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King's Bluff Loop Trail Professional Review and Guide
"This woodland loop trail features a sandstone ledge with waterfalls on both sides. This is one of the most photogenic trails in Arkansas, with memorable views and waterfalls. The hike itself is pleasant and not too taxing. We do want to sound a cautionary note, however. Because of the high bluffs and narrow trail, we urge all hikers to beware of the drop-offs. Although children are allowed, we strongly advise against letting anyone under the age of ten hike this trail."
--Janie & Wyatt Jones, Hiking Arkansas (Falcon Guides).
I got lost on the way to to the trail. Be sure to note that it's not listed as King's Bluff Trail on any map, but as Pedestal Rocks.
The two trails are interconnected, and I would suggest taking King's Bluff first. The trail leading to the bluff isn't well marked, but it is just stunning. The canopy is adequate to keep you cool, so you won't sweat a ton getting to where you are going. The wild flowers are abundant, but not so much the wildlife. The bluff itself is impressive, but not a great payoff. The waterfall at the end also fizzled a bit.
What saves this hike is Pedestal Rocks. It's the exact inverse of the Kings Bluff loop: the trail there isn't impressive, but it is very wide, and easy to traverse even for the less experienced. The Rocks themselves, though, are a breathtaking payoff to the hike. The view of the valley from atop one of the rock formations is a just worth it. It's an easy loop back, too, but also easy to get stuck in the loop, as the trail back isn't well marked either.
It's a good hike for begging hikers with good scenary, and Pedestal Rock is worth it, but not mind-blowingly great.
This is one of my favorite areas in Arkansas. The trail would easily be rated as a 5-star trail if only it were better maintained. I have NO IDEA why this guidebook says there are waterfalls on both sides of the ledge; I've been here all seasons of the year and never seen more than the one waterfall. That one waterfall is quite stunning any time of year (as it should be; it's one of the tallest in Arkansas). A word of warning: Even though this trail is quite popular, it is not well-maintained. You could easily be fighting through thick brush and even lose the right trail in several places. Other than that, you can't go wrong with a quick hike along this incredible bluffline. For a longer and more scenic hike, include the Pedestal Rocks loop (it only adds another 2 easy miles, but could easily take an additional 5 hours!). This whole area is full of deep and interesting shelters, but you won't see them if you stay on the trail. That's why winter is a great time for a visit here.
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