Cecil Cove Loop Trail

MODERATE 57 reviews

Cecil Cove Loop Trail is a 7.4 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Jasper, Arkansas that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

DISTANCE
7.4 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
780 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

walking

cave

forest

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

muddy

rocky

no dogs

This is a scenic trail that crosses Cecil creek several times, has bluffs, historic homsteads, and old cemetery.

backpacking
15 days ago

This was my first backpacking trip and so I might be slightly biased on the rating of 4 stars. It was a great first experience! Though, there were plenty of struggles along the way. My husband, who has been backpacking a few times before, said it was kind of a dud compared to other trips he's been on.

Pros:
*This trail isn't over traveled, especially on the week days. If you're looking to get away and be mostly alone, you won't meet too many people out there.
*There are some sites that were created for backpackers looking to stay in the back country, but you can just as easily create your own campsite and then leave no trace that you were there. One of the spaces that is created for back country camping is said to have Adirondack chairs built out of stone right along a creek that you can swim in. When you get about 2 miles in and reach the first sign on the trail, do not take the trail that goes up the hill, rather take the trail that verges away from the main trail. Not all of our group got to see this site. We camped about half a mile from there, because we didn't know about it. This would have been much preferred, if we had known about it!
*When you do get a chance to see a view of the mountains - it is gorgeous! There's a stretch where you can see the view through the trees right before you come back down the hill to the trail head.
*Wildlife - we didn't see any bears or any signs of bears. We did see a few white tail deer. We did not see any critters - raccoons, opossums, rabbits or squirrels. But there were plenty of bugs: mosquitoes, worms, millipedes, dung beetles, rhino beetles, lots of spiders (big and small), and hoverflies (flies that looks like bees). Spiderwebs on the trails were not very problematic either.

Cons:
*The dirt road to get to this trail is a little difficult in a car - it's a long dirt road, that winds up and down some pretty steep, rocky hills - but it is doable. Most people we saw back there had trucks or SUVs. You know you are starting to get close to the trail head when you have to drive across an area that flows with water. We did this in our car and we were completely fine! However, I would recommend being very careful if you're in a car and it is spring, when the waters may be much higher! There are some people who live back along the road so it appears to be pretty well-maintained. It's a beautiful drive, but definitely be careful driving over the rocks.
*Hiking this trail in the fall meant that water was fairly scarce if you didn't know where to go - as first timers, we didn't really know. Reaching a water source was very important for us and on a couple of different occasions, became a source of some concern. The places on the map where it said you should be crossing water and seeing water, did not have any water the majority of the time. These places were instead extremely rocky and sometimes very slick.
*Around the 3rd mile in, after seeing the sign that can take you to the creek, the main trail starts to climb. It is an uphill trek for what feels like an eternity and for what is really around about a mile. In terms of difficulty, when people say that this trail is moderate, I think the ratings are a bit skewed. The water crossings we did have were not bad! While crossing some of the slick, rocky areas was difficult, it was the uphill climb that made this trail difficult. Anyone seeking to do this trail, needs to know in advance that it is seriously a big heaping helping of SUCK. It's the part of the trail that makes you start to think about why you're doing what you're doing and whether or not it was a good decision to get out there and do it. That's the hill that tests your faith, endurance, and strength. BUT - if I could do it with a 35 pound pack on my back, ANYONE can do it!
*Poison Ivy was prevalent along the trail, as well as, some plants with thorns that overhang the trail.
*One of the main reasons we picked this trail is because we thought we would get to swim in a creek and see the old homesteads and cemetery. We saw some of these sites, but they really didn't end up being all that we had hoped for. It turned out that having a pack on, hiking and toughing it out with friends, setting up and tearing down camp, and just being out in nature was worth way more than the sites we had hoped to see.
*We weren't ready for the trip to end so soon. When we reached the second sign, we got a bit confused about where we were. We walked down the old horse road and ended up back at the car by surprise. We finished a day ahead of schedule. FYI there is ONLY ONE trail head. Take the trail to the right if you want your hike to continue.

