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Ponca Wilderness

Owner: Buffalo National River

Trailhead Location: This wilderness area is most easily reached by canoe from the Ponca Bridge or Steel Creek. The north side is accessible by hiking in off Hwy. 43 north of Ponca from either of two trailheads: the Center Point Trailhead 3 miles north of Ponca and the Compton Trailhead 1 mile south of Compton. The south side is accessible by hiking in from Steel Creek or Kyle’s Landing Campgrounds.

Description: 11,300 acres featuring scenic waterfalls, majestic bluffs, ancient caves, mountain streams, historic homesteads and rough terrain. From the Compton trailhead, a 2 1/2-mile hiking trail leads to Hemmed-In-Hollow Falls and a 4 1/2-mile equestrian/hiking trail travels down Sneed’s Creek and connects with the Hemmed-In-Hollow access. From Center Point, an old road provides a hike of four miles down to the mouth of Sneed’s Creek on the Buffalo, connecting with the other trails. From the Center Point Trail, a short spur trail provides access to the Goat Trail, a narrow ledge trail on the side of Big Bluff. The Buffalo River Trail, on the south side of the river, travels through the heart of the southern portion of the Ponca Wilderness between Steel Creek and Kyle’s Landing. A spur trail links the Buffalo River Trail to the river and the trails system on the north side.