East Caney Creek Trail

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Caney Creek Wilderness

East Caney Creek Trail is a 8.4 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Umpire, 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 but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 8.4 miles Elevation Gain: 862 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

backpacking

camping

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

running

forest

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

blowdown

rocky

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

We enjoyed this trail. It was shady and scenery was great. However approximately 2.5 miles in trees have blocked the route. Some we found ways around but it was too much at one point. You do need a truck or suv to get to the entrance. It’s a one lane road with low crossing bridges. Lots of traffic due to quarantine.

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

hiking
rocky
2 months ago

First time here was a great trail, although when you get to the end of east trail where it comes across west trail and buckeye take buckeye. north to see the mini waterfall

hiking
4 months ago

Although this wasn’t one of the top rated trails, we were very happy with it. I was concerned about hiking some of the other trails which described river crossings. I did not want to attempt a river crossing in January with 40 degree weather. This trail was picturesque following the creek. Lots of small creek crossings with plenty of rocks to step on to avoid getting wet boots. It took us about 3.5 hours. We saw only 1 group of 4 college student hikers. The main concern for us was the poor road conditions. Lots of rocks and gravel. Not a problem for a truck, Jeep or SUV. Not ideal for a Prius. I had to drive 10-15 miles/hour and still hit some large rocks probably doing some undercarriage damage.

hiking
5 months ago

it was a great hike! I lost the trail temporarily, but was very easy to find using the trail map with my blue location dot. I hike to build endurance and get exercise this was just challenging enough to push me a little. I completed the trail in 4 hours averaging a 26 minute mile. Has some small but pretty bluffs along the creek that zig zags along the trail. Crossed the creek at one point by using a large fallen tree as a bridge. I went on New Years eve day and found one couple on the trail...

hiking
8 months ago

Came from Fort Sill, Ok on a hiking trip sponsored by Lake Elmer Thomas Recreation Area on Saturday the 14th. What a spectacular trail. Beautiful scenery. Packed a little too much for a single night of camping but would rather have too much than not enough. Hike in went slow to take in the surrounding and pictures but worth it. Set up camp at Buckeye Trail, and up early the next morning to explore. Ran into a few Copperheads but again, breathtaking views. Creek was low, so we didn't worry about getting wet and trail was very visible. Planning another trip in the fall to see leaves change colors. Will make this trip again with any complaints.

hiking
Sat May 18 2019

Perfect weather. Got back in time before the rain hit. Saw more than a dozen hikers. Could hear numerous gun shots. Ran upon 3 men, looked to be in their 20's, with what looked like a 357 Magnum + a big bottle of whiskey. Great situation to get someone killed or injured. Several places to set up tent & ready made areas for a fire. Creek crossings were fairly easy. Lots of stepping stones.

hiking
Sun Apr 21 2019

Great trail

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 Caney Creek to Buckeye portion. Coming down from Buckeye Mountain, we made a stop off at Katy Falls, then jumped on the Caney Creek Trail. About .5 or 1 mile after the falls, we set up camp for the night. This trail has lots of great spots to camp. Most campsites are right along the creek, so water supply is not a problem. There are several water crossings on this trail. It rained a couple days in a row before our hike. There were two spots where we were knee deep when crossing. Most of the spots though, we were able to rock hop across. Overall, the trail itself is very easy to navigate and hike. A couple moderate hikes up and down, and some water crossings. Other than that, not bad at all.

Sat Dec 29 2018

Easy trail to follow. Lots of water and camping spots.

hiking
Mon Oct 22 2018

We started this trail and hopped on Buckeye trail at the end. Caney Creek ran along the creek which didn’t make it a very moderate hike, a lot of the time we were walking on the valley. There were a few small water crossings, nothing extreme. If you take this trail I recommend hiking Buckeye at the end (there’s a decent pile of rocks to the right of a camping area heading up the mountain and that’s Buckeye trail).

backpacking
Fri Oct 19 2018

We hiked the entire Buckeye/Caney East loop. The Caney Creek East trail, although quite a bit easier than the Buckeye trail, still has a few uphill/downhill sections that when worn out from the Buckeye trail will feel almost as challenging! But I’m sure avid hikers with well conditioned legs will find it rather easy. Very pretty walking along the creek. 3 easy crossings, just be cautious on the wet and slippery rocks. We had lots of rain the entire hike but it was still a very nice trail. Mostly clear with some downfall and lots of deep puddles when raining. Boots were full of water when we reached the car! Fun times and beautiful area.

hiking
Fri Aug 10 2018

decent trail beginner level, plenty of water and campsites good for a day hike

Mon May 28 2018

Easy hike, very nice tree shade canopy

Thu May 10 2018

what breath taking trail...

backpacking
Thu Sep 14 2017

Absolutely gorgeous trail, and Katy Falls was amazing to camp at. Trail was extremely easy to follow and there was plenty of water. Did this trail the second day as the Caney Creek/Buckeye loop.

