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backpacking
13 hours ago

This loop has it all. Scenic views, hardwood Forrest, river, gorges, swimming holes, waterfall, ancient sea floor rock formations, water sources, a cemetery...yadda yadda yadda...with plenty of developed backcountry sites to overnight. Water crossings vary, each trip has been a little different. Be prepared. It’s a nice 2, even 3 day hike. Last trip I didn’t see another soul until I reached the Winding Stair Trail which had some leaf peepers.

I hike this after two days of good rain and it was gorgeous. All the dry creek beds you’re used to passing over were transformed into gushing waterfalls. The river was up and loud. The trail is not easy so take your time and enjoy yourself. Markings are prominent enough where you shouldn’t have any trouble finding your way.

Great hike. Little mix of everything. Water crossing were chilly, glad we removed the shoes each time - not worth slugging along in wet one for this trail

We started at the 65 bridge near Tyler Bend. It took a bit to find the trailhead. We parked our vehicle off Hwy 65 on Grinders Ferry Rd, crossed the highway and walked down the drainage ditch to start the trail (we found the tunnel too slick to go through). The trail is well marked and a beautiful hike. We went to Collier Homestead and on past to the overlook - a don’t miss this! kinda place. Then back to the homestead and continued on the BRT down the mountain to the open meadow below and on to the creek. Couldn’t cross because the water was just a bit too high. So backtracked to the homestead and took a trail down to the visitor center. From there we hiked Buck Ridge Trail back to the BRT and the bridge and our car. This was a great hike with beautiful views and much up and downs for great exercise. The Tyler Bend area is really spectacular. We’ll go in a different way to resume the trail towards Woolum next week.

Very scenic. Pretty well marked over all. Watch out for 1.4 miles one-way off shoot in the NW corner

backpacking
13 days ago

One of my favorite trails in Arkansas. We started at Cripple Turkey on December 1st and ended at Allison on December 2. A lot of waterfalls and bluff outcroppings. I would definitely do this one again. The scenery was amazing.

Third time on this trail and it gets better each time. Went beyond the eye into the mountain.

Difficult but worth it.

backpacking
23 days ago

Amazing hike with amazing views. We did the hike in 2.5 days

This trail follows the water which is amazing. We started from the Big Agnes North Trail in a clockwise direction. This means the higher elevations are completed last. There are a few places where the trail markings are lacking. Several hikers have tied ribbons marking the trail. We found using the Guthook app really made it easygoing. It works offline which is great since there is no phone service near the trail. The service roads that access the trail are small and have one lane bridges so exercise caution.

great trail.

Absolutely amazing and challenging trail. Started on Wednesday, November 21st at 10:25am and finished Friday, November 23rd at 10:45am. We went clockwise and trekked nearly 11 miles, camping soon after crossing Eagle Rock Vista and the next ridge. Camped along the stream in the valley at some nice campsites. Early start the next morning began with some truly challenging climbs but the views were worth it. Hammered out a total of 11.5 miles that day and camped near a meadow just shy of Albert Pike. Knocked out the next 5 1/2 or so the next morning with the last mile in the pouring rain. We saw deer, raccoon, and heard something early one morning howl like a wolf (it was not coyotes, I’ve had tons of experiences with them). Didn’t see bears but I sure wanted to, from a distance of course. I highly suggest getting in good shape for this hike. I thought I was in pretty good shape but the ridges kicked my tail. Also, call the ranger offices to check the water levels because there are tons of water crossings.

backpacking
26 days ago

The trail is nice and well marked. It's easy to access from northwest arkansas. We hiked it clockwise and camped at the primitive camping sites arpund 9.5 miles. i think there were 6 primitive campsites and everyone of them was occupied. It was not awful but i think its worth knowing you wont be the only one on the trail.

Richland Creek is our fave!

A friend and I backpacked this 11/9-10, starting at the Holt Rd trailhead and going clockwise. This is a nice hike with great camping spots along the way.
This direction was hard on my knees, especially the final downhill into Lee Creek.
I hiked this again 11/17 starting from the main trailhead and going counterclockwise. I did the whole trail in just under 7 hours and going cc was much better on my knees as I am stronger uphill hiking. The trail is well blazed and has many interesting sights along the way.

