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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
2 days 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.

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.

All I have to say is breathtaking views!!

on Eagle Rock Loop

backpacking
5 days 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.

scenic driving
8 days ago

Very pretty!

backpacking
9 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.

Like others have said there is no trailhead at first. You will walk down what looks like a private drive and eventually hit the spot where the trail starts. There are two trails at that point, go straight left. The tree has an orange marker. It’s an easy hike to the top of the falls. If you decide to continue on the trail is marked with orange hiking tape. Sometimes you have to really look but they are there. Lots of leaves on the forest floor and everything was wet making it slippery so be careful if you continue on. It was s good workout continuing on due to the steepness of the terrain. The waterfall was flowing good due to the recent rain. Will do again next year when things are green!

Beautiful area, but I think it is safe to say they have given up marking the main trail. Took some awesome pics in the fall.

hiking
12 days ago

Easy hike even if very poorly marked (marking the trail would at least give novice hikers an opportunity to learn). Lots of good fall foliage and trickles of water over the bluffs. A few small trails beginning at the very back of the campground road; those were better time investment (I’m fickle; I like the payoff). Day was cool and damp with thick fog impeding any view. But felt amazing at the top!

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.

hiking
13 days 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

Great trail for experienced hikers and beginners! Beautiful overlooks and some good bouldering spots

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.

hiking
16 days ago

I visited after a rain and although the trails were a bit slippery, muddy and wet the waterfalls were beautiful. It was worth the muddy shoes to hike down to the base of the falls.

Unless there’s some secret passage that we missed, there’s no way this can be done with a dog. Scenery was still decent, but we didn’t get to the very top because I had my dog.

hiking
18 days ago

Great trail! Went early Nov, right after a rain storm and the falls were incredible. Reasonably easy trail, can get a little steep, but worth it. You can see everything in 30 minutes. Definitely worth the trip!

This was my first trail to backpack and stay over night on! Looking forward to going again. Well marked with great views.

on Eagle Rock Loop

backpacking
20 days 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
22 days 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
23 days 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.

10-2018- need plenty of time ands probably can't get to falls if water very high at richland campground. start early. 2.5 mile hike in. take ar 16 off 7.

on Twin Falls Trail

23 days ago

This place was awesome

hiking
23 days ago

The trail was great with a beautiful waterfall!!

Great hike close to home.

very nice trail. loving the fall colors

hiking
24 days 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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