by Janie & Wyatt Jones (Falcon Guides)
© 2004 Janie & Wyatt Jones/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.
We hiked the Steel Creek to Kyles landing leg. The scenery and weather were great.
The last place I expected to have such an incredible time hiking, camping, and canoeing was Arkansas! Being from Indiana, I romanticize about spending time in wildly diverse terrain with many things to see and experience...but no one could have ever convinced me that the northwest corner of Arkansas would be such an amazing outdoor playground. Yes, Arkansas! In my research the Buffalo River Region in the Ozarks always ranked really high among hikers. Many people wrote about the sheer bluffs, the great trails, the special scenic spots, and the adventurous Buffalo River. In fact, this particular area was ranked by Trails.com as one of the Top 100 trails in the United States.
Our plan was to spend two days hiking and two days canoeing. We would leave Ponca, hike ten miles to an area close to the unbelievably scenic Hemmed in Hollow, camp overnight and then hike back to Ponca via an alternate trail. We would then spend the night in Ponca and leave for a two day canoeing trip ending downstream at Kyle's Landing. Amazing spots along the way- all of the bluffs, Granny Henderson's, Slaty Place, Hemmed-In Hollow...and bluff jumping. We had an absolute blast!
Had a great 2-day backpack trip with group of 10 boy scouts from Ponca to Erbie on the BRT with a side trip to the horshoe bend near the Hemmed-in Hollow trailhead.
Weather in June was hot and the water was low, but these facts were mitigated because the trail is 95% under canopy and we found some great swimming spots for a cooling break.
My guess is that late April/early May is the best time for this trail.
Buffalo Outdoor Center ferried our cars from Ponca to Erbie.
I did the trail in mid March with a group of 3 friends. We started in Boxley and did the whole trail up through Pruitt. THe scenery was rather fair, mainly because only about 1/4 of the vegetation was starting to bloom. Besides for this the trail and rather many views were quite beautiful. Some advice to others would be to make sure you look for the Trail Head marking signs in Boxley or you will hike up a horrible old logging road. My friends and I were probably the only people to ever make this mistake, but still be looking or you might waste 2-3 hours at the start of your trek. We finished the hike on Thursday and had our car delivered to us by the Lost Valley Canoe Rental station which is one of the many places that will watch your vehicle in the area. I would definatly suggest this hike for all types of backpackers, and the best time to probably go would be around late April or the whole month of May.
We rode horses in from Centerpoint went to horseshoe bend and followed the trail up to hemmed in hollow. Tyed up the horses and walked the rest of the way to hemmed-in-hollow. All I can say is "it was breathtaking"
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