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Neil Compton and Amber Falls is a 2 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Pettigrew, Arkansas that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and trail running and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 2.0 mi Elevation gain 446 ft Route type Out & Back

Dogs on leash

Kid friendly

Hiking

Running

Forest

Views

Waterfall

Rocky

Scramble

Off trail

Description
Waypoints (0)
Facilities
Getting There

Head into the woods behind the sign (on the left/south side of the road) and bushwack straight down the hill. A small drainage should be just to your right, you will want to follow this all the way down to Whitaker Creek. Once you hit Whitaker Creek, Turn Left and follow the creek downstream, coming to Amber Falls almost immediately. To get to Compton's Double Falls, continue to follow Whitaker Creek downstream, but staying up on the bench up above, keeping the creek just off to your right. You will pass two small drainages along the way, each containing small waterfalls. After about ¾ mile, you will reach the falls; the creek will drop sharply and you should be able to hear the falls, too. It takes a lot of water to get this waterfall running as a double, so save it for a really rainy day. To return, hike back out the same way that you came in. Trails are marked with Orange bands to help guide you so keep an eye out for those in the trees.

Park on the side of the road

To get to the trailhead, take AR Hwy 43 south from the town of Ponca, until you reach the intersection with AR Hwy 21. Turn Left and continue south through Boxley Valley for 1.2 miles, crossing over two bridges, and then Turn Right onto Cave Mtn Road (steep gravel road), which is just before the bridge that crosses the Buffalo River. Zero your odometer here. Travel up Cave Mountain Road, passing the Cave Mountain Church at 5.4, and the Hawksbill Crag trailhead at 6.0 miles. Continue Past the trailhead for another 1.1 miles, until you come to a right-hand curve in the road, and a wooden sign on your Left that says "Upper Buffalo Wilderness" and Park along the side of the road.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (50)
Photos (95)
Recordings (30)
Completed (76)
Amber Phillips
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJuly 3, 2020
Hiking

Pretty overgrown trail, made it to a couple waterfalls at about 0.5 and 0.7miles (second one was off trail). Couldn’t find the trail after that so turned around.

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Cady Linn
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 16, 2020
HikingOff trailOver grownRockyScramble

Beautiful water falls. Check google maps as trail doesn’t take you Amber falls. Amber falls is first and hiebstly would make for a short version of a waterfall hike. It is very cliff-y in many years paces. If someone doesn’t like heights this isn’t the trail for them. Glad we brought hiking poles and bug spray. Double fall was only a single today but still impressive. The road up to this hike is a very steep gravel road. We got up there in a Kia Niro but if it has been wet or rained much it might require 4wd.

Crystal Scheffler
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 10, 2020
HikingBlowdownBugsOver grown

Really enjoyed exploring this trail, but we were frequently frustrated at the trail being lost or unclear. Even with the downloaded map, we weren’t able to figure out how to get to where the map showed a trail. All but once, we figured it out eventually - closest thing to bushwhacking we’ve ever done for sure - but weren’t able to find a way to get down to or beyond the falls at the end of the trail. The map showed that it continued beyond the falls, and that you could get down to the bottom, but with a dog and two adventurous but smaller kids, we gave up and headed back out. It was ABSOLUTELY beautiful and we had the trail and creek to ourselves for about 3 hours, but I feel like we missed out a little because of an unclear trail. We also found at least two dozen ticks crawling on us despite bug spray. It was very adventurous and we had a lot of fun challenging ourselves with all the obstacles we encountered. Would totally try again, especially if we could figure out how to navigate the falls area.

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Scott Nelson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJune 2, 2020

no parking, and poison ivy covering the narrow foot path.

Audrie Reed
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJune 2, 2020
HikingOver grown

Poison ivy was thick and trail was pretty overgrown. We didn’t make it all the way to the falls as we encountered a timber rattlesnake and our group decided to turn back and not fight the poison ivy any longer. Wish I would have tried this in the winter or fall when it wasn’t so overgrown. Trailhead was not super obvious. It’s a little wooden marker that says “upper”.

Amanda Middleton
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 30, 2020

A few things - download your map beforehand. I didn't have service. Even with the map, it was easy to get off the trail. Not a lot of markers and the trail is pretty overgrown. -The trail itself is also hard to find on the gravel road. Just go a few minutes past Whitaker and there is a small wooden sign on the side of the road as the marker. No real parking lot. All of that said, this trail was beautiful. You will pass many waterfalls before you get to the awesome big one at the end. I couldn't figure out how to get down to the bottom of the falls, that would have been great. I did Whitaker right before which was getting packed on my way out. I was the only one on this trail.

