Glory Hole Falls Trail (Ozark Forest) – 2 mi (o&b)

Glory Hole Falls Trail (Ozark Forest) - 2 mi (o&b) photo
Glory Hole Falls

Glory Hole Falls is one of the most unique waterfalls in the Ozarks. The waterfall is formed by a stream that flows through the ceiling of an overhang cave.

When the water is really flowing, the hike to it adds to the spectacular appeal of this short trail.

Glory Hole Falls Trail (Ozark Forest) - 2 mi (o&b) photo
Volunteer waterfalls along the trail to Glory Hole Falls,  Ozark National Forest
Getting to Glory Hole Falls Trail

The Glory Hole Falls trail is in Newton County in the Big Piney District of the Ozark National Forest.

This is a well-maintained trail, much of it following along old jeep roads. However, there is no official trailhead and no official parking area.

The trailhead is off of Highway 16, about 5.7 miles east of Fallsville. The trailhead is about .5 miles east of a red barn on the north side of the road with a large white “E” on its side. The trail is on the right (south) side of the road.

You should notice a dirt patch on the side of the road which is used as an unmaintained parking area.

Very recently, someone put a small wooden sign on a tree that says “Glory Hole,” but I’m not sure I’d count on that for finding the location. Rely on the trip odometer instead.

Glory Hole Falls Trail (Ozark Forest) - 2 mi (o&b) photo
Cascades upstream from the Glory Hole Falls (during high water), Ozark National Forest
The Trail

The trail starts off down an old road for a stretch and then passes an old trail sign that is no longer useful.

At the sign, take the road to the right, which then curves to the right and drops down a pretty steep slope. (It won’t feel like much going down, but you’ll definitely notice it more coming back!)

Eventually, you cross the stream that leads to the falls. If the stream is really moving here, you’re in for a real treat at the falls.

The main trail stays up high from the creek, but there is a place where you can venture down and follow along the main creek to the falls itself. This pathway is a bit rougher than the maintained trail above, but there are some gorgeous smaller waterfalls and cascades along this stretch that themselves would be worth hiking to.

After about a mile, you get to the top of Glory Hole Falls.  Be very careful here. You can get pretty close to the hole itself, but the rocks around the area are very slick. Falling through the hole would be a bad idea.

Glory Hole Falls Trail (Ozark Forest) - 2 mi (o&b) photo
Cascades upstream from the Glory Hole Falls (during high water), Ozark National Forest

After taking a few pictures from the top of the falls, you can loop around and venture down to the bottom of the falls.

When the water is high, there is also a nice little waterfall here. (The sixth picture on this page is of my wife Michelle, squatting down next to the top of that waterfall.)

As you loop back around to the right, you get to the base of the Glory Hole Falls and can see the water pouring through the hole above.

Glory Hole Falls Trail (Ozark Forest) - 2 mi (o&b) photo
View from the top of Glory Hole Falls

This really is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the area. Its height is about 30 feet and the uniqueness of it flowing through a hole literally burrowed through rock is very impressive!

Plan to spend a little time in the area. We usually like to pack a picnic lunch and hang out here for a bit before heading back up the hill to the car.

Glory Hole Falls Trail (Ozark Forest) - 2 mi (o&b) photo
Michelle, next to the top of  a volunteer waterfall that you pass on the way to The Glory Hole (during high water)

The hike out is tougher (and more uphill) than the hike down, but it’s not too bad. Seeing this amazing and unique waterfall area is well worth the 2-mile round trip.

The day these pictures were taken was after a solid day of rain in May, so we had very high water.

I would strongly recommend checking out this area during the rainy season (winter and spring) for the best water flow.

As for footware, I recommend trail shoes or hiking boots, although tennis shoes would be fine.

You can read more about this falls in Tim Ernst’s Arkansas Waterfalls.

Glory Hole Falls Trail (Ozark Forest) - 2 mi (o&b) photo
Glory Hole Falls, Ozark National Forest
Photo Gallery

Click here or below or below for full-screen photo gallery.

Glory Hole Falls Trail Map

Click here for full-screen trail map.

Glory Hole Falls Trail (Ozark Forest) - 2 mi (o&b) photo
Glory Hole Falls Trail – Contour Map (click to enlarge)
Glory Hole Falls Trail (Ozark Forest) - 2 mi (o&b) photo
Approximate elevation profile based on gps data.

Glory Hole Falls Trail (Ozark Forest)

LocationBig Piney District, Ozark National Forest, Newton County, Arkansas
Length/Type.9-mile out-and-back (1.8 miles total)

Mildly challenging (2 of 5)
Gpx file (by Mike)Gpx file (by Mike)
Official Info - Phone/Links(870) 446-5122;
Not mentioned on the
Ozark National Forest Official Website.
Google Maps directions linkApproximate Google directions to start of Glory Hole Falls Trail
Date HikedMay 21, 2011

[Also check out: Mike’s post with winter video of the Glory Hole Waterfall.]

[Earlier versions of this post were originally published on June 16, 2011 on the blog “Exploring Northwest Arkansas” and on this site on February 18, 2013.]

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