Buckeye Mountain to Caney Creek Trail

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Ouachita National Forest

Buckeye Mountain to Caney Creek Trail is a 11.1 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Mena, Arkansas that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 11.1 miles Elevation Gain: 2,349 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dog friendly

backpacking

camping

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

running

forest

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

blowdown

over grown

rocky

camping
blowdown
over grown
8 days ago

Nice trail. If what I was on, was it. Easy to navigate for the most part until you hit a bunch of downed trees on the path. It does have water to walk through so plan for that. I didn’t finish it cause I camped half way. But I enjoyed it.

hiking
9 days ago

We started from the Buckeye Trailhead and walked to the top of the ridge, which took about 30 minutes with an 11 and 15 yo. We (I) had to stop to rest and catch our breath several times, the hike is all uphill from this direction and very steep towards the top. It was pretty overgrown with grass about 2.5’ high in some areas, so don’t forget the bug spray. Despite the overgrowth, we passed several other groups on Memorial Day weekend. By looking at other pictures, I think it is definitely prettier in the spring and summer with all the green emerald Mountain View’s. Although we have been to Katy Falls from the other trailhead, we decided to hike back out the same way, so in and out, we were only on the trail about an hour. A fun quick, yet challenging hike!

hiking
blowdown
over grown
rocky
1 month ago

Trees down on lower part of trail as of 4/15/20 You can bushwhack around but there is A LOT of poison ivy so dress accordingly. I would not rate this trail as moderate. It is strenuous. You gain almost 2,000 ft elevation in the last half for about 5 miles, practically straight up hill the entire time. That does not include the two uphill spurts in the first several miles of the trail. I am a runner, so I am in fairly good shape. I wouldn’t say it was too exhausting but for someone that doesn’t do much to keep fit, it’s a beast. It is not a leisurely stroll by any means. I do not recommend going during the summer unless you 1) can get down with the grit & grind and 2) have snake guards, much of the trail is overgrown, especially when you hit the top of the mountains. I also recommend a GPS if you go in the summer. We went 4/15/20 and the trail was already overgrown in some places. Most of the trail is easily identifiable, but when you get close to the top, the trail becomes rocky, more overgrown and is harder to follow. I do not recommend this trail to those that aren’t willing to suffer a little bit for the gain. This trail literally has it all. Overlooks, waterfalls, wildflowers, shaded creeks, flowing water, rock formations, switch backs, steep inclines/declines, creek crossings and mountain climbing. Side note, there is a mile walk back to your car from one trail head to the other.

hiking
2 months ago

Our black and white terrier got separated from us on the East Caney Creek trail and someone said he was near Katy Falls. If anyone finds him, my phone number is 918-813-1402. Our kids (and me) are pretty torn up losing him. He responds to the name Nigel.

hiking
2 months ago

I hiked this as part of a loop starting from the Caney Creek trailhead and heading out the Caney Creek Trail to meet the Buckeye Trail. The views from the ridge during winter were pleasant. I can only imagine what it is like in the fall. No portions are too strenuous. There is one switchback along the Buckeye Trail that hops over the ridge and can be hard to identify if you are coming from west. I would have proceeded down the mountain if it were not for a nice gentleman who had the AllTrails app up on his phone and had just made the same mistake.

Great hike. I only went out to the rock of a dozen horizons, about 2.5 miles out, but a beautiful hike. The views are amazing, and lots of great places to camp.

hiking
9 months ago

Hiked in from Caney East Trailhead. Got stuck at Katy Falls when it rained and the creek rose. Luckily we could get out the hard way over Buckeye. We were tired and wet, but it was pretty witg only a couple spots hard to find.

