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backpacking
4 days 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.

It was deer season when I went. Lots of hunters. The trail was a wash because I could only find the trail that looks like it was cut for atv’s. (Could not find a trail that was just for hiking once I hit the atv trails.) I imagine it would be a little more enjoyable to go when you don’t need to be concerned about hunters. They should all have taken a safety course but accidents happen and people should definitely be aware. Next time I go I will make sure I have plenty of time to explore I feel like the atv trails would be a nice hike.

hiking
8 days ago

The trail is OK at the best. We got there on Nov 7 and it was 2-3 weeks too late. Leaves are mostly down and it made very rocky trail even less pleasant. But if leaves would be still there - the view has nothing unique or breathtaking about it. If you are going to walk it make sure to give yourself plenty of time especially now, when at 5 pm it is already very dusky and at 6 pm is very dark! If you'll walk it clockwise, decent is very rough and rocky. Makes very unhappy ankles. Very short distance after beginning of decent trail crosses a road. Walk it down till you get to a point of re-entry to the trail. Your ankles and your back will thank you.
Keep in mind that there is no phone/internet service at the trailhead and on most of the trail. LTE was at the top and in a few places on the east side of the trail.

Found myself lost and confused a lot on this trail. I had no idea where I was! I enjoyed it but I don’t really know how to read the map I think

very enjoyable and great overnight trail.

Very well marked. Hope to do an overnight soon and visit the entire trail.

Nice 5 mile out and back, within an hour’s drive of east Tulsa. Leaves were just starting to turn in late October. This seems like the only hiking trail open right now, so prepare to share the trail with other hikers. Would definitely go back in spring, or when the longer portion of the trail isn’t closed for hunting.

Great trail, well marked for the most part. I don't recommend coming during hunting season as a good chunk of the trail is closed. Overall a great trail to get your hiking legs.

hard to follow with all the leaves. safe

Awesome trail that was very well marked. Super clean with some nice elevation changes. Plenty of streams and overall great trail!!

We loved this hike, it was challenging!

very fun hike. started at white rock abbs went down to shores lake. lots of steep narrow ridges. it's a tough hike but my 6 year old boy made it.

backpacking
24 days ago

A good trail with rewarding views at the top. You must put forth an effort to see the views, but that’s why we hike, right? Once you’re at the top make sure to check out the rim trail with great views all around. Rocks here are covered with beautiful, vibrant moss a lichen. There is also a water spigot at the top with clean water if you want to fill up. Do not camp at the top if you are backpacking.

backpacking
24 days ago

A nice walk in the woods. Some nice elevation changes that will get your heart pumping. The highlight of this trail are the fantastic camping spots by the creek. Several have pre-made chairs made from rocks with good back support. The trail has nice rock formations with moss and lichen: typical Ozarks.

A really nice hike. Many great views, the water level is high as a result of the recent rain, but the trail has held up pretty well, waterproof hiking boots helped

Spent 5 days hiking the trails of Tallgrass. Beautiful!! We saw buffalo 4 of the 5 days. Got as close as I wanted to get to a bull on the Davis Trail.

walking
29 days ago

Particularly nice trail in the spring and fall when it’s cool out. You walk along the river, and there are several places to access the river bank.

hiking
1 month ago

It was great weather for a hike on the red trail but it wasn't marked very clearly. We ended up almost walking the entire trail twice because we ended up turned around. I wish there were maps that were available. Warm enough to see some snakes and what little water that was in the creek was really clear! I'll definitely be back now that I know the way better.

It has some tough spots, but the course is poorly marked and overgrown. The marked map is off course in several spots. It would be great if it was clear and marked. Many parts of the path or loose rock at steep points.

Fun over nighter!

hiking
1 month ago

Nice hike! There are three different options on the east side of the trail, are Silver and Yellow. Red was just the right length for a few hour hike and not very difficult! Very beautiful! Can’t wait to try the Yellow trail and maybe even come back to camp!

backpacking
1 month ago

This is one of my favorite conditioning hikes to do in the early Fall. I completed it for the 5th time this past weekend. I hike the West side loop and come down the East side. I usually hike past the East side spur trail down the OHT a little further and camp next to Salt Fork Creek making this a wonderful overnighter. The first day you will hike along White Rock Creek which has a beautiful water fall and the 2nd day you will be hiking along Salt Fork Creek although you won't see it much. Be prepared for a lot of ascending on the first day. It's a real good workout! Thanks to the OHTA, too, this past weekend. They had done lots of underbrush weed-whacking so the trail was clear.

flat gravel or grass trail. you might see some buffalo.

walking
1 month ago

great trail however it needs to be marked clearer. we got to a point that wasn't marked and didn't know which way to go. we picked wrong and ended up where we started but that just meant more miles bc we ended up at 4.5 miles! will definitely come back!

walking
1 month ago

paved easy trail to walk or run.

Great easy loop. Must cross the river near the end.

one of my favorite places close to Nixa. Dogs love to splash in the creek after a short hike. I always go left at the bottom of the hill to the trails on that end, as to avoid hiking close to the gun range because my dogs get spooked..

This was my first ever over night. It was a fantastic 2 days on the trail. beautiful scenery and a great trail to test your skills! Can't wait to do it again.

We hiked from the trailhead at the park to the swinging bridge and back. Overall, the trail was well marked, though some spots were overgrown. Be prepared to walk along Highway 10, which was very odd. Also, the swinging bridge was closed for maintenance, but we didn't know it until we crossed over to other side and read the sign on the locked gate. It would have been nice to put a sign on both sides, especially since it was deemed unsafe to cross. Other than that, it was enjoyable.

backpacking
2 months ago

Did this hike in early September. Started around 15:30, hiked in clockwise 3 miles before setting up camp. Most of the water is on this side of the trail, plan accordingly--top off before you begin the ascent. We set out at 7:00 the following morning and made it to the top at 9:00. There is a rim trail at the top that is not included in the 12.7 total, we spend about 90 minutes at the top. If you bring cash there is a general store. The hike down is fairly uneventful, just be mindful of where the OHT branches off--follow the blue blazes. For us most of the water was dried up on this side. Finished up at 14:00. If you have done your math correctly you can see that this hike can very well be done in one day; just start in the morning. The entire hike is very scenic and the view from the top of White Rock mountain is one of the best there is in the Ozarks. I definitely recommend. On a side note, there were a ridiculous amount of stick bugs and horse flies on this hike. Also, things we're INCREDIBLY overgrown this time of year--lots of bushwhacking.

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