Oh Waterfall, Oh Waterfall! -- They're in Abundance in The Natural State
Natural waterfalls. Arkansas wouldn't be The Natural State without them. Since two large mountain ranges cover just about two-thirds of the state, the opportunities are ample to view these awesome natural beauties. Here are some of the more striking waterfalls in Arkansas and directions on how to get to them. A word of caution: some of these are in fairly remote areas so they can be difficult to reach. We've done our best to classify them as to their ease of accessibility. An excellent source for additional waterfall information is "Arkansas Waterfalls Guidebook" by noted Arkansas outdoorsman/photographer Tim Ernst. The book can be ordered from www.Cloudland.net or by calling 1-800-838-HIKE.
OUACHITA MOUNTAINS (west central Arkansas)
Little Missouri Falls -- From Hot Springs, go west on U.S. 70 to Glenwood, then continue on to Salem. At Salem, turn right (west) on Ark. 84 to Langley. At Langley, head north on Ark. 369 where you'll find signs directing you to the falls. Several miles of gravel roads are required to reach the area but the walk to the beautiful waterfalls is easy. It can also be accessed from the Eagle Rock Loop Trail, a challenging backpacking hike, and the Albert Pike Campground.
Cedar Falls - The best known natural waterfall in the state, Cedar Falls is the focal point of Petit Jean State Park near Morrilton. This 95-foot gusher spills into Cedar Creek and can be accessed via the Cedar Falls Trail, which winds through Cedar Creek Canyon to the "splash down." The trip is 2 1/4 miles round trip and is classified as moderate-to-strenuous. The park is located on Ark. 154 southwest of Morrilton.
Cossatot Falls River State Park Natural Area - The park extends from the Ouachita National Forest, near the Ark. 246 bridge on the north, to the Corps of Engineer property on Gillham Lake, south of Ark. 4. The falls can be reached via Weyerhaeuser Road #52200 which runs between Highways 4 and 246 on the east side of the river. From Road 52200, turn west on 52600 which leads to Cossatot Falls. During peak flow time, these falls are floatable, but only by the most experienced canoeists or kayakers. The trip to reach the falls is considered to be moderate to strenuous.
The Falls at Lake Catherine State Park - From I-30, take exit 97 near Malvern and go north 12 miles on Ark. 171. This road will dead end at Lake Catherine State Park. Follow the park signs to the Falls Branch Trail. This trail begins near the campground, winds through the wooded area of the park, and crosses Little Canyon Creek in several places. The beautiful waterfall is located approximately 1/4 mile from the trailhead. This two-mile trail is considered to be easy-to-moderate in difficulty.
OZARK MOUNTAINS (northwest and north-central Arkansas)
Haw Creek Falls -- From Scenic 7 Byway, turn west at Pelsor, which is located 35 to 40 miles north of Russellville, on Ark. 123. The falls will be found adjacent to a small U.S. Forest Service campground of the same name, just a little beyond the Big Piney Creek bridge. The campground is located14 miles north of Hagarville on Ark. 123, or 12 miles west of Pelsor on Ark. 123, and is marked with a sign. Access to this waterfall is considered very easy.
Eden Falls - From Ark. 43 between Boxley and Ponca, turn onto the road to Lost Valley, a unit of the Buffalo National River. Park at the end of the road and follow the signed trail to the bluff shelter. Eden Falls will be found at the far end of the massive overhang. Considered to be a moderate hike to the falls.
Falling Water Falls -- At the junction of Scenic 7 Byway and Ark. 16 at Pelsor, turn east on Ark. 16 to Ben Hur, then go south about 1.5 miles until you reach Forest Service Road 1205. Turn east on this road and remain on it for approximately 3 to 4 miles. You'll be following Falling Water Creek and will come upon the falls to your right. They are easily visible from your vehicle. If you continue on this road another six-to-eight miles, you'll come to Richland Creek Campground, a trailhead for trips back to Richland Falls and Twin Falls.
Triple Falls -- Located in the Buffalo National River Wilderness Area of the Arkansas Ozark Mountains near Camp Orr, a Boy Scout facility. From Jasper,go west on Ark. 74, turning right at the Camp Orr Boy Scout Camp sign. Follow the steep dirt road to the bottom of the valley. There you'll find a sign for Twin Falls -- the waterfall is called both Twin and Triple Falls -- yet the sign says TWIN FALLS. It is then a short and easy hike to see another Natural State wonder. Usually, there are only triple falls when there has been a lot of rainfall. Otherwise, you'll probably just see two.
Kings River Falls Natural Area -- The headwaters area is, of course, no place to float, but it does offer some hiking opportunities. This is one good place in particular, a preserve of the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission. In addition to observing the falls themselves (which drop about 6 feet over a water-sculpted ledge), visitors can inspect a great many interesting plants in the area, and history buffs might try to envision the grist mill which was once located at the site. To get there, travel to the community of Boston, located on Ark. 16. At Boston, go north on the County Road for about 2 miles until the road forks. Keep to the right and continue north for another 2.5 miles or so, at which point the road again forks. Take the left fork, ford the creek, and then park your car to the right. A trail, about three-quarters of a mile along and paralleling the river, leads downstream to the falls.
Richland Falls/Twin Falls -- From I-40 at Russellville, you'll go north for 36 miles on Scenic 7 Byway to Pelsor. Turn east on Ark. 16 and drive approximately 10 miles to Forest Service Rd. 1205. Turn north and go about eight miles to Richland Creek Campground. You'll park at the lower campground and head west on foot, immediately crossing Falling Water Creek. Hike the Richland Creek Trail for about two miles to the confluence of Devil's Fork Creek, then go straight for 1/4 mile. Twin Falls are 1/4 mile up Devil's Fork; Richland Falls is another 1/4 mile up Richland Creek (a topographic map is suggested). These are some of the most picturesque waterfalls in the state but also some of the most difficult to reach. It is considered a difficult trek to reach them.
Hemmed-In Hollow Falls - For a view of this spectacular piece of nature, which is the highest waterfall in Mid-America, ask one of the local outfitters at Ponca for directions. Or check the directions on the Buffalo National River website. You'll have to hike in anywhere from 3.5 to 5 miles (one way), depending on your choice of trailhead. This is also considered a complicated area to access.