We know that like us, your family will be completely taken with the incredible beauty of the area.
There are so many trails to explore. Please note that while many of the Buffalo National River trails are well marked and easy to follow, there are many reasons you might get off trail and be unable to find your way back.
Adopt the safety procedure we use: always make sure someone knows what trail you have taken, and what time you left. Put a note on the table or send us a quick text saying how many in your party and where you are planning to hike. A little information can go a long way to speeding up any rescue efforts.
Pack extra water and nutrient rich snacks. You never know when you might need that little extra energy boost while out in nature.
Good sturdy footwear and a fleece jacket during cool weather is very important to ensuring you have the best possible experience.
Remember that your cabin is located on a mountaintop and Fall through Spring, and even some Summer mornings, will be much cooler than most places so be sure to bring jackets and warmer clothing than is typical.
(Ranked by distance from Mountain Springs Cabins)
LOW GAP CAFÉ -- LOW GAP, AR
Follow Hwy 74 headed toward Jasper. 10 miles from Mountain Springs Cabins.
Italian & American food in an unassuming setting as you are crossing the mountains to Jasper. Great live music featuring local bands on weekends.
Phone ahead to check hours: 870-861-5848. Tell them Rick and Rayne sent you!
BOARDWALK CAFÉ -- JASPER, AR
On Hwy 7, at the old water wheel in downtown Jasper, AR. 20 miles from Mtn. Springs Cabins.
Specializing in locally sourced farm fresh food, you can find a great selection of exciting introductions to elk, buffalo, and other great food.
OZARK CAFÉ – JASPER, AR
On Jasper Square across from the Courthouse. 20 miles from Mtn. Springs Cabins.
Try the burgers and shakes. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner 7 days a week.
BLUE MOUNTAIN BAKERY AND CAFÉ – JASPER, AR
On Jasper Square. 20 miles from Mtn. Springs Cabins.
They make everything from scratch, and serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
CLIFF HOUSE INN RESTAURANT – JASPER, AR
6 miles south of Jasper on Hwy 7. 25 miles from Mtn. Springs Cabins.
Overlooking the Arkansas Grand Canyon, enjoy a spectacular view of the Ozark Mountains while having breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Hiking the Buffalo
TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL HIKE:
- Use a guidebook and map to plan your hike. Two good resources we recommend are the Buffalo River Handbook and the National Geographic waterproof map of the Buffalo National River (West half or East half depending on where you want to hike), these can be purchased from local outfitters or at least upload a trail map to your phone from AllTrails.com.
- Be sure to closely monitor the weather. The day can change without obvious warning.
- Carry a small lightweight pack filled with necessities. First aid, water, nutrient dense snacks, and a small flashlight are a good idea. Don’t overload yourself, but do prepare for the worst case scenarios.
- Layer your clothing. It is easy to adjust your temperature by adding or removing light layers. A fleece jacket is a must during cooler weather.
- Always use sunblock. You unfortunately will not realize you have burned until it is too late.
- Carry your cellphone. You won’t always have service, so turn it off to preserve battery life. You want to have it in case of emergency. Always let someone know where you are hiking, how many in your party, and what time you are hiking.
- Always obey trail markers and rules. Help us preserve this incredible natural resource for all to enjoy! Cardinal rule is to leave nothing and take nothing. Note that no glass containers are allowed around the River area.
OUR FAVORITE HIKES:
Without a doubt, a person could hike a lifetime and not get the chance to fully explore the trails available. But, there are some favorites that we love to introduce every newcomer to. If you want more information or recommendations, don’t hesitate to ask. We love sharing our area with you!
Eagles Rest Cabin is situated on 56 acres with private use of the trail system for Mountain Springs Cabin guests. Trails wind through woods, pasture, next to year-round spring or leading to a beautiful bluff with overhang, pretty picnic spot and year-round pool of spring water with occasional waterfall. You'll see a wooden directional marker leading from your front door and throughout your hike.
Be careful when crossing the spring; the rocks are slick. There is no fence at the bluff line, so please be careful not to fall.
AREA HIKING TRAILS
(from upper to middle Buffalo River)
Distance: 1.1 miles round trip
Features a natural bridge, a bluff line, two caves, and seasonal waterfall, and rock shelter
Directions: 50 min (36.4 miles) via AR-21 S and AR-16 E about 6 miles on south side of road.
GPS: 35.86041, -93.2292
GLORY HOLE FALLS
Distance: 2 miles round trip
Features one of the most famous waterfalls in Arkansas
Directions: 33 min (24.4 miles) via AR-43 S and AR-21 S
GPS: 35.82595, -93.39737
HAWK’S BILL CRAG
Distance: 2.7 miles round trip
Features a rock formation that juts out from the bluff’s face and overlooks a huge valley.
Directions: 40 min (18.9 miles) via AR-43 S and Co Rd 5
GPS: 35.8982, -93.45796
SMITH CREEK PRESERVE
Distance: 5.7 miles round trip
Features a beautiful creek, boulders, and a waterfall.
Directions: 20 min (14.1 miles) via AR-43 S and AR-21 S
GPS: 35.935067, -93.386583
LUALLEN SPRING at BOXLEY VALLEY
Features a spring that many locals drink from. The water is regularly tested and safe to drink. Take a water bottle to fill up. At the parking lot, walk towards the old barn to get to the spring.
