Hideout Hollow is an interesting little trail in the Buffalo River Upper District. It features some beautiful views, and ends in a great bluff and waterfall area. While this isn’t one of the more popular Buffalo River trails, there’s definitely a lot to see and enjoy on this short trail.
Getting to Hideout Hollow Trail
The trail starts at the Shermerhorn Trailhead in the Compton area. To get there, go to the community of Compton, about 5 miles north of Ponca on Highway 43. Turn onto the dirt road at the Compton Trailhead sign. (This road is County Road 19. If you have a four-wheel drive, it will eventually lead to Erbie. You won’t need a four-wheel drive to get to this trailhead though.)
You will come to a sign directing you to the right for the Compton Trailhead. Keep going straight.
At about 3.5 miles from the highway (the road will narrow, so it will seem longer), you will see a “Shermerhorn trailhead” sign on your left. Park in the parking area.
The trail begins behind the sign.
The Hideout Hollow Trail
The first part of the trail isn’t terribly scenic. It heads downhill a bit (the trail is pretty rocky here), and it crosses a couple of small, mostly dry, streams.
It heads back uphill and then through a group of pine trees.
At about 3/4 of a mile, the trail begins to get really interesting.
At this point, you’ll pass a large flat rock with several other neat rocks around.
The trail then heads down the hill. In about 35 yards, you reach the top of the bluff line.
The trail continues on to your left, but there are several volunteer trails to your right. Feel free to explore along these volunteer trails as they follow the bluff line to a lot of neat rock features and excellent views.
From here on out, be very careful. It would be a long fall down.
Back on the trail, it stays near the bluff line for a few hundred yards until crossing a small stream. The stream tumbles over the edge of the bluff creating Hideout Hollow Falls. The waterfall is 37 feet tall.
So at this point, you have a couple of options.
The first is to follow the bluff line around to the other side of the Hollow. The trail here is a volunteer trail, but it is very easy to follow. It crosses over some rocks and up a hill.
At the top of the hill is a spectacular view of the Cecil Creek Valley.
Also, if you look down, you’ll see a couple of huge boulders that were once part of the bluff.
Getting to the Bottom of Hideout Hollow Falls
Once you take in the full view of the waterfall, you may wonder how to get down to the bottom of the falls.
Going to the bottom of the waterfall is a challenge and not a part of a sanctioned trail, so you would be doing it at your own risk.
Here’s how you would get down there if you wanted to try it. Go back to the top of the falls. If you look out over the falls, you will see a ledge on your left. Follow this ledge out.
The ledge is fairly wide, but it has an overhang. So the two options here are to crawl on your hands and knees, or be on the very edge close to the ledge.
Follow this for about 40 yards or so.
At the end of the ledge, there are some rocks that have been stacked up to make some “stairs” that you can climb down. Again, be very careful.
Once at the bottom, there are a lot of interesting things to see. The highlight, of course, is the waterfall itself.
If you then follow the bluff line to the opposite side of where you came down, there are the remains of an old dwelling. This spot is pretty cool. This wouldn’t have been a bad place to live!
Take your time and explore; then head back to the trailhead the way you came in.
This is a great little hike with a lot of scenic views, rock formations, and a waterfall. There’s a little something for everyone.
Date Hiked: October 1, 2013
Distance: 2 miles round trip (plus some exploring once you get to the hollow).
Trail Guide: Tim Ernst’s Buffalo River Hiking Trails
Footwear: Hiking boots — the beginning of the trail is hard on the ankles without them
Click here or below for full-screen photo gallery.
[This post was originally published on November 1, 2013 on the blog “Exploring Northwest Arkansas.”]