Tag - Ozark National Forest

Trails in the Ozark National Forest, Arkansas — including White Rock Mountain, Sams Throne, Pedestal Rocks, Kings Bluff Trail, Redding Spy Rock Loop Trail.

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)

Highway 123 Falls (Ozark Forest)

Highway 123 Falls (Ozark Forest) photo
Highway 123 Falls, Ozark National Forest

We were fortunate to spend Thanksgiving weekend at the cabin.  It was an amazingly rainy weekend, and we got to spend a lot of time with rest and relaxation.

However, by Sunday I was starting to get cabin fever, and with all the rain, I knew the water would be flowing. We didn’t want to venture too far out in the wilderness as the rain had gone from light to very heavy, and as much as I love the outdoors, in a cold, wet rain can be a tough way to go about enjoying them.

After a couple of failed attempts to see other waterfalls (due to many water crossings being flooded), we headed down to check out Highway 123 Falls, a 47-foot Ozark National Forest waterfall in northeast Johnson County. Continue reading Highway 123 Falls (Ozark Forest)