oldBeaver Lake: Dogwood Overlook Trail - 2 mi photo service road that serves as the remainder of the trail.

Of course, since I’d left my backpack at the car, I did not have a map … or my water. I started thinking that really may not have been such a great idea.

We managed to make it back to the car without further incident, so no one met with an untimely end on the two-mile trail.

I’d like to come back in a couple of weeks when the dogwoods are blooming. Who knows? Maybe we’ll find a pair of sunglasses!

[You can download the official Beaver Lake Hiking Trails brochure here and the official Beaver Lake map here.]

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