If you’re in the Haw Creek Falls area in the Ozark National Forest (northeast Johnson County), you may want to check out Pack Rat Falls. This 24-foot waterfall is just a short (but vigorous) hike from the campground.
Getting to the Campground
To reach the campground from Jasper, go south on Highway 7 for 27 miles, then turn west at Pelsor onto south Highway 123.
The campground is 12 miles west of Pelsor. Watch for the campground sign.
You can get Google Maps directions to Haw Creek Falls Campground at this link.
If you visit the campground during the off-season, you will probably have to park outside the gate and make a wet crossing (a few inches or more) across the Haw Creek low-water bridge.
Hike/Bushwhack to Pack Rat Falls
There is no official trail to Pack Rat Falls, but there is a volunteer trail of sorts. Since it follows a creek bed, it’s pretty easy to follow.
The trail leaves at the back of the campground, just behind campsite number 6.
You’ll go out a few hundred feet, and hit the creek bed. At this point, turn right and follow the creek bed back to the falls.
If you find yourself on a trail with white blazes, you’re going the wrong way. That is the Ozark Highlands Trail which heads to the east from behind campsite number 7. (Pack Rat Falls is south of the campground.)
The hike is short, only about .5 miles round trip, but it is pretty challenging with a fair amount of boulder hopping and slick, mossy rocks. The scenery though is first rate with a lot of tumbling water features, moss-covered rocks, and bluffs.
After a challenging .25 miles, you will see the waterfall. It is approximately 24-feet tall coming over the ledge in two streams. It is tucked into a neat little hollow with more great scenery.
After you spend a little time here, head back to the campground by following the trail/creek back down stream.
The entire hike is about .5 miles. I rate the difficulty as moderate (3 out of 5).
For footwear, I recommend trail shoes or hiking boots.
These photos are from our hike during Memorial Day weekend 2013.
Click here or below for full-screen photo gallery.
[This post was first published on June 7, 2013 on the blog “Exploring Northwest Arkansas.”]