There's so much more that could be said - ultimately, it was a great experience and a trail we would recommend, as long as you willing to embrace the suck that comes with the big uphill climb. It's beautiful countryside and well worth the effort and time! Enjoy!

hiking
7 months ago

Not the easiest to get to, but that means less people, and in my book, less is more. You're first decision is clockwise or counterclockwise. Clockwise will take you UP the road then onto the trail. The benefit being you finish on the trail. Counterclockwise you will finish on the road going down. The benefit being an easy walk downhill to finish. There is a trail to the Thunder Canyon Falls that you will miss if you are not looking. If you've read that it's slippery, it was an understatement, expect to slip and maybe you won't. Don't neglect the fire pit at the northern most portion of the trail. It's a great place to have lunch or play in the water. There is nothing spectacular about this trail but it is a solid 4 star. The distance is obviously longer if you trek back to the falls and it will take you longer than you think to get there.

7 months ago

The outing was fun but we added a couple of extra small trails off to the side on to our loop. The cave and cemetary were the highlight of Cecil Cove.

7 months ago

Thunder Canyon falls is beautiful. I went when it was frozen and it was just wonderful. The hike is long but simple. Getting there on the road can be tricky if it has rained!

hiking
9 months ago

Took the loop to the trail to thunder canyon falls last week. It was very peaceful and the falls were just gorgeous. I will definitely be going again to explore more.

11 months ago

GREAT TRAIL. The only issue my wife and I had was that we missed the waterfall. I don’t know if the offshoot for the waterfall was covered or we just overlooked it. Either way this was a great trail. There is a pretty good sized cave on the trail so definitely take some extra lights and extra clothes if you plan to explore.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

This trail is best hiked when there has been some rain and there is plenty of water. Allow for extra time and be ready to explore side paths in order to find extra features. I missed the waterfall because I missed the path that branches off of the main trail. I was hiking too fast and never saw the cemetery. There is a large cave, but again you have to leave the main trail on a side path to find it. None of these features are marked so you really have to look for them. In order to complete the loop you must stay on the main trail until you reach a gravel road, then take a left on the gravel road to return to the trailhead. Check out the large sink hole on your right as you hike the gravel road back.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Hiked the portion that hugs Cecil creek at times to the area where the small cave is. Decent trail a bit grown up in places.

hiking
Monday, May 08, 2017

Best to take the route from highway 7, the road from Compton was very poor, saw cars and even suv's having to turn around. Trail also wasn't maintained as well as others in some parts, but still a great area. I ended up bushwhacking to the falls. Box canyon is a little bit slick on the way there. Cool cave about halfway through the loop.

hiking
Thursday, April 13, 2017

Note: Do NOT let Google Maps direct you to the trail head. I did this once when visiting only Thunder Canyon last summer. That road is the WORST (NC 2700). On the plus side, all other roads in Arkansas are smooth, expansive boulevards by comparison!

Lovely hike, particularly the first couple of miles. The side trail to Thunder Canyon is a MUST. It's 1.2 miles, round trip, from the main trail. I was not able to find Paige/Broadwater Falls. Ernst's directions are vague, and having the coordinates in my GPS wasn't really helpful. Cecil Creek is beautiful and there's so much to see.
The old road up to the bench is a bit steep for a long time, but it's not too bad. Once up on the bench, the trail was wet and muddy. The springs, creeks, waterfalls, and old home sites more than make up for it, though.
I had wandered a long time trying to find Paige Falls, and was wiped out, plus it was getting late. So I chose the option of taking the road back. Now I have a couple of reasons to go back!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

If you do the thunder canyon falls portion it is a great hike. Either way, beautiful diverse landscape. we had to wade across the Buffalo river on a cold day but the payoff was worth it!!

