trails in arkansas?

4:35 p.m. on October 29, 2007 (EDT)
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i'm in college in central arkansas, and i'm looking for some places to go on a few weekend trips, and maybe even a weeklong or two. any ideas?

5:04 p.m. on October 29, 2007 (EDT)
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Hi there!

I'm currently planning on doing a 'long weekender' backcountry hike in the "Buffalo National River" park. It's just south of Mountain Home. I've never been there, so I can't offer any opinions on it, but I've done quite a bit of looking on the net, google earth, and looking at the topo map. There seems to be enough decently-rugged terrain to wander for the better part of a weekend.
I hope this helps!

6:05 p.m. on October 29, 2007 (EDT)
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i looked it up. is there any way to backpack through it without camping at their campsites? i'm more of a fan of actually camping, not just setting up a tent and spending the night, and all i can find on their site is camping sites. if i can hike and pitch my tent wherever, then awesome.

9:36 p.m. on October 31, 2007 (EDT)

a.k.a. Skeeter Bait

You do not have to camp in the NPS sites... generally, camp where you like in the park or surrounding forest, just follow the usual LNT and good neighbor rules.... I've been hiking/camping along the Buffalo for 20+ years and find someplace new to sleep everytime.

10:40 p.m. on October 31, 2007 (EDT)

a.k.a. BigDad

If you've not been on Buffalo before, get Tim Ernst's Buffalo trail guide in any good bookstore. Describes every Buffalo area trail (and there are plenty) plus tips to some good off-trail fun. My hike buddy and I have done this several times: Tack together several trails by short bushwhacks, or using short stretches of the forest roads and/or horse trails to make bigger loops than any trailbook describes.

Here's 1 Example (I'll talk fast but it's still gonna be a long post and it will make more sense with Tim's book and your maps @ hand....)

OK: Park at 1 of the stores in Ponca on the upper Buffalo; get a lift or walk 10 mins on pavement to Ponca low water bridge, cross it & follow Buffalo River Trail downstream to next low water bridge; across the bridge you'll see an old barn, house, and gravel road that lead a short distance to Cecil Creek trailhead.

Follow Cecil trail counterclockwise several miles until pops out on the same forest road that runs from the tiny town of Compton to Kyles; turn right (uphill toward Compton) & follow this very steep rough road to top of the mtn, looking for powerline crossing. Parking area under the powerline is the end of a horse trail (Bench Trail), which seems hardly used; follow Bench Trail 3-4 miles upriver to Wild Vic's cabin and junction with Hemmed-In Hollow trail (no river views on the Bench but it's mostly flat, fast and has some historic sites).

Take the beautiful Hemmed-in Hollow trail downhill to river. Too deep to wade here, so play around until you can hitch a crossing with a canoeist; across the river you are almost within sight of the Buffalo River Trail that you began on. Walk straight into the woods until you pick up the Buffalo River Trail and turn right (upriver). This is the same trail you began runs back to Ponca low water bridge. Healthy hikers can do this loop in under 2 days, but take 3 for plenty of playtime.

With the guides & maps you will spot a half-dozen ways to vary even this 1 example. 3 quick examples:

* Halfway around the Cecil trail, jog off trail (see Tim's book) and in 10 minutes you get into the next little watershed, Broadwater Hollow. Broadwater creek is traced by a short trail with many many waterfalls. Follow it upstream to the forest road, then retrace to Cecil trail.

* Or, when the Cecil trail ends @ that steep old road I mentioned, turn left & take the forest road downhill a short distance then pick up another trail that's in Tim's book, go downhill to some old settler cabins and a trail that runs downriver back to the old farmhouse and low water bridge. Cross the river to Buffalo River Trail you began on, and retrace steps back to your car. This is a 1.5 day hike if you get an early start.

* Or, when you follow Hemmed In Hollow trail down to the river, don't wait for that canoe ride. Jog over a few hundred yards to Granny's Cabin (it's in Tim's book) and follow another trail that climbs up up and out to the state Hwy between Ponca and Compton. You can walk to Ponca on hwy (no fun) or hitch a ride back to Ponca (no problem).

Sorry to be so long-winded, got kinda worked up. Excuse me now, I gotta take a hike!

10:54 p.m. on October 31, 2007 (EDT)

a.k.a. BigDad

Check out the Ouachita Trail, which runs from Pinnacle Mtn State Park into Oklahoma... not many loop sections but many easy weekend shuttles if you have a buddy & 2 cars.

A little-used trail with some sleeper sections is the Sylamore Trail near Mtn View. Downloadable map and plenty good info is online, just search for Ozark Highlands Trail Association (this site won't let me post the actual site address.)

I like to start the Sylamore @ Blanchard Springs Caverns campground. Knock off the Blanchard - Allison leg in a quick out & back, then upstream from Blanchard to Barkshed. OHTA website describes a new section upstream fromo Barkshed that I've not been on.

11:31 p.m. on October 31, 2007 (EDT)
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39 forum posts

when you say ponca, do you mean ponca city oklahoma?

11:42 p.m. on October 31, 2007 (EDT)

a.k.a. BigDad

No, Ponca is a flyspeck (maybe 50 people) on the upper Buffalo, about 3 hrs drive from Little Rock. To get an idea of the scenery in the areas I mentioned, check out Tim Ernst's website Tim built many of the trails, writes trailbooks and is a professional photog who lives within 10 miles of Ponca. Buffalo Outdoor Center in Ponca also is on the web.

See you out there!

12:13 a.m. on November 1, 2007 (EDT)
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39 forum posts

thanks man! i really appreciate it! i only asked because my dad lives in ponca city, ok, and that would make it a lot easier on me than parking!

9:54 a.m. on December 21, 2007 (EST)
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11 forum posts

check out sylamore creek trial outside of Mt. View, AR. it runs along sylamore creek and Blanchard springs flows into it. the trail is approx. 15 miles one way. I go up and back to make 30. you can do it in 2 days but the terrain is rugged but diversified, probably one of the most senic and diversified trails in AR. you can stay at blanchard springs camp ground, gunner pool camp ground, or barkshed. i opt for back country camping.

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