Butterfield Hiking Trail is a 13.6 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Chester, AR that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, and backpacking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
The Butterfield Hiking Trail gets its name from the Butterfield Stagecoach . The Butterfield Trail is a 15 mile looped backpacking trail. It starts at the Devil's Den State Park. Trail maps are available at the Park. A free permit is required. many scenic overlooks along the trail and nice rock formations
I hiked this trail about 10 years ago and I'm interested in hiking it again. I did it overnight and I remember it being harder than moderate. Good beginners backpacking trail.
If all you want is a wooded area with rocks to hike in, this is a good spot, if you want any type of views or overlooks this is definitely not the place
Hiked this trail twice, moderate hike with some really cool rock formations and creek crossings.
Hiked it last year in late fall, great hike, lots of places to set up camp.
Has a cpl cool sections. Once was enough.
Amazing clean camp sites, great for a beginner, wonderful for a scout troop to backpack to get you ready
A tough trail in the heat and humidity. Weather conditions and ATVs had the trail roughed up around Junction Camp, after that the horse presence was very clear. Overall a good intermediate hike with some great swimming holes.
A great moderate hike, with awesome scenery.
mile markers were off. ended up doing 16.55 miles instead of the 13.
Great backpacking loop for a single overnighter.
6/3/2016 & 6/4/2016
The trail is 18 miles and not 15 miles as advertised we had two separate GPS devices during our hike and the mileage markers in the woods are off by a substantial amount.
We encountered two large timber rattlers on the trail, the first while climbing the waterfall and second at the campsite just past the waterfall (when going clockwise)
Overall the trail is well marked and easy to stay on, it is very rugged and overgrown in some areas, with no cell service so please don't hike alone.
For me there wasn't enough to look at the middle 8 to 10miles to justify all that trekking.
Wife and I did this May 18-19, 2016 as a first time backpacking outing. Some fairly challenging uphill and downhill wet, rocky terrain, especially with a heavy pack, but overall fairly easy. Recommend sturdy mid ankle hiking boots due to the muddy and rocky sections. No need for sunscreen as its pretty much completely shaded. Made camp at Rock Hole camp which is about halfway and it worked out well. Probably would go on to Junction Camp next time and stay there after seeing it the next day. Beautiful spot where the creeks meet and much more open and elevated than Rock Hole camp. Encountered only a few day hikers and a group on horseback the entire time. Trail is well marked. Virtually impossible to get off track, although most distances between markers are nowhere close to accurate miles. Also, if you have knee issues I would recommend doing it counter clockwise because the downhill between 13 and 14 is very difficult. Much steeper, longer, and rockier than the other big incline from about mile 1.5 to 3. Saw two wild turkeys, one small harmless snake, a few squirrels, and 1 tick. Mosquitoes were not bad at all. Will definitely go back when water warms up so we can take advantage of playing in creek and sunning.
My wife and I completed the Butterfield Hiking Trail on May 12 and 13, 2016. It was a cool May day, with highs in the lower 70s and lows in the lower 40s. We arrived on the trail just a few hours after a front moved through, dropping some rain and making things muddy and wet. The check in and permit process is quick and easy. We had NO water concerns, as every creek and ravine had water flowing through it.
The trip itself was challenging. We started at the trailhead located by the picnic area, then over the suspension bridge and then clockwise along the trail. The first little bit of the trail gives you a tour of the back side of the park, then across a road and down the road for a couple minutes, past campsite A, then across the first obstacle – Lee Creek. On this day, the creek was flowing fast and was about knee deep for me. We made it across, very slowly, and then continued into the forest. As others have pointed out, the first three miles of the trail are very vigorous, with lots of rocky uphill climbing. It was particularly bad for us, as everything was wet, slippery, and muddy. Every low spot had water flowing across it. The trail itself had water flowing along it as well throughout the downhills.
You keep going, cross the highway, and enter the Ozark National Forest, which starts with a big warning sign telling you not to enter without a map because you WILL get lost. Once you enter this section, you really must pay attention to the blue blazes. The trail starts here along what looks like a Jeep road. There are multiple little paths and trails, some official and some non-official, that jut and jolt around and basically serve to confuse you. Just keep an eye on the blazes and your handy map to know which direction you should be headed in. Around mile 6, we missed a blaze and continued straight onto an old road trace, which really looked like it should have been the trail, and ended up at a dead end by Blackburn Creek. Correcting our mistake added probably half a mile to the trip.
By now we were worn out and decided to stop at the Rock Hole Camp for the night. We stopped at the first campsite, which is right on the trail, and also right on the creek. It’s primitive but had a nice fire ring and some rock chairs, including a nice rendition of a recliner, that someone placed there. We set up camp and enjoyed the camping area (as far as we know) to ourselves.
The next morning, we took off again and discovered that there is much more to Rock Hole Camp. It actually continues along from where we stopped and there are about half a dozen sites scattered along the way, all of which are very close to the trail. We continued onwards and skipped the cut off down to Junction Camp (our original day 1 destination) and chose instead to keep going.
Eventually you come up to the spring/falls that you have to climb up and through… again this was more challenging for us as there was quite a bit of water pouring out and everything was wet and slick. Challenging, but fun! Quaill Valley (named after a park employee, not the bird) was also beautiful and deserving of being explored for a while. There are a couple of miles later on (maybe around mile 10?) in which you are in some pretty dense forest, with poison ivy all over the ground and the trail reduced at times to less than a foot wide with vegetation encroaching on both sides. It’s like being in a jungle!
The last part of the trail takes you back into the state park again, then up and down, up and down, and up and down some more. Just when you think you are over the last ridge, there is another. Again, for us, every creek/stream/etc. had flowing water, slowing our progress.
Final thoughts – lots of loose rock. SO MUCH loose rock. Lots of water and mud, but due to bad timing on our part. Serenity and solitude – we did not see any other person on the trail. Pristine – very little trash on the trail (I think I saw one cigarette butt, one water bottle, and a slim jim packet during the entire 15 miles). The views were beautiful but would be even better during leaf off. The trail is marked well, but either missing some mile markers or we missed them.
Overall, we enjoyed the trail and recommend it… especially if it hasn’t rained in a few days!
This trip was fun. Challenging for the first 3 miles but worth it. We had a blast. One thing that annoyed me was the atv noise from the other side of the creek, they were still going at 1:30 a.m.
Went there the second weekend of March and loved it! Had a decent group with me. We started where the highway cuts through the trail, so we skipped the first 3 miles which looked like a lot of uphill climbing. Took us a day and a half, but we went at a really fast pace the second day. If we did the first three miles at a slower pace we could've made it a 2 night trip. Lots of fun! Because of the recent rain there were plenty of pretty streams for water. We stayed at junction camp and it was absolutely awesome! Though the climb down into off the trail was kind of rough, it was definitely worth it! Lots of pretty views and wasn't too hard of hike. Will definitely do it again!!