Fantastic trail. Summer hikes are great with the canopy and many water holes to take a dip in.

backpacking
1 month ago

we hiked the trail late October. the Little Mo. River gauge at Langley was showing 4.4' when we started CCW at the forestry Rd East trailhead just south of Albert Pike. This is as high as I would feel comfortable crossing most of the deeper crossings, and I'm 6'2". the trail was very scenic through most sections, and was definitely a challenge. we did three 8 mile days and a 3 mile morning to finish up.

the mountain summits, while steep with no switchbacks, are thankfully not that tall (200-400 feet in approx .5 mile for most of them). the rocky creek bed s you follow on the VBT will beat your feet to death, so be sure to wear some sturdy boots. Water is plentiful. aside from the peaks, we were rarely more than a hundred feet from flowing water.

backpacking
1 month ago

Loved this trail. I hiked from Barkshed to Allison and was impressed by the scenery. Massive bluffs, rock outcroppings and formations much like you would see along the Buffalo River, only on a slightly smaller scale. Ended up camping at a great spot by a big bluff and possibly the smallest waterfall on Earth about 1.5 miles from Blanchard. I got a shuttle from Sylamore Creek Camp which works great just note they are located one mile from the trailhead. I would also add this is possibly the best marked trail I’ve been on.

on Eagle Rock Loop

backpacking
1 month ago

We hiked this trail in October, and had a 7 year old with us. We ended up camping 3 nights, as we were not in a hurry at all. We took lightweight hikers tents, our backpacks had camelbacks, and we ate MREs. I am not exaggerating when I say we probably crossed water 60 times, but sometimes it was just small streams that you could step on rocks to get across. I took water shoes to change into to cross the bigger water crossings so my shoes could stay dry, then I would change back into my sneakers. When I said MREs earlier, I feel they made all of the difference in our energy level. I couldn’t have made it on trail food. We had 2 each per day, and saved something out of them for breakfast. We had some extra water to start, but we took one of those little filters to filter the stream water so that we could pack a little lighter. When we parked and started, we went to the right first. We had studied the map and felt this was the toughest part so we wanted to tackle it first. Brush Heap Mountain has no mercy. It’s a long, steep climb that you think will never end. At the top was a little spotty cell coverage if you wanted to check in with the rest of the world. Other than that, I don’t believe we had any cell phone coverage. So be sure you check in and out with the park rangers.
It was a challenging, beautiful hike. Lots of different terrain to see and experience. We are in our 40s, and had a teen and a 7 year old and we completed it.

backpacking
1 month ago

Butterfield Hiking Trail 10-11 Nov 2018

Hiked the BHT clockwise doing an overnight. Weather was great with lows in the high 20s and highs in the mid 40s. No bugs, snakes or ticks. Foliage was about a week or two past peak.
Prep: No specific prep for this hike.
Hike: This hike is could be moderate or could be strenuous depending on how you hike and your experience level. The trail is generally easy to follow with sufficient blazes. Follow the natural line of drift and you shouldn't go too far off the trail. The only potential issue is where you may end up on another trail that crosses the BHT. If that's the case and you stop seeing the blazes retrace your steps and you'll be fine. There are mile markers, but while useful for landmarks, I would not take the actual distance as gospel. You will go 35 minutes to cover a mile while and with similar terrain and pace the next mile will be 15 minutes. There are some places where the trail is rocky, not as in you climb up rocks but a bunch of brick sized rocks littering the ground. Throw in the leaves covering the trail and this could be tough if you have knees or ankles that susceptible to being tweaked. I didn't use poles but some in my party really needed them to avoid bodily damage.

You need to stop by the visitor center and they will log you in and give you a parking pass for your car if you are overnighting. They will give you a copy of a sketch map and talk through any nonintuitive areas of the trail (get to the start, and the finish). With the map and a simple compass you are set as the trail is fundamentally a box bounded by two creeks. Once you start there is a some incline as you head up the ridgeline until about mile 2.5. You run the highground for a while and then by about mile 5 you are back by the creek. Once you pass mile 7 the trail becomes covered with the brick sized rocks. I edged up to the west (up the slope a bit) to see if conditions improved but they didn't. Around mile 9.5 the trail goes up and there is one chute of about 20m where you need to use your hands (about mile 10) but I wouldn't really call it a scramble. Then the trail rides the ridgeline. A little past mile 13 you have a downslope that gets you down the ridge and then you are at the creek. There is caution tape where the trail is closed by slide. Go about 50m left (as you face the creek) and there are some rocks where you can cross. If the water level is higher I could see getting your feet wet. After that another .5 mile and you are back at the parking lot.

Camping Sites: The great thing about this park is that there are primitive camp sites sprinkled throughout. Some are set along the creeks and some are in the higher ground. There are good concentrations about mile 5 and mile 9.5 (Junction Creek). We stayed at Junction Creek. It sits about 400m off of the main trail and the intersection to the trail that leads to it is marked. Previous campers have made 7-8 fire circles, stone furniture etc and there was plenty of deadfall to make a nice fire. About 5 groups ended up camping in the area. If you are looking for complete privacy JC isn't the place for you (at least on a weekend).

