Bella Vista: Tanyard Creek Nature Trail

[This post was originally published February 9, 2011 on “A hiking we will go…”]

I have been remiss in my blogging and have been admonished for my digression.  Indeed, there was a hike last weekend, but I did not manage to get anything written until today.  We have had an incredible amount of snowfall in the last week. In fact today, we are snowed in once again, but Mother Nature allowed us a brief reprieve over the weekend, and we scooted down the road to Tanyard Creek Nature Trail here in Bella Vista.

The Tanyard Creek Nature Trail in Bella Vista is inside the city limits and was built and is maintained by volunteers.  It’s one of my favorite places to go because of the great scenery and all of the informational signs posted. I can spend hours wandering around.

The trail is about a mile west of Highway 71 on Lancashire Boulevard/Highway 340.  Doggies are welcome.

The trail goes over a bridge and to a limestone bluff with some interesting notes about the bluff and the history of the area. It follows the stream for a way then crosses another bridge.  There are really interesting bluffs along this walk and the ice formations on them were awesome.  There were tons of birds out during our hike, which were even easier to spot because it was so snowy.  A Blue Heron flew right in front of us, successfully evading the great hunter, Buster.

We spotted him again later on our hike and it is such a big bird and so graceful that it’s really a site to see.  I only wish I could have snapped a picture of him, but someday I will be ready and in the right place at the right time.  We also saw lots of bluebirds, sparrows, cardinals and the other usual suspects.

Eventually, you head up a hill and to the Tanyard Creek Falls, which is a sight to see.  It is not a huge waterfall, but worth the trip up the hill. There is an overlook where you can see the waterfall and get some good pictures.  Down from the waterfall, there is another bridge crossing that has a nice view of the stream cascading down the stones. There is a little side path that we took that has a bench and overlooks the rapids.

After our trip to view the creek, we went up through the more historical part of the park.  The trail follows an old road bed and passes by the foundation of two homes that long ago have succumbed to the forest.

We decided to hike further on to the bluff that was once an Indian shelter.  The remains of a rock fence remains.  Looking down at the creek, we saw a beaver dam.  We also figured out where the sounds we had heard were coming from.  Since there were no leaves on the trees, we could see past the treeline to the neighboring golf course, and there were lots of sledders out taking advantage of the warm(er) day and the snowy hillside.  Buster and Katie were far too interested in running out to meet the kids and join the fun, so we had to convince them to turn around.

Back down the trail, we crossed a suspension bridge. (The cautionary signs warns that there should be no excessive jumping on the bridge…which leads me to wonder, how much jumping do you have to do on a suspension bridge for it to be considered excessive?).  The trail meanders back to the trail head from here, following along the river and offering some good views of rock formations on the hillside.

We also saw a flock of ducks take off from the creek while we were walking back (if it quacks like a duck, it must be!).  Several times we saw Canadian Geese flying overhead which is not a rare sight in Bella Vista given the huge population of them. The ducks were a nice surprise.

What do you think? (Leave a comment.)