Butterfield Hiking Trail

HARD 157 reviews
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Butterfield Hiking Trail is a 14.4 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near West Fork, Arkansas that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, horses, and backpacking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
14.4 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,925 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

backpacking

camping

hiking

horseback riding

cave

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

blowdown

over grown

rocky

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

backpacking
22 days ago

Me and a friend recently hiking the BHT on the hottest day of the summer so far and besides the heat and ridiculous amount of seed ticks, it was a pretty good hike. We hiked it in a day and a half, camping at Junction Camp overnight. The camp areas are well maintained and a lot of them include rock furniture. There are a couple of swimming holes that you can veer off the main trail to see that are a great way to stay cool. There's quite a bit of hiking up hill and down hill on loose rocks, some parts of the trails are better kept than others. From miles 8-11 it was very overgrown when we hiked, almost to the point where we had to guess where the trail was. This hike has some good overlooks, and rock overhangs to check out. I just suggest bringing plenty of water in the summer and covering up. It's not enough to just treat your clothes with tick repellant. Also lots of spier webs when we hiked but if it's a busy time of year then they should be cleared out you :)

hiking
1 month ago

This trail was intense. Pretty difficult. I did it as an overnight. It has some very beautiful spots along the way but the rocky terrain chewed my feet up. Make you have good boots that fit well. Junction camp is not easy to find. Stay at rock hole. It’s nice there in the evening. I shared part of the creek that night with a beaver. He was chill, though. It’s pretty dry out there right now, which was a bummer. Looking forward to doing this trail again in the fall.

backpacking
2 months ago

We did this as an overnight hike in october.
Started the hike from the walk in campsite in devils den and ended at the suspension bridge. Ran into a few large groups and two other couples. lots of ups and downs. very enjoyable hike although the heat and humidity on the first day was awful. lots of fun little stopping points at the beginning of the hike.

2 months ago

I’ve done it as a day hike and as a 3 day backpacking trek and both were enjoyable. The trail is well marked in most places, but you’ll probably miss a turn and a couple hundred yards to your total somewhere. Pretty in most areas, Quaill Valley is outright beautiful. Watch out for ticks and poison ivy though, they’re plentiful in summer months. The BHT is wonderfully rugged and not always close to water, so bring extra and/or a water filter or purifier of some kind. Cell service is blessedly limited as well, so be sure to fill out the required (free) permit at the ranger station before going.

For Boy Scouts, there is a trail patch available through the West Arkansas Council. See their website for details.

2 months ago

Good for backpacking trip but not normal hiking

hiking
3 months ago

Kristen and I hiked this clockwise from suspension bridge 15 miles in exactly 6 hours. Including a wonderful stop at rock creek camp for lunch and feet in the water. Good hike. Some elevation change but not like Colorado. Saw 2 beautiful white tail deer. Many creeks and streams were running. We enjoyed seeing waterfalls and cliffs and mini caves. Lots of variation. Suspension bridge was a cool start. I would like to hike more in this area. Did see 1 large black snake at the beginning of hike but thankfully no others. Dogwood blooms were so lovely throughout the hike

backpacking
3 months ago

Well kept trails and plenty of places to camp. You will need an extra set of shoes to cross Lee Creek.

hiking
4 months ago

Made the trek down from Wisconsin to try some different terrain. Not being from the area, did quite a bit of reading of others reviews which were helpful. So my significant other and I did the trail twice in two different days. The first day we went counterclockwise and we ended up completing the 15 mile loop in 6 hours and 20 minutes. The trail is well defined with blue diamond markers, so getting lost is pretty difficult. Going thus direction, you are bound to see multiple ppl as everyone seems to go clockwise. Trails are wide enough however to pass comfortably. Ended up climbing about 1900 ft in elevation and descending down about the same. At about mile 2 you start to climb for close to a mile until it tapers off. It is up and down the remainder of the trail until about mile 12 when you cross the road, from there it is downhill for about 2 miles which can be tough on the knees. When we hiked it clockwise, it was 15 miles again and we pushed ourselves to complete it in 5.5 hours. Same information as above only opposite. Overall it was a nice trip. Friendly people alomg the way. Only gripe is all of the horse droppings. Also, thankfully no spiders this time of the year which I was thankful for!