Gear: Standard overnight gear. Some reviews reported water resupply was an issue but you are near creeks for a lot of the route and the water levels looked good at this time of year. I used about 3l including camp stuff and rehydrating meals.

Additional notes: Check and see when hunting season is. We found out it was going on when we checked in. The visitor center will give you a flourescent vest to throw on your pack but the savvy folks brought a blaze hat or something similar. A lot of the trail in in the Forest where hunting is permitted and not the park . While we did not see any hunters you can hear them shooting fairly often so you know they are there.

There are some caves in the park but currently they are closed due to some disease that the bats are getting. If caving is your thing call the park for updates.

Overall a good hike with great camping opportunities.

very enjoyable and great overnight trail.

hiking
1 month ago

Fun trail! might be a little strenuous in some spots for beginners and if the water is up along with the rapids its a challenge to cross to the trail head safely, but a great day hike regardless! Seems like a great camping spot as well

Hiked this trail from Cripple Turkey trailhead to Allison Nov 4-6, 2018. It's a wonderful trail with massive sandstone bluffs rising from creek level. Higher up, the trail travels along the bottom of high bluffs. There are countless beautiful hollows and side creeks. The fall colors were spectacular. On this trip it had rained the day before and rained during our trip, so water was plentiful in the main creek and side streams. The entire trail was clear, well-maintained and not overgrown. The section from Cripple Turkey trail head is less used than the rest of the trail, so it is not as much of an obvious trail in some places.

This is a beautiful trail. I will edit this with track and pics soon.

on Eagle Rock Loop

backpacking
1 month ago

We hiked the entire loop starting at 2pm on 10/25 thru 5pm on 10/28. We started the trail at Winding Stairs and went counter-clockwise. Amazing trail with plenty of fall colors this time of year! Day 1 we did about 4 miles which was a great start. One hill at the beginning and then relatively flat for the remainder of the day. Day 2 we hiked about 8 miles which put us right before the start of where you do a number of climb and decent areas. Day 3 we did about 7 miles. A tough 7 miles this is the part of the trail that makes it rated "hard". We stayed at the top of Bush Master after a tough hike up to the top. Day 4 we hiked 9 miles and finished the trail with a mostly downhill hike with some up and down.

There are many campsites along all sections of the trail, so we never worried about having a place to stop. With that said we planned to land at a campsite about 1 1/2 hours before sunset to setup and have dinner before dark.

There was a lot of water on this trail. I lost count but there were probably 20 water crossings. On all but maybe 5 you could cross without getting your shoes wet. On 5 the water was about knee deep and we crossed using water shoes. I imagine the water level varies based on rainfall and time of year.

There was no cell coverage on the trail with the exception of the top of hurricane knob and the top of brush heap mountain and even there it was spotty.

One of the top hikes I have done. The terrain, type of trees, rivers, bluffs, meadows and valleys varied substantially throughout the park. All was scenic.

Highly recommend!

backpacking
1 month ago

We did the entire loop 10/26 thru 10/28. It’s a vigorous trail so fitness is important. Water was everywhere so didn’t need to carry much more than what I could drink in 60-90 minutes of activity. No cell service other than on the top of Brush Heap mountain but it’s a task to get there. Awesome experience with incredible views, particularly in the Winding Stairs area. Water was about 50 degrees and was a great refresher on the feet.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful trail featuring multiple creek crossings and swimming holes. But very overgrown with brush varying from ankle to waist high - perfect for ticks! Pulled over 150 ticks off me after hiking from from Allison to Gunner Pool. Got Lyme disease. Would not hike this trail again unless there is some serious trail maintenance.

This is an amazing trail. Rated as moderate but the last 1.5 miles from Sandstone Castle where we made camp in the caves, to the falls I would rate as hard. The ascent to the falls is steep and very rocky so watch your footing and be prepared to climb back out. Great trail though and we had no issues staying on it.

on Twin Falls Trail

1 month ago

This place was awesome

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful hike! The road down to Kyles Landing is rough but saw several cars that made it. We had some water flowing so the waterfalls were running. This is a physically demanding hike if you are not in shape. At one point the trail splits, one goes along the creek bed and on goes up and is higher up but follows along the creek. Going to the Eye of the Needle is not for someone afraid of heights. You will use ropes to scale straight up 20-30 feet and then another section at a step angle where you will rope the rest of the way to the top before going through the tunnel to get to the Eye of the Needle. Will be back to do it again!

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