hiking
Mon Apr 22 2019

We started at the craney creek portion. We hiked back many miles only for one of the creeks to be very high to where we would have to swim across in the cold water if we wanted to get to the other side. Make sure it hasn’t rained heavily in the days prior to you going

backpacking
Fri Jan 04 2019

We did the Buckeye Mountain/Caney Creek Trail Loop on 12/01-12/02. This review is just for the Buckeye portion. If you are starting from Buckeye trailhead, make sure that you have plenty of water from the start. If you are starting around Katy Falls, make sure you top off before you head up. The trail runs along a mountain ridge and there are no places to stop for water once on the trail. Started at the Caney Creek trailhead and made the 1.1 mile hike up the road to the Buckeye Mountain trailhead. This hike up the road is by far the worst part of the hike, as it is just a constant gradual ascent for the whole mile. The trail itself is not very difficult. It's a pretty quick hike up to the ridge. Then a several small ascents and descents as you go along the mountain ridges. Lots of great spots for photos. There was one spot on the ridge where we almost lost the trail, but I think this was mostly due to a lot of fallen leaves. Other than that, it was easy to keep up with. On the descent toward Katy Falls, there were a few spots where some large fallen trees blocked the trail, and we had to get a little creative to get around them. Outside of this, the trail was easy to follow and hike down. Katy Falls area is a nice spot to stop to rest before completing the remainder of the loop, or finding a spot to camp.

Mon Dec 31 2018

Everything I could ask for in a mountain ridge hike!

backpacking
Sat Dec 29 2018

GREAT TRAIL!

backpacking
Wed Dec 26 2018

Tue Nov 27 2018

As other reviews have mentioned, the first couple of miles up the mountain are fairly challenging. this trail is also not well marked but it visible throughout if you pay attention. for most of the way up the mountain there was fairly good cellphone reception. the views were absolutely amazing! we missed the water falls as the trail turns back to the caney trail east. we started this trail around noon and got to the junction of caney trail around 3. the hike back is easy, but it is longer than expected and crosses the creek several times. the caney creek trailhead is also not well marked, it's a blank board. Overall this trail is demanding at 11 miles and took about 6 hours to complete. It definitely is worth the views and terrains.

hiking
Sun Nov 18 2018

All I have to say is breathtaking views!!

backpacking
Fri Nov 02 2018

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

hiking
Mon Oct 22 2018

Great hike! We started on Caney Creek trail and finished with the Buckeye trail. The Buckeye trail is more strenuous-moderate in some areas. It is also overgrown in some spots making it difficult to navigate, but luckily our dogs have great trail instincts so we didn’t get off track. The sites at the top of the mountain were beautiful. We started Caney Creek trail around noon and finished Buckeye trail right before 6 pm, clocking about 29,000 steps. I would definitely recommend this hike.

backpacking
Fri Oct 19 2018

We parked at the Caney Creek East trailhead and started heading UP the road for the 1.1 mile hike to the Buckeye Mountain trailhead. It was raining the entire time we hiked although we had a nice evening by the fire to dry out our wet gear! This trail is every bit as strenuous and beautiful as others have stated. I of course was not prepared physically and it truly kicked my fat butt! Plan on mostly uphill for the first couple hours or more! Katy Falls was very nice and the water was nice and cold. We hiked in crocs via the stream from the falls back to the campground. We had planned to stay a 2nd night but the rain was relentless so we hiked back to the car via the creek east trail. Very tall and thick underbrush in a few spots which made the trail a little hard to follow at times but if you pay attention you will see the path. Overall a nice yet challenging trail. Took us 5 hours to hike to the falls area with lots of breathing breaks!

Mon May 28 2018

Love this, been coming here since I was a kid doing the east caney Creek to Buckeye Loop, easy trail on the bottom and vigorous hike on the top.

hiking
Sat May 12 2018

I did the Buckeye trailhead to East Caney Creek trailhead and walked back up the road to Buckeye. This was an exhausting 8hr hike, I took many breaks and explored the sites. This is also one of the best trails I have done, from the views, waterfall, creek crossings, wildlife, and solitude. I will say, all of the down trees on the path made the going tough sometimes, but provided excellent resting spots. I would start this trip well before noon if you want to make it out before dark.

