In 2014, we hiked down to Big Creek Cave Falls (Newton County, Ozark National Forest) in what was one of our favorite hikes/bushwhacks we have ever done. The hike includes a stream that comes right out of a cave, a 29-foot tall waterfall that comes out of a cave, and another waterfall along Big Creek which is also beautiful. (See the post on that hike here.)
We went back to the area last year because, well, it’s just that good. And because I had found out that there was yet another waterfall on this hike–Wolf Creek Falls–and wanted to check it out.
The route to get to Wolf Creek Cave Falls is the same one that you’d take to get to Big Creek Cave Falls. Directions to Big Creek Cave Falls are here.
Once you get to Big Creek Cave Falls, continue following the creek upstream for another quarter-mile. It may be a bit of rough bushwhacking, and you may also hit on old road bed.
If you find the road bed, follow it upstream (to your right) to where it crosses the water. If you don’t find the road, keep heading upstream until you hear the roar of the falls.
Either way, you’re going to have to cross Cove Branch (which feeds into Big Creek) here, it will most likely be a wet crossing, and the rocks will be slick. So be careful.
A note of caution. Fording a stream can be dangerous. Don’t cross a stream where it is more than waist deep or if you can’t see the bottom.
Once you get to the other side, there will be a large flow of water coming down the hillside among some rocks.
Make your way up the hillside for some impressive roaring water. You will see Wolf Creek Cave Falls about 100 yards up the hillside.
Wolf Creek Cave Falls (which actually flows into Cove Branch and not Wolf Creek, but don’t blame the messenger) is an approximately 18-foot tall waterfall that comes roaring out of a large cave entrance. It is a fantastic falls and was really roaring on the day we were there.
There is a small gate here that is locked, but there is no fence, so it is easy to navigate around.
The cave is closed to humans. There is a white sign at the cave entrance that says the cave is off limits. Please obey the sign.
Caves in Arkansas are usually home to bats. Most caves in Arkansas on public land are closed due to concerns about White Nose Syndrome, a fungus that is a major threat to the bat population in North America. It is believed that the fungus is spread by humans. That is why most caves in Arkansas are currently closed to the public.
As you follow the cascade back down from the falls, you’ll note that the stream actually flows underground before joining Cove Branch in a really interesting and scenic little area.
This whole area is among my favorites in the Ozarks, and I get the sense that there is a lot more exploring to do here.
The distance from Big Creek Cave Falls to Wolf Creek Cave Falls is about a half-mile round trip. The entire out-and-back hike is about 3.4 miles.
I rate the difficulty of the hike as strenuous (4 of 5). As for footwear, I recommend wearing hiking boots.
Tim Ernst mentions this falls in his Arkansas Waterfalls guidebook.
These photos are all from our March 21, 2015 hike.
Click below for full-screen photo gallery.
[A version of this post was originally published on May 25, 2015 in the blog “Exploring Northwest Arkansas.”]