Pam’s Grotto, in northeast Johnson County, is fantastic Ozark National Forest waterfall that is easily accessible with a short hike.
To get to the trailhead, first head to Haw Creek Falls Campground on state Highway 123. (See directions here.)
Turn right (north) out of the campground onto Highway 123 and go .5 miles. Turn right onto a small turnoff that heads down next to Haw Creek. There is a small campsite and parking area here.
To get to the trail, cross Highway 123 (to the west side). This isn’t an “official” trail, so there is no real trail marker, but it is well-traveled. There may also be a pink ribbon tied to a tree to draw attention to the trail.
Once you find the trail, head down from the road and start hiking. The trail will immediately turn to your right and begin going up a pretty steep hill.
This part of the trail is well defined as it is used regularly by rock climbers who use the area.
At .25, the trail will get up to the rock climbing bluffs and split. Turn left here. The other trails will lead to different rock climbing areas, but the one to the left will take you to the falls.
The trail will follow along the bluff line for awhile. The bluff line provides some interesting views for the duration of the hike.
Then after another .25, the trail begins to descend sharply. At this point, the trail scrambles through a lot of old rocks that have fallen from the bluff over the years. Just find the easiest way down.
At the bottom, you’ll be in a very scenic and interesting little grotto that has a 37-foot tall waterfall flowing into it.
This really is a neat little waterfall that tumbles into a small pool and is very protected with an overhanging bluff line, large bluffs on two sides, and some other large boulders that hide it from view.
Plan to spend some time here and enjoy the peaceful setting.
When you’re done, go back up to the trail, follow the bluffs back, and then back down to your parking area.
The entire hike is about 1 mile round trip. I rate the difficulty as moderate (3 of 5).
For footwear, I recommend trail shoes or hiking boots.
This is a wet-weather waterfall, so visit it in the winter or spring, not at the end of summer or early fall.
These photos are from our hike during Memorial Day weekend 2013.
According to Tim Ernst’s Arkansas Waterfalls (2nd ed.), he named the falls after his wife Pam.
Click here or below for full-screen photo gallery.
[This post was originally published on June 6, 2013 on the blog “Exploring Northwest Arkansas.”]