Thu May 10 2018

this trail is not for the faint of heart.. but it truly is an amazing trail... like all the other comments...I suggest you take water as there is none from the trailhead to Katy falls... were asking the way you can see several breath taking views... VERY nice trail.. yes there is a couple of spots that have you walking threw under brush... but very worth it... I will be doing this trail again with better prep... underestimated this trail... so you should always read the reviews... LoL.. loved it..

backpacking
Wed Apr 04 2018

Like a few others i did the Buckeye Trail down to Caney Creek and then east on the Caney Creek trail over one night. This was toward the end of march, high 60;s outside which was perfect. Make sure you have plenty of water because after the Buckeye trailhaid there is no water till you get to caney creek. I parked at the Caney Creek Trailhead and walked the extra mile back up the road to the Buckeye trailhead. once you get to caney creek and you want to camp stay right at the fork and keep the river to your left for about .15 miles or so and you will find a clearing to camp at. There were plenty of other campsites to stay at as well that people made themselves but they werent in a designated camping area. The hike out of Caney Creek was amazing and super relaxing. Most of it following next to the creek and pretty easy going. Lots of water along the way and a easy 4 miles out.

backpacking
Mon Mar 19 2018

We paired this trail with the caney creek trail for a nice one night backpacking loop. We parked our car at the east caney trailhead and walked about a mile up the gravel road to the buckeye trailhead. Both trailheads are well marked and have plenty of parking. The buckeye is rated as moderate and I believe that is an accurate description. It’s has some decent climbs but nothing too taxing or that lasts for too terribly long. I read where others had some issues following the trail but we didn’t experience any of this. This may be due to the time of year we went which had decreased underbrush. The views along the ridge of the buckeye were vast and the rock formations along this and the caney were impressive. There’s a few good areas to stop and rest or have a snack. Be sure to pack all the water you will need as there is no water for filtering along the ridge. We hiked about 4.5 miles on the trail (not including the 1 mike hike to the trailhead) and arrived at Katy falls. We ended up camping at a spot above the falls and up the stream a bit. It was secluded and peaceful with a nice fire ring and the stream near by for a water source. The falls were a great place for our dog to swim in the pool below and a great place to hang out for lunch. After a good nights rest we joined up with the caney creek trail and headed east. We passed several nice campsites, both near the stream, where the trails merge. The caney creek trail passed through a beautiful forest area and was near the stream for the majority of the hike. There were several campsites along this portion of the trail as well. As with the buckeye, there were a few areas with some elevation gain but nothing too severe. It’s a shady area for the most part unlike the ridge of the buckeye which could also get a bit breezy. After about 4 miles we were at the east caney trail head and at the end of our hike. This was our first time to this area and we can’t wait to go back again.

backpacking
Tue Feb 20 2018

In my opinion, this is the best one night loop trail in Arkansas. Big views, great campsites, water features, light traffic. I would warn any prospective hikers that there are no blazes on the trail. If you aren't a competent navigator, you will struggle. Also, getting to Katy Falls is challenging if you don't want to get wet. It's approximately 0.25 miles off trail, up Katy Creek.

backpacking
Sun Sep 24 2017

When others say the trail is somewhat overgrown I'm assuming they had a better experience than we did. Haha. We went over labor day weekend and the buckeye trail was so overgrown! There were weeds that were taller than me and I'm 5'7. And talk about burning all your energy, wading through a sea of grass and weeds with your 30lb pack. It was quite comical. We even came across someone that was totally off the trail where it turns to the south to go down to caney creek. If we hadn't been there at that time who knows how long the guy would've been lost and the sun was going down fast at that point. Also when coming from buckeye trailhead, about a quarter to half mile the trail comes to somewhat of a fork. One way is straight ahead of you, the other looks like a switch back. Luckily I had read somewhere to not take that "switchback" it's goes to an old mine or something. It took us all of 5 hours to get from buckeye trailhead down to the creek. We camped by the creek and the caney creek trail part was a breeze compared to buckeye. Overall it was an okay trail but in March we did trails in ponca and had to do the same amount of effort for much greater reward.

backpacking
Thu Sep 14 2017

Hiked this trail Labor Day weekend with my dog. It was a decent trail with nice views. It might be a better trail in the fall/winter when the brush has all died down. There was a ton of bushwhacking to be be done and the trail was extremely tough to follow at certain times. Fortunately my dog kept me on the trail for the most part.

hiking
Mon Sep 11 2017

This trail had some spectacular views but was very rugged. The first few miles of the trail was overgrown with the bushes over my head and it was easy to lose the trail and follow a game trail instead. Be aware of what direction you should be heading though and you should be fine, using the map on AllTrails really helped. I will definitely do this one again in a few months!

hiking
Sun Sep 03 2017

Overgrown hard to stay on trail.

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