Tag - Upper Buffalo Wilderness

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
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Magnolia Falls (Upper Buffalo Wilderness, Ozark Forest)

Magnolia Falls (Upper Buffalo Wilderness, Ozark Forest) photo
Magnolia Falls, Upper Buffalo Wilderness, Ozark National Forest

In all my years of going down to the Buffalo River area, I’ve never met anyone who has been to Magnolia Falls, or for that matter, ever heard of anyone even mention this falls. Thus, this waterfall may be the best kept secret in the Buffalo River area.

The falls is in southwest Newton County in the part of the Upper Buffalo Wilderness that is in the Ozark National Forest. There is very easy vehicle access to the trail head and a well-defined trail that is relatively easy to follow.

To get to the parking area, head on Highway 21 to the area between Mossville to the north and Edwards Junction to the south. About 2.5 miles south of the Mossville Church (or 1.8 miles north of Edwards Junction), take County Road 6 (aka Forest Road 1462) to the west.

There is no sign here, but it is a pretty significant gravel road. If you follow your odometer, you should know it when you see it. (For approximate Google Maps directions to this area, follow this link.)

Once you turn west onto CR 6, about .3 miles down the road is a pull-off area for parking. There is a sign on the left side of the road noting “Wilderness Access.” Park here on your right, and enter on the trailhead to your right.

Magnolia Falls (Upper Buffalo Wilderness, Ozark Forest) photo
Old Stone Fence, Upper Buffalo Wilderness

Continue reading Magnolia Falls (Upper Buffalo Wilderness, Ozark Forest)

Hawksbill Crag Hike (Ozark Forest)

Hawksbill Crag (aka Whitaker Point) is one of the most recognizable and photographed points in Arkansas. It’s a very beautiful spot as well.

Fortunately, it is not that difficult to find.

Hawksbill Crag Hike (Ozark Forest) photo
Hawksbill Crag, Upper Buffalo Wilderness Area, Ozark National Forest

Hawksbill Crag is in the Upper Buffalo Wilderness Area of the Ozark National Forest, about 30 miles southwest of Harrison, Arkansas.

The Hawksbill Crag Trail (aka Whitaker Point Trail) is about 1.5 miles each way (for a total hike of 3 miles). It is not difficult walk although there is some climbing on the way back. The total elevation change is about 300 feet. (See this post for Brent’s profile of the trail.)

Caution: As with many beautiful areas in Arkansas, it can be very dangerous near the bluffs or on the crag. Be extremely careful near any bluffs.

Hawksbill Crag Hike (Ozark Forest) photo
View from Hawkbill Crag, Ozark National Forest

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