The western part of the Caney Creek Trail is a wonderfully scenic hike through the Ouachita National Forests’s Caney Creek Wilderness. It is a hike of 11.4 miles (5.7 miles each way) and has 22 wet crossings (11 miles each way), but it is well worth the effort.
The Caney Creek Trail runs 9 miles from west to east, mostly following Caney Creek. You can use of the eastern part of the trail to make a 9.4-mile loop hike with the Buckeye Trail. (See this post.)
This hike is an out-and-back one that just covers the western 5.7 miles of the Caney Creek Trail. It goes from the west trailhead to the Buckeye Trail junction.
Katy Falls in the Caney Creek Wilderness is a cool 12-foot waterfall in a beautiful little cove by the west end of the Buckeye Trail. It is in the Ouachita National Forest, near Shady Lake, southeast of Mena.
The waterfall is on a spur near where the Buckeye Trail joins the Caney Creek Trail. Also nearby is the mouth of Katy Creek, where it flows into Caney Creek. (See this post for full trail summary of the Buckeye Trail/East Caney Creek Trail Loop.)
These are two cell videos I took of the falls from my hike on July 13, 2013.
This is a challenging 9.4-mile loop hike in the Caney Creek Wilderness of the Ouachita National Forest in Polk County, near Shady Lake. It is composed of the Buckeye Trail and the east part of the Caney Creek Trail.
It’s a tough hike, but it has some great scenic areas and wonderful vistas.
As you can see from the maps below, the hike roughly makes a rectangle with the south side being 3.8 miles of the Caney Creek Trail and the north and (shorter) west sides being the Buckeye Trail.
The east side is a 1.1-mile gravel road walk (Forest Road 64) between the Buckeye trailhead at the northeast corner and the east Caney Creek trailhead at the southeast corner.
The net elevation change on the hike is about 1100 feet. (On the entire hike, the cumulative elevation gain is about 1970 feet.)
Back in April, I got to hike the west part of the Caney Creek Trail in the Ouachita National Forest’s Caney Creek Wilderness (Polk County, Arkansas). I hiked it from the west trailhead near the Cossatot River over to the trail’s juncture with the Buckeye Trail, a distance of 5.7 miles, and then back for a total hike of 11.4 miles.
This trail has lots of wet crossings, especially during wetter times like during my April hike. The trail crosses the Cossatot River and then crosses Caney Creek 10 times before reaching the Buckeye Trail juncture. So I had 22 wet crossings on my hike. (By the way, I need to get some decent water shoes.)
It was a very scenic hike. I thought the areas along Caney Creek and the Cossatot River crossing were wonderful. (I hope to get a full trail summary posted soon.)