Brooklin Edwards
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 30, 2020
HikingMuddyOff trailOver grownRocky
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Elizabeth Graham
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 14, 2020
HikingMuddyRocky

Let me just start by saying...bring those hiking poles omg lol. The trail entails a lot of up and down on unleveled wet rock and muddy paths. The part descending to get a view of Compton double falls is quite treacherous. I took my 2 dogs and they had an easier time. It was well worth the hike down. Plan on minimum 2.5hr with a rest at the bottom. It’s gorgeous and not quite overgrown at this time. All shaded due to tree canopy. I’d bet it would be a great swimming hole in late Summer!!

Suzie Sanford
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 10, 2020
Hiking

Trail head was very hard to find, although it was obvious coming back out. It’s a little back (to the right)from where you think it should be. Beautiful hike, and not many people at all. One big waterfall that you can climb down to, and a smaller one, that I sat and drew. I think you can keep going further; but I didn’t due to lack of time. Very private, beautiful hike!

Aura Aguirre
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarApril 21, 2020
Hiking

FYI: Park is currently closed. I wish I had known before driving two hours to get here :(

j mck
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMarch 30, 2020
Hiking

We give it a 4.8. We went after some local storms and saw the double falls at Neil Compton. They were magical and at the same time, triggered my anxiety for heights. At one point my heart stopped because I thought our spastic dog was going to jump. I was not brave enough to scramble down to the bottom of the falls but my husband went further down the trail and he said it was beautiful. We did a lot of bushwhacking and lost the trail some, but it is marked well enough to find it. There were pink, teal, orange and white ribbons on trees. The trail was slippery and treacherous in some areas. Lot of smaller waterfalls and other areas to explore. It’s an uphill climb out, so save some energy. Well worth the effort to go and try to see it after some rains. The water is flowing very well and it sounds amazing. We took a lunch and ate creek side. We went with an 11yr old, 1yr old spastic German Shepherd and a fat 52 yr old guy. We love it and will definitely return.

Nicole Hemingway
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarFebruary 28, 2020
HikingOff trailRockyScramble

The falls were pretty but not one of my favorites. Scramble down to falls was really steep and not the most stable ground. It was gorgeous once I got down there. Really peaceful and not a lot of people when I was there.

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Tyson S
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 13, 2020
Hiking

Entered at Whitaker Poimt trailhead and exited at Amber/Compton Falls. Mostly a bushwhack and boulder hopping. Very steep terrain. Awesome adventure!

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Kate Redding
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 31, 2019
Hiking

Beautiful & heavily wooded trail with a number of waterfalls along the way. Very desolate, we didn’t see any other hikers while we were out there. The trail is rather steep and sometimes a little difficult to find. I’m pretty sure for about 1/2 the hike we weren’t actually on the trail, but it wasn’t bad. Very muddy and slippery, so wear good shoes. Also, the sign at the trail head all close to gone, and only a small part remains. Looks out for a wood sign that says “upper” hiding in the woods and that is wear you will want to start from.

Gez Rogers
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 9, 2019
Hiking

In the description above look for the sign that says ‘upper’ - that’s your start point. The volunteer trail is pretty easy to Amber Falls as far as moderate ratings go, it does get more challenging from there to Comptons Falls. The trail is easy to loose, but follow the directions in the description here and you’ll be fine. I always take my dog (Chocolate Lab) and he’s pretty versed in the scrambles to the bottom of falls now - but it was a bit of a scramble down to bottom of Amber and Compton - slippy when wet kind of thing. Others here have mentioned several smaller falls you’ll see along the way after some rain. Owl Falls is also very close to Compton Falls, in fact it’s the creek facing you as you head down the bluff break to access Compton Falls base.

Sonya Zimmer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarNovember 10, 2019
HikingRockyScramble

Lots of waterfalls along the Creek on the way to Compton's Falls. Amber Falls a small jog off the way. Best route is by the creek but a rocky scramble up and down from ridge, extra slippery with new fall leaves underfoot. Plenty of markers until Creek area.

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Jason Pohlmeier
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 2, 2019
Hiking

The Compton Double is one of several really nice waterfalls here. Probably my favorite creek area I've done yet. The path is easy to follow for a while, but then it's a lot of bushwhaking along the water.

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Hailey Kafer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarOctober 27, 2019
HikingOff trailScramble
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