Directions: 18 min (12.9 miles) via AR-43 S
GPS: 35.9444, -93.3994
Distance: 2.3 miles round trip
Features the most popular hiking trail in the upper Buffalo River area. Barrier free stretch, suitable for families. Eden Falls, Native American shelter, waterfall in cave, outstanding spring wildflowers.
Directions: 11 min (7.2 miles) via AR-43 S
GPS: 36.00787, -93.36625
PONCA TO STEEL CREEK
Distance: 4 miles round trip
Features small waterfalls, views of the river, and rock columns
Directions: 11 min (6.5 miles) via AR-43 S
GPS: 36.021727, -93.354261
STEEL CREEK OVERLOOK
Distance: 3 miles round trip
Features a big sweeping view of Roark Bluff.
Directions: 15 min (8.5 miles) via AR-43 S
GPS: 36.040595, -93.341553
BIG BLUFF/ GOAT TRAIL
Distance: 6 miles round trip
Features a big view of the Buffalo River combined with a world-class geologic experience. It takes 4 to 5 hours to complete the round-trip hike. It's basically uphill all the way back (2.5 miles). This is another trail on which you'll want to have plenty of water and a hearty snack along, as well as possess a reasonably good physical fitness level in order to enjoy.
Directions: 4 min (2.4 miles) via AR-103 and AR-43 S
GPS: 36.064023, -93.360244
Distance: 6.1 miles round trip
Features a 250 ft. waterfall, the tallest between the Rocky and Appalachian Mountains. The hike back out is a 2.5-mile uphill climb.
Directions: 11 min (6.5 miles) via AR-43 N
GPS: 36.081208, -93.303235
Distance: 2 miles round trip
Features one of the prettiest waterfall areas in Buffalo River. The fall is easily 37 feet tall with the surrounding bluff line.
Directions: 19 min (8.9 miles) via AR-43 N and Co Rd 19
GPS: 36.073017, -93.265046
Distance: 4.7 miles round trip
Features a waterfall and is one of the most strenuous and ruggedly beautiful day hikes in the Buffalo River area.
Directions: 37 min (18.1 miles) via AR-43 S and AR-74 E
GPS: 36.054918, -93.281638
TWIN FALLS / TRIPLE FALLS
Distance: 0.3 miles round trip
Features a beautiful Twin Falls, which runs with THREE waterfalls after a heavy rain!
Directions: 39 min (18.2 miles) via AR-43 S and AR-74 E
GPS: 36.056562, -93.257717
CECIL LOOP COVE
Distance: 6.7-mile loop trail
Features a river, bluffs, historic homesteads, an old cemetery, and several hidden waterfalls.
Directions: 52 min (29.7 miles) via AR-43 N
GPS: 36.083934, -93.233100
Perhaps the most popular animal of all to visitors is the majestic elk, which was reintroduced to the area beginning in 1981. Elk were native to the Ozark hardwood forest, but were hunted into extinction back in the mid-1800's. Fortunately, through a successful management effort of the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission, over 800 elk now roam the Buffalo National River. In fact, the elk have thrived and reproduced so well that an annual elk hunt is now coordinated by the commission.
A large heard of elk can frequently be seen in the fields of the Boxley Valley (Hwy 43 South from Ponca), especially in the fall, winter, and spring of the year. Field grasses offer them ample food during those seasons, however, once warmer weather and tree leaves appear, elk tend to move into the forest for shade and to feed on the tender foliage.
PONCA ELK EDUCATION CENTER -- PONCA, AR
HILARY JONES WILDLIFE MUSEUM AND ELK INFORMATION CENTER – JASPER, AR
Location: 7 Byway, eight miles south of Harrison
Location: 6386 Hwy. 21 North, Berryville, AR 72616
HURRICANE RIVER CAVE
Location: 15 miles south of Harrison on Hwy. 65
Float the River
BUFFALO OUTDOOR CENTER -- PONCA, AR
LOST VALLEY CANOE -- PONCA, AR
BUFFALO RIVER CANOES -- MT. SHERMAN, AR
Guided Raft: $55pp/day (minimum of 4)
Fishing Guide Services
The Buffalo National River is wholly unique in that it is one of the last remaining pristine watersheds in the United States. As the nation’s first designated National River, the Buffalo stands alone as an exceptional place. Anglers can find plentiful bass, perch, and catfish along the length of the river. All fishing on Arkansas waterways requires a fishing license, which helps to support conservation efforts. You may buy your license at any of the official outfitters, or directly from the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission.
If trout are more your desired fish, the White River is world-renowned for trophy trout. Located in the next county over, about 60 miles from Mountain Springs Cabins.
WHITE BUFFALO RESORT -- BUFFALO CITY, AR
Directions: At the confluence of the White and Buffalo River.
WILD BILL’S OUTFITTER -- YELLVILLE, AR
Directions: On Hwy 14, just 1 mile off the Buffalo River.
TIPS TO REDUCE IMPACT
- Don’t tie horses directly to trees. Use picket lines
- Tie them at least 100 feet away from any water course and off trail.
- Pack your feed and don’t allow them to graze.
- Stay on established trail so you don’t widen it or even create new paths.
- Remove or scatter manure from camp areas, trailheads, and loading areas.
RIMROCK COVE RANCH – PONCA, AR
Trail rides: $35/hour/person, $50 minimum/group
Hay rides: $20/hour/person
BUFFALO RIVER OUTFITTERS – ST. JOE, AR
Trail rides: $50/person