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Fun hike. Tons to see.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Great hike, awesome cave. needs some markers so you can find the things that are hidden away. other than that, amazing

Friday, January 20, 2017

Beautiful- take all the trails- the Falls are really nice- Thunder Canyon Falls can be tricky after a rain- slick! Devil's Den is quite a sight too

hiking
Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Long and not that good

hiking
Thursday, May 05, 2016

Have hiked this several times in all seasons. There are several things to see on this trail. If time allows, I suggest taking the spur trails to Thunder Canyon Falls, Broadwater, and Paige Falls.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Had a nice hike here today, but I'm not sure if we were on exactly the right trail because it was an out and back as far as we could tell. We found an old cabin belonging to the US parks department and that's where the trail seemed to end. Anybody know where it loops back? It was a really pretty hike regardless.

hiking
Sunday, February 21, 2016

We took the family on this trail on a beautiful February weekend. We're trying to make it to the Bluff view but got a little turned around. Then we ran into some hikers that knew the area somewhat well. They told us about the beautiful waterfall to the left at the T in the trail hiking up to that point was super easy but even in drier weather getting back to the waterfall was rather dicey very slippery in some spots. still very worth the trip. We plan to go back to do the whole loop eventually.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Love this trail. The trail along the creek bed crossing can be a bit hard to find.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

This was a good little loop. I would recommend going when there is plenty of water (it's pretty boring without water) and grab a camping spot early in the day. All the good spots fill up fast.

hiking
Sunday, May 03, 2015

Hiked up to Thunder Canyon Falls. Descent trail the whole way. The falls were awesome. Cecil Creek crossings were tricky if you want to keep your shoes dry.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

We hiked Paige Falls to Thunder Falls, off the Cecil Creek Loop. Amazing beautiful! The trail that branched off to the falls was pretty hard, but totally worth it. 4-12-15

hiking
Monday, September 01, 2014

A weekend on the buffalo. After hiking Indian creek Saturday morning 8/30/14 went to old erby church hiked down to the farmer farm sted then hiked up Cecil creek to cavers camp an spent the night one of my favorite camp sites in this park. Sunday morning 8/31/14 hiked up broad water hollow before taken the bench trail back to erby church. It was a perfect weekend. A bit warm for backpacking but I love the buffalo !!! This is a great trail for a low mileage overnight trip.

hiking
Friday, April 25, 2014

May we will be doing part of the Goat Overlook down to Farmers and then up and around cecil cove loop. I am looking for a gps or a gpx track of the loop. Anyone have one they would share.

markjonesranger@hotmail.com

I have hiked back to thundering canyon falls several times on this loop but never did the entire loop before. The cavers camp is really cool as well.


Mark Jones

hiking
Tuesday, March 25, 2014

There's quite a bit of damage that's been done to the trail during the ice storms this past winter (fallen trees, loose rocks, etc), which slowed us down quite a bit and made some of the navigating difficult. There are also parts of the trail that aren't clearly marked and can be confusing. Besides that, there are many interesting stops along the way like old homesteads, cemeteries, and the old Earby Church. There are also a few great campsites along the creek. Be very cautious of the the road getting there however, I made it down in a Taurus, but I would have been much more comfortable in something with 4 wheel drive as the road is steep and rocky and also suffered damage from the ice storms.

hiking
Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Nice trail with several creek crossings. Lots of awesome caves. The rock wall is very neat. There is one camping spot with several rock chairs, looks awesome. This trail should have a lot more signs, because of all the intersections with other trails.

hiking
Saturday, January 26, 2013

A great trail with views from the bluffs. Very interesting history with the stone wall, several old homesteads and a small cemetery. Also, a beaver pond shortly after you start out. Getting to the trailhead on unmaintained roads can be challenging especially if there has been rain or snow. I hiked mid Jan with exceptional weather. Well worth the trip.

hiking
Thursday, October 25, 2012

It is a very cool trail. The trail is beaten up from horse riders. The trail has a lot of forks and its kinda had to stay on main trail. Many different waterfalls and caves.

hiking
Monday, March 26, 2012

We backpacked down to the creek and camped at cavers camp. The trail down was muddy and horse beaten, so I ended up bushwhacking off to the side. It much easier. The wildflowers were blooming and very pretty. Mud Cave is very cool, but did not enter due to white nose syndrome. The cavers camp was awesome with the stone chairs. The creek was running and we got to cool off in it. I will definitely go back.

hiking
Thursday, December 08, 2011

My favorite easy backpacking trip! You can add on all kinds of stuff to this hike as it intersects other trails.

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