Fern Falls is a quick hike just off of Highway 7 south of Jasper. There is not an official trail here, but the trail to it generally follows some old road traces and thus tends to be fairly easy to follow.
The hike is a bit of a mess after a lot of trees and branches fell during the 2009 ice storm, but we found our way without any problem and got to view a nice waterfall as our reward when we made this hike in April.
Getting to the Trailhead
The trailhead begins 11.4 miles south of the Jasper square on Highway 7. At 11.4 miles, there is a “Historic Highway 7″ sign on the west side of the highway.
There is no official parking area here, but if you can pull off the side of the highway here and find a place to park, that’s the spot.
The trail begins just behind the sign.
Hiking to the Falls
The trail starts off along an old road and heads down the hill a bit. It’s a fairly well-defined road, so it’s easy enough to follow.
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.)