4 months ago

Hiked this trail in early February. A great time to hike this area. This area is good for an over night hike. Devils den is also a great area for some Family car camping too

backpacking
4 months ago

Recent prescribed burns by the forestry service have impacted the section outside the state park, in the ozark national forest. However, it is still a gorgeous trek with a well defined trail. It is not for the faint of heart. The trails are covered with rocks that are sometimes slick, but the views outweigh the difficulty. It has well established, primitive camps with ample water sources. I did the trek in two half days going clockwise on the trail. It is a great weekend getaway that I definitely plan on doing again.

backpacking
5 months ago

Great trail if you live within four hours or so for a nice weekend escape. Lots of spiders in the late summer but great fall and spring temps.

backpacking
5 months ago

Great trail, Good first backpacking experience, lots of spiders and webs along the trail when i came through but hey its nature! will definitely come back!

5 months ago

A great beginner’s backpacking trail. Some gorgeous views and good backcountry camping sites. For my first solo backpacking trip, I hiked two half-days on this trail in early November, and the temps were perfect (highs in the upper 50s and lows in the upper 30s).

6 months ago

Awesome

backpacking
6 months ago

This is a pretty challenging trail, and I think a little longer than it is listed as. I planned for a three day hike so I could take my time and enjoy a couple nights of backcountry camping. The trial is pretty rugged, with lots of ups and downs, and most of the trail is riddled with large stone. I wound up bruising/spraining the bottom of my foot on mile three and limped through most of the trail, so that only made the trip harder. That being said, I was impressed with several primitive campsites along the trail that other hikers had made. The site at Quaill Valley was especially impressive. There were a few places to filter some water, just before mile 5, and several places from 6-9(Junction camp I believe is the last place for water). There are also several campsites right along Blackburn Creek from mile 6-9. Butterfield Falls(a rock garden) was a challenge, but a short one. I was through it in a couple of minutes. At the top is a primitive camp with a gorgeous view. The next couple of miles ware fairly easy, and another primitive camp around 11.5. The last two miles of the trail are pretty rocky and steep. All in all a good trail, but be sure to wear proper footwear. If I had less give in my sole, I think the trip would have been a lot more enjoyable.

backpacking
6 months ago

Only the strong should perform this loop. Between steep ascents and descents, Rock gardens, slippery creeks and very uneven terrain it was a trudge more than a trek. Having to plan almost every step took away from the true beauty of environment. If all stated does not bother you, this is the trail for you.

7 months ago

Great trail - bring supplies for a day unless camping - some terrain is difficult - beautiful woodland, water and NWA.

backpacking
8 months ago

Good trail. A little rocky in places, but not terrible overall. We traveled clockwise. The last few miles include a lot of steep descending, based off this, clockwise seems to be the better way to go. Established outback campsites with accessible water around both mile 7 (on trail) and mile 9 (downhill off trail). There is also an established campsite with a great cliff view at mile 5.

Hit me up on Facebook messenger for more information! @jordanmwhite9

backpacking
8 months ago

Me and the wife didnt finish the trail we only hiked 3 miles clockwise, her leg started bothering her due to a previous injury. We are planning on returning in the future, I would recommend this to anyone the staff was friendly and helped us with any info we needed. Be wary tho there are only a few places along the trail to get water, so plan accordingly. Oh and during winter gun season is available so next year I may take a trip and carry my rifle along just in case.

backpacking
9 months ago

This was our first backpacking trip so it has a special place in my heart. We hiked in late April and had plenty of water sources thanks to a wet spring. Lots of pretty views and interesting scenery. The camping at Junction was a perfect way to end the day.

backpacking
10 months ago

My sister and I have backpacked this loop twice and we had a great time. This was our first trail to backpack and we both handled it well. There are some steep uphills and downhills and there is a part of the trail where you will have to climb up some large boulders. Plenty of water sources during October (2015) and March when we backpacked it. The signage had been improved when we did this trail the second time (March 2017). Some great camping spots along the trail as well. Nice overnight trip. 15.6 miles on my Garmin Fenix 3, elevation gain: 2,471 feet, elevation loss: 2,609 feet. Total moving time: 7.45 hours.

