Tag - Ozark Forest: Big Piney District

Wolf Creek Cave Falls (via Big Creek Cave Falls Hike) (Ozark Forest)

Wolf Creek Cave Falls (via Big Creek Cave Falls Hike) (Ozark Forest) photo
Falls along Big Creek, Ozark National Forest

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.

Wolf Creek Cave Falls (via Big Creek Cave Falls Hike) (Ozark Forest) photo
Wolf Creek Cave Falls
Getting There

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. Continue reading Wolf Creek Cave Falls (via Big Creek Cave Falls Hike) (Ozark Forest)

Big Creek Cave Falls (Ozark Forest)

Big Creek Cave Falls (Ozark Forest) photo
Big Creek Cave Falls, Ozark National Forest

The hike to Big Creek Cave Falls (Newton County, Ozark National Forest) and along Big Creek is one of the best surprise hikes in the Ozarks. This is a spectacular area and is now one of our favorite places in northwest Arkansas.

It’s surprising that in 12 years of coming to the area I’d never heard anyone even mention this great hike and unique waterfall. I had just pulled it out of Tim Ernst’s Arkansas Waterfalls book and thought, “That looks cool. We should check it out.” And it is definitely worth checking out.

The setting is beautiful. There are multiple waterfalls in the area; two of which pour right out of a cave. And the creek itself has a lot of spectacular water features, and the grand finale does not disappoint.

There is no official trail. However, half of the trail is very easy to navigate; the other half requires some imagination and bushwhacking.

The best time to check out the trail is probably in early spring when the water is up, but before the growth in the woods becomes too challenging to navigate.

Big Creek Cave Falls (Ozark Forest) photo
Unnamed waterfall along Big Creek, Ozark National Forest

Continue reading Big Creek Cave Falls (Ozark Forest)

Hawksbill Crag (Whitaker Point) Trail (Ozark Forest) – 3 mi (o&b)

Hawksbill Crag (Whitaker Point) Trail (Ozark Forest) – 3 mi (o&b) photo
Hawksbill Crag (Whitaker Point), Ozark National Forest

If you’ve spent much time in the Buffalo River area, you’ve seen pictures of Hawksbill Crag (aka Whitaker Point). It is one of the most photographed spots in the area, and with good reason.

The hike to Hawksbill Crag is a short one, and it is relatively easy. Getting to the trailhead is a bit trickier.

Hawksbill Crag (Whitaker Point) Trail (Ozark Forest) – 3 mi (o&b) photo
View of Whitaker Creek Valley from Hawksbill Crag Trail
Directions to Hawksbill Crag (Whitaker Point) Trail

The trail is in the part of the Upper Buffalo Wilderness Area (Newton County) that is in the Ozark National Forest.

To get to the trailhead from Ponca, take Highway 43 south from Ponca toward Boxley. When it merges with Highway 21, take the southern route and continue on to Boxley. Right before you cross the Buffalo River, there is a gravel road on the right called Cave Mountain Road. (It may not be marked.)

Turn right onto Cave Mountain Road. You’ll know you’re at the right place when the gravel road heads up, seemingly straight up. This is a rough, rocky, steep road. I will note that we’ve made the trip many times in our 2-wheel drive car without problems, but never when the road was wet and potentially slippery. Continue reading Hawksbill Crag (Whitaker Point) Trail (Ozark Forest) – 3 mi (o&b)

Compton’s Double Falls, Amber Falls, Owl Falls (Ozark Forest)

Compton's Double Falls, Amber Falls, Owl Falls (Ozark Forest) photo
Compton’s Double Falls,, Ozark National Forest

Hawksbill Crag/Whitaker Point (Newton County, Upper Buffalo Wilderness Area, Ozark National Forest) is among the most visited and photographed spots Arkansas — and for good reason. However, deep in the valley below Whitaker Point lies a beautiful valley formed by Whitaker Creek. During wet season, there are an abundance of waterfalls that are not visited nearly as often as the popular bluff above.

This area has been on my list for a while, but awaiting the right weather conditions (times of high water and leaf-off are best) has been key.  The area proved to be worth the wait. There are no formal trails here, but when we visited on January 2, we found everything we were looking for without much problem and without a GPS. (We did have the help of a guidebook.)

I suspect reaching these areas in the late spring or summer when the undergrowth has grown up would be a challenge.

Compton's Double Falls, Amber Falls, Owl Falls (Ozark Forest) photo
Amber Falls, Ozark National Forest
Continue reading Compton’s Double Falls, Amber Falls, Owl Falls (Ozark Forest)