Tag - Difficulty: Moderate/ Strenuous

More challenging hikes. We rate the difficulty level on these as Moderate (3 of 5) or Strenuous (4 of 5).

Robbers Cave: Rough Canyon Trail – 3 mi

Robbers Cave: Rough Canyon Trail - 3 mi photo
Lost Lake where the Rough Canyon Trail runs next to it, Robbers Cave State Park (panoramic shot).

The Rough Canyon Trail is one of the most popular trails at Robbers Cave State Park (near Wilburton, Latimer County, Oklahoma). It’s a scenic 2.9-mile loop that starts about 100 feet from the Robbers Cave Nature Trail (the cave area).

Among the trail’s highlights are the Rough Canyon (a creek valley) and Lost Lake areas.

This is moderately challenging trail with about 500 feet of cumulative elevation gain. The elevation change is only about 250 feet though.

Quite a bit of the trail is rocky. While lots of rocks can make walking a bit tougher, they also add beauty and character.

Robbers Cave: Rough Canyon Trail - 3 mi photo
The Rough Canyon stream near the Rough Canyon Trail

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Lake Leatherwood: Beacham Trail – 3 mi

Lake Leatherwood: Beacham Trail - 3 mi photo
Lake Leatherwood Dam. The Beacham Trail crosses the dam.

I love Lake Leatherwood (Eureka Springs, Carroll County). It’s a 1,600-acre municipal park that’s mostly wilderness. It has lots of great hiking and biking trails. It’s owned and run by the City of Eureka Springs.

The Beacham Trail makes a 3.2-mile loop around the lake. It has some mild climbing, but it’s not a difficult hike.

The trail has some very nice views of the lake, particularly on the north side where the trail crosses the top of the dam.

Lake Leatherwood: Beacham Trail - 3 mi photo
Beacham Trail, Lake Leatherwood Park

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

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

Mount Nebo: Nebo Steps/Nebo Springs Trails Loop – .5 mi

Mount Nebo: Nebo Steps/Nebo Springs Trails Loop - .5 mi photo
Nebo Steps Trail, Mount Nebo State Park

Mount Nebo State Park (Yell County, near Dardanelle and Russellville) is a beautiful place. This loop covers two of the trails on the mountain. It’s a short hike, but it’s vigorous and pretty cool.

There are 2 main levels on Mount Nebo, the bench level and the rim level at the top. Nebo Steps and Nebo Springs are 2 of the trails that connect the levels.

This .7-mile hike takes Nebo Steps Trail down to the Bench Road Trail and then takes the Nebo Springs Trail back up. Then the Rim Trail takes you back to the start.

Mount Nebo: Nebo Steps/Nebo Springs Trails Loop - .5 mi photo
Boulder on the Nebo Springs Trail
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