10 months ago

Excellent. Quite difficult. Lots of loose rock,creeks were drying and it was hot! Junction Camp was beautiful. Hiked it clockwise. I would rate it strenuous if I were asked. Hiked 9/16-17/2017

hiking
11 months ago

Hiked a couple of different section of this trail, but haven't completed the entire loop. The trail is very rocky, with lots of ups and down in the terrain. Need to pay attention to the trail markers, or you could easily end up on a horse trail or other trail that crosses the Butterfield.
Some neat areas with nice overlooks, and cool rock formations.

backpacking
11 months ago

Hiked this trail at the beginning of August to help prepare for an elk hunt. It was HOT! I asked the park ranger about the water situation before heading out, they said not to count on water at any of the creeks. Carried a total of 7 liters. Got to Rock Hole Camp and there was enough water to swim in. Stormed late that night and some of the morning and the creek didn't seem to rise much. The waterfall was flowing which made climbing it with a 50lb pack rather interesting. Overall its an awesome trail. Only thing I can really complain about is that everything says this is a 14.5 mile trail, a brand new Garmin 64ST (bought it 3 days before the trip) showed that the mileage was 16.8. Not sure what to believe on mileage.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

We took this trail on starting at the trailhead and working clockwise. The first 3 miles are intense, but going clockwise is the best/easiest way. The overlook recommended after mile 13 is NOT worth the extra side hike. We did the entire trail in 8 hours. There were a ton of spiders so either plow through or grab a stick. If you don't have time to hike all of it, I highly recommend parking at the Holt Road trailhead and going into mile 6 (would be a total of only 6 miles round trip). This will let you see the beautiful overview around mile 4 and Quail Valley. Be warned that returning from this small excursion is pretty much uphill. Great hiking trail!!! Make sure you get a permit even if you're not doing the entire trail.

backpacking
Tuesday, July 18, 2017

We did this trail as our first overnight backpacking adventure. I would say that it is slightly more difficult than moderate, due to the terrain. It was very rocky, and constant elevation changes kept things very interesting! Junction Camp was beautiful, and a great place to spend a night. I wouldn't recommend going in mid-July, it was incredibly hot and humid, with most water sources dried up. I do have to mention how wonderful the staff and park rangers were at the visitor's center, they made check-in very easy, and drove us to our vehicle that we left parked at the Holt Road trailhead. All in all it was a really fun and challenging trail that I plan to do again in early October!

backpacking
Sunday, July 16, 2017

I would consider this trail harder than moderate. The terrain was pretty rough, lots of uphills and loose rocks. The trail was in need of some TLC. Lots of downed trees covering the trail and overgrown vegetation making it a little more difficult. At times, it felt like we were walking through a jungle with machetes (sticks we acquired to wave in front of us just to remove the insane amount of spiderwebs in our path). Overall, I would consider this trail a good challenge and very rewarding. Probably won't ever do it again, once was definitely enough. I would not recommend going in July either, it was crazy hot and humid. It might have been a little more enjoyable without the heat.

backpacking
Sunday, July 16, 2017

Trail need some maintenance. Lots of down trees across the trail and some areas that need some TLC.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

I attempted this trail with my border collie, she loved it but the rocky trail tore up her feet a little. I did this trail in the middle of the summer so water became hard to find at times, so make sure you filter as much as you can when it's available. The Butterfield kicked my butt at times, it asked a lot of me and I even got lost at one point! So read your map carefully guys! This trail requires you to check in at the visitor's center and get a backcountry permit before you do it. This way if you go missing on the trail there will be a designated search party that deploys 6 or so hours after you fail to report back. Overall a beautiful and challenging trail. There's even a swimming hole halfway on the trail!

hiking
Saturday, June 10, 2017

This was an awesome trail! Unfortunately I thought I was going to the moonshiner cave trail and ended up on butterfield.. less than a quarter mile from another on the road. I would definitely suggest attempting this trail in early spring or even later fall before the bugs get hectic, it's quite rugged terrain at the moment with many spots that need some help to the path. Overall this trail was challenging with absolutely beautiful views. Considering I packed for a 5 mile hike.. I was in for a little surprise when it came to butterfield. I certainly want to go back for a backpacking trip and stay the night out there!

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