Buffalo River Weekend
I took off after work Friday afternoon and headed to Rogers to pick up Carrie. We had made plans to meet up with Abbi at Steel Creek Campground that night. On my way to Rogers we found out that Steel Creek was full and she was going to try to get a site at Kyle’s Landing. I picked up Carrie, ran by Chick-Fil-a to grab some dinner, and headed toward Kyles Landing. We arrived about 8:45 and met up with Abbi, set up our tent, and discussed our plans for Saturday and Sunday. We hit the bed about 10:30 with plans to be up at 5:00 to get to Hawksbill Crag before the crowds.
Saturday morning we were up early, arrived at the trailhead about 6:30 and took off through the dark toward Hawksbill Crag. The trail drops down a hill over the first mile and then levels off on a ridge overlooking the valley. As we approached the Crag we could see that there were already about 10-12 people sitting there enjoying the sunrise over the valley. As light filled the day, we got some great pictures of Hawksbill Crag at sunrise and as the early morning light filled the valley below. After enjoying the view we were back on the trail reaching the parking lot well before the large onset of hikers arrived for the day.
After a quick stop at Buffalo Outdoor Center to pick up some ice and souvenirs, we arrived at Lost Valley and headed up the trail