Sun Sep 03 2017

Great hike clean trails well marked.

camping
Tue Apr 25 2017

Great place for a day hike. Came in during the evening, there is a place to set up camp right at the base of the trail, of about 20 min up the trail. There are two more camp sites, one about halfway in, the other at the very end. Lots of creeks to cross, your feet will definitely get wet at some point! One point to note, it got REALLY cold a couple nights ago. Much to be expected when sleeping in between mountains even in the spring!

backpacking
Sat Apr 15 2017

I would consider the Caney Creek Trail an easy end to tend hike. There is plenty of water, a few hills on the East side and lots of great scenery. The West side (from Katy Falls west) is not well traveled. There are many trees down and one must look for the trail at times. It is not hard to navigate, but someone needs to pay attention in spots. Also, there are only a few campsites visible from the trail on this side. We loved all the water crossings on the Western side. Nothing and I wore my Tevas for the last three miles or so. This was a good trip and had something for all of us.

backpacking
Mon Nov 28 2016

My girlfriend and I completed this trail on a clear weekend in November. We did this trail after hiking the 5.6 mile Buckeye Trail the day before and camping at Katy Falls. The spur trail for the falls is only about .10 of a mile north of the Buckeye/Caney Creek Trail junction. If you are considering hiking this trail I HIGHLY recommend reading the narrative on ouachitamaps.com and bringing a map of course. The trail doesn't have mile markers or signs like other trails but is well worn. There aren't many great views on this trail but the Buckeye Trail we did the day before offered beautiful views. Viewing Katy Falls makes the hike worth it though. We had to cross Caney Creek several times on this trail but the water wasn't very high and we were able to cross on the rocks. This trail is also not very difficult as long as you are in decent shape.

Thu Nov 17 2016

one of my favs.

backpacking
Wed Oct 05 2016

This trail was great. The elevation was not too hard for a nice stroll through the forest. In a few more weeks the fall colors here will be extravagant. I don't want to take anything away from this trail because it was exciting, however, I give this trail three stars because it is poorly marked. The trail is great, but gives a visitor no instructions. It does not give any details about the trail or joining trails. After I finished hiking East Caney Creek trail, I found the forest service sign saying that it was the buckeye trail, while at the road it says it was the East Caney Creek. I was then totally confused, So after further research to figure out which trail I had hiked, I realize that this was a combination of trails. I am surprised that I did not get lost. We took this trail to see the waterfall but could not find it, because I did not research it up front and the trail has no information when you get there or phone signal. Hopefully, you read all the comments on here and plan from there. Lesson learned, now I want to go back and do the whole thing.

backpacking
Wed Sep 28 2016

Clearest creek water I have ever seen. Love this trail late Oct thru Feb. Great for shakedowns and newbies or just to get away for a day or two.

hiking
Thu Jan 28 2016

Great little trail. Enjoyed the overlooks and little stream crossings.

camping
Fri Jan 22 2016

More difficult than I thought, well marked though.

