Lake Leatherwood: Beacham Trail – 3 mi

Lake Leatherwood: Beacham Trail - 3 mi photo
Lake Leatherwood Dam. The Beacham Trail crosses the dam.

I love Lake Leatherwood (Eureka Springs, Carroll County). It’s a 1,600-acre municipal park that’s mostly wilderness. It has lots of great hiking and biking trails. It’s owned and run by the City of Eureka Springs.

The Beacham Trail makes a 3.2-mile loop around the lake. It has some mild climbing, but it’s not a difficult hike.

The trail has some very nice views of the lake, particularly on the north side where the trail crosses the top of the dam.

Lake Leatherwood: Beacham Trail - 3 mi photo
Beacham Trail, Lake Leatherwood Park

Getting to the Beacham Trail at Lake Leatherwood

To get to the Lake Leatherwood Park, take Highway 62 to Eureka Springs. The sign for the park is visible from the highway. It is on the north side of the highway in Eureka Springs, about 3 miles west of the intersection with Highway 23. It is just west of Thorncrown Chapel.

Follow the signs and head down the main road (County Road 204) to Lake Leatherwood. Shortly before you reach the lake, the Beacham Trailhead (with parking) will be on your left.

You can get Google Maps directions from your location to the Beacham Trailhead at this link.

CLICK – Google Maps Directions to Beacham Trailhead

 

Lake Leatherwood: Beacham Trail - 3 mi photo
Main trailhead for Beacham Trail, Lake Leatherwood Park
The Hike

The Beacham Trailhead is well marked and has parking. The trail has yellow blazes.

The trail makes a clockwise loop around the lake starting on the west side.

The best parts of the trail are coming up. The first mile is basically a pretty wooded walk on a gravel road. This part of the hike is several hundred feet from the lake so you can’t really see the lake during leaf-on. (You can get some views of the lake if you go on the Fuller Trail instead on this part of the loop. It’s a shorter trail that runs along the west shoreline.)

Lake Leatherwood: Beacham Trail - 3 mi photo
Beacham Trail on the west side of the lake

At around 1 mile, the trail makes a sharp right turn and descends down to Lake Leatherwood Dam. The trail goes across the top of the  600-foot-wide dam. This is probably the coolest part of the hike.

Lake Leatherwood Dam dam was built by the CCC in the 1930s. It was built from nearby limestone. Walking across this old dam is cool and there are some great views of the lake here.

It’s also neat to look at the spillway water behind the dam that flows back into Leatherwood Creek.

After crossing the dam, the trail makes another right turn and begins heading down the east side of the lake.

Lake Leatherwood: Beacham Trail - 3 mi photo
Beacham Trail

Shortly after crossing the dam, the trails comes to a flat, open, rocky area. This is the quarry from which the dam’s stones were cut. This is an interesting area, both for its history and for the visual contrast with the rest of the hike.

The part of the Beacham Trail along the lake’s east side is more scenic than the west side. It is a traditional trail rather than a gravel road.

The trail on the east side is often quite a bit closer to the lake. There are a number of cool views of the lake on this side, even during leaf-on.

Lake Leatherwood: Beacham Trail - 3 mi photo
Lake Leatherwood, viewed from the dam (panoramic)

Even though the elevation difference on the hike is only 110 feet, the cumulative elevation gain (due to up-and-down climbing) is about 511 feet.

There is a bit of climbing in places on the trail and enough topography to keep it interesting, but it’s not a difficult trial.

There are a number of trails at Lake Leatherwood. (Check out pdf map here.) You’ll see a number of signs for the intersecting trails while on Beacham Trail.

Lake Leatherwood: Beacham Trail - 3 mi photo
Northeast part of Lake Leatherwood, from the dam

When the trail is making its trek around the south end of the lake, it crosses Leatherwood Creek (and some other streams). During high water times, it can be challenging to make a dry crossing through this low-lying area, even with the footbridges that are there.

The Beacham Trail comes to an end at the south part of the west side of the lake next to the campground. From here, it’s about a .2-mile walk to the north back to the main trailhead.

Including this last part, the whole walk is about 3.4 miles.

Lake Leatherwood: Beacham Trail - 3 mi photo
Quarry area, Beacham Trail
Final Notes

When I was there, it was easy to follow (yellow blazes on most of the trail) and there was often good signage. This is a pretty frequently travelled trail. I found it easy to follow.

Overall, I had about AT&T cell coverage about 40% of the time.

Check out Shelley’s visit to the Beacham Trail in this post.

These pictures are all from my August 29, 2016 hike. See this post for more pics from that hike.

Lake Leatherwood: Beacham Trail - 3 mi photo
Quarry, Beacham Trail
Lake Leatherwood: Beacham Trail - 3 mi photo
Beacham Trail, Lake Leatherwood Park
Lake Leatherwood: Beacham Trail - 3 mi photo
Beacham Trail, east side of the lake
Lake Leatherwood: Beacham Trail - 3 mi photo
Beacham Trail (you can see the lake through the trees to the right)
Lake Leatherwood: Beacham Trail - 3 mi photo
Beacham Trail where it joins the Hyde Hollow Trail
Lake Leatherwood: Beacham Trail - 3 mi photo
Trail junction around the south side of the lake
Lake Leatherwood: Beacham Trail - 3 mi photo
The south trailhead for Beacham Trail
Photo  Gallery

Click below for full-screen photo gallery.

Maps
Lake Leatherwood: Beacham Trail - 3 mi photo
Lake Leatherwood: Beacham Trail Contour Map (Click to Enlarge)
CLICK – Interactive Trail Map

 

Lake Leatherwood: Beacham Trail - 3 mi photo
Elevation profile based on approximate gps data.

Lake Leatherwood: Beacham Trail

LocationLake Leatherwood Park, Eureka Springs, Carroll County, Arkansas
Length/Type3.2 mile loop (3.4 miles to make it back to the trailhead)
DifficultyModerate (3 of 5)
Gpx file by MikeGpx file link
Date HikedAugust 29, 2015 (and earlier)
DirectionsGoogle Maps Directions to Beacham Trailhead
Official Info(479) 253-7921 Website Park Trail Map (pdf)

[Updated: 4-8-2017]

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