Just moved to the Branson area and did some of the Buffalo River trails on Thursday, and yesterday my sister in law and I were so excited to do this trail at Twin Falls! The 7.8 mile trek sounded perfect for us, and moving from Colorado I'm a somewhat seasoned hiker. We got to the trail head directed by the ranger from the campground as there are no maps from the campground and poor signage, finally found the entrance, where there was again no map, of course no cell service, and the registration box was covered in a nest of sorts. There is a map board, but inside no map. We had downloaded the routes from past hikers on here and it seemed throughout our hike we were on the "trails" they had tracked but there was absolutely no indication that it was a trail. Technicality aside, just no markings and poorly maintained if at all throughout. We were completely off the mark or is it really that no one has been on this trail in such a long time? Took our dogs, which usually turns out well as its great for them and mine has done many Colorado mountains, also loves the water which was beautiful there. About 1.1 miles into our hike, we were feeling frustrated to not find the trail and were navigating through a boulder field by the river trying to get to what seems like a fork in what should be a trail to head up to the larger water fall and do the bulk of the distance for this hike, and the dog jumped onto the rock ahead of me only to stir up a GIANT timber rattle snake, which scared the life out of me and stood its 7" rattle up to ward us away, which worked well, as we screamed, and turned around immediately to head out. Even if I personally could have gotten myself together, there was no way we could go around it because of the terrain and shape of the trail. We tried to hike up to the crest line and scrambled up an incline to see if somehow we had completely missed the boat or markings as to this trail, but found nothing and felt defeated enough to turn around and get out after only 1 mile. This has never happened to me before, not only have I never encountered a snake of this type or size, but I have never felt so lost by the lack of marking or indication as to where a trail was or should have been. HELP?! Id only go back here (as it was beautiful) if someone showed me the way, and I don't mind the technicality of the hike, but not knowing where to go or even where to head although I had the tracker and seemed right on top of other hikers' trails was too dangerous, not to mention the wildlife and lack of any help should we have been bitten.
Cross a small stream to stay south of Richland creek to find the trail. The trail is rugged but easy to follow and takes about 1-1.5 hours to get to a campsite. Find a away to cross Richland creek at the campsite, which may be difficult unless you just take a plunge and swim when the creek is high. Once you cross the creek follow a small stream to the double waterfalls. Also cross the creek and follow Richland creek to a smaller waterfall. Well worth your time, I have camped here twice. The first time we got mixed up and crossed Richland creek at the trail head, which put us on the north side of the creek. Do not hike on the north side, it is nearly impossible and dangerous to make it. If you hike up on top of the double waterfalls you can hike straight up the mountain between the two streams to find the sand stone castle, which is worth the steep incline if you have time. The campsite at the trail head is primitive with some fire rings and an out house.
Great area to hike. The trail going back to Twin Falls was fairly easy to see. Occasionally it would vanish along the creek bed. I crossed to creeks that were thigh deep and the water was moving quickly. I also hiked up to the Sandstone Castles above Twin Falls....it's about 1000' of elevation gain over 1 mile to the Sandstone Caves.
This is one of my favorite Arkansas Waterfalls! We hiked in from the Richland Creek NF Campground and it took us about 7 hours to make the loop from the camp to Richland Falls, Twin Falls, and back (including a significant amount of time for swimming breaks). This trail is not for inexperienced hikers.
I absolutely loved camping at Richland Creek! We did not stay in the campground. We actually stayed across the bridge in a real primitive location. There are many different locations to camp across the bridge that have only a rock fire ring. The water was gorgeous! We did some hiking but didn't make it to the falls because we fell short on time. Make sure that you bring firewood from a surrounding community or that you gather enough from the forest before dark. It was very cold in the afternoons!! Also remember that it's a 30 min drive to Witts Springs and they do not have any sort of grocery store and it's the closest place to be able to have cell service.