hiking
Fri Nov 06 2015

Just got back from the East Caney Creek / Buckeye Loop trails this week. Great hike! Took two days. You have to drive almost 5 miles on an uphill dirt road to get to the trail from the Shady Lake campground. I made it in midsize car but it was bumpy. OuachitaMaps.com suggests dropping your pack at the Buckeye TH and then parking down at East Caney Creek, then hiking up to Buckeye without the pack, picking it up there and heading counter-clockwise around the loop so you hit Buckeye first and take it easy on E Caney Creek on day two. Not a bad idea, but make sure you actually hike up the actual road to get to the Buckeye TH -- it’s a about a mile on the dirt road – I got a late start at 2pm because I got lost in my car finding the darn Shady Lake entrance, then didn’t realize I still had 5 miles of dirt road ahead of me from there to the TH … pay attention to “unpaved road” on the map. I didn’t feel safe leaving my pack at the Buckeye TH (in case that wasn’t actually the TH, since it wasn’t labeled), so I parked at E Caney Creek and shot off down the trail in front of me instead of going up the road. An hour later I was wondering why I wasn’t going uphill and I still saw the creek – I was so anxious to get going, I had set off clockwise west, instead of the generally suggested counterclockwise route, and was hiking the E Caney Trail instead. Shockingly stupid, I know. Just as well since it was late; I never would have made it to camp going Buckeye first. E Caney Creek trail was relatively fast and moderate difficulty; lots of peace and beauty, and though it had rained a few days earlier, I never had to take my boots off to make any of the creek crossings. This may be basic info, but pay attention to the sunset times, because in the forest, when sunset is at 5pm, you need to be at camp with your tent set up or in process; it gets too dark to see within the hour. This E Caney Creek trail is a little sketchy to locate on occasion but I never lost it. I did refer to a compass and map to verify generally that I was heading west. Camped at the vertex of E Caney Creek and another inlet, it’s the biggest campsite I saw with firepit at the end of E Caney Creek trail, beautiful spot with the two creeks and running water. Set out on day two with an easy cross over E Caney Creek and literally less than fifty feet later is the Caney Creek/Buckeye TH rock cairn – as others say, don’t miss it or you’ll be heading down W Caney Creek trail. I loaded a few pics on AllTrails. Hook a very sharp right here and then to the right less than a few steps later is the Katy Falls spur – go see it, it’s a highlight. Leave your pack at the top of the hill to scramble down to the bottom of the falls; gloves were useful for me. You could also camp above the falls which would be a great spot; there’s another fire pit. Now comes the “strenuous” part of the trail – the mountain region – head back to the main Buckeye trail and go right – there’s a sort of little four-foot path of rocks laid out to mark it. Watch out for spiders who like to build webs directly across the trails in the mornings, I guess to catch hikers, but those spiders are big ole forest spiders, not something you want on your head. I saw them generally a few feet before I’d hit the web, and knock it out of the way with my pole. Also there’s a lot of thorny vines along the way but if you have long pants you’ll be fine. The Buckeye trail could use some upkeep from this point to the main Buckeye vista. There were three or four points when I seriously thought I’d lost the trail – it just went into a thicket and then nothing – but in every case it turned out to be doing something weird like whipping around in a u-turn behind me and I’d look around and find it again. In these cases, I found that anytime I had to walk farther away from a point of reference than I could return to, I’d gone too far, and the trail was actually behind me doing a sharp turn over the ridge or something unexpected. The trail is there and it’s obvious when you’re on it, but I had to keep my eyes on it frequently for fear of losing it – not a good thing on a solo hike seven miles into the wilderness. There are essentially no marking on trees along this loop anywhere, though it looks like someone made the attempt here and there. Also be aware that hiking uphill for this section is significantly slower and harder than the E Caney Creek portion – which is why most people like doing it counterclockwise, Buckeye first. It took me from 2pm to 5pm on E Caney Creek; Buckeye took me from 11am to 6pm officially back to my car. I go slow and stop and take photos a lot however. The vistas along Buckeye are great when you get to them, but from E Caney Creek to the mountain ridges is the hardest part of this loop – the trail is uphill, it gets very rocky, and very tenuous at points, it’s not kept up all that well compared to most trails; one time I thought (continued)

Fri Mar 06 2015

This was a great trail we actually tried to do the Buckeye trail and miss the turn make sure if you are doing that trail return is literally a 90 degrees if you do the canyon Creek Trail after the Buckeye trail from west to east there is a lot of fallen trees and sometimes it is hard to find the trail after you cross a river they are marked with a yellow mark on trees

Sat Jun 07 2014

Very neat trail with lots of wildflowers. The irises in the Spring are excellent. There are many good camp spots, and the creek crossings are very peaceful and pretty. Be sure to take the right path where Caney Creek trail meets Buckeye Mountain trail, and at least take a glance at the nearby Katy Falls. This is a great campsite.

hiking
Tue Oct 29 2013

Hiked this trail a few days ago as an out and back. Due to time limitations, I only hiked as far as the Buckeye trail. I did venture up the Buckeye a little ways to view Katy Falls. The Caney Creek trail is full of creek crossings, as well as several logs to hop. The creek crossings this day were not too bad--a couple were dry. Several nice views and a waterfall. If you like solitude, this trail is for you. Only people I saw were two gentlemen about a mile from the trailhead on the way back. This trail is not marked or maintained, but well worn.

hiking
Fri Mar 01 2013

I have not done the Caney Creek Trail as an out and back hike, but rather combined The Buckeye Trail, which runs into the Caney Creek trail, and followed the remainder of Caney Creek Trail out to Forest Road 38. This makes a nice 9.5 mile loop. When I did this in early spring conditions were relatively cold and windy on the exposed ridges, but warmed considerably when in the timber and protected portions of the trail There are numerous interesting rock formations and your standard scenic vistas, and it is really not a terribly difficult hike when done this way. Starting at FR38 and the Buckeye Trail it is largely downhill until the last mile or two when coming back up to FR 38 on the Caney Creek trail. I found an apparently rare variation of the Trillium blooming here (Trillium pusillum var. ozarkanum) and came upon a large group of swallowtail butterflies that had apparently just emerged as they were in absolutely perfect, pristine condition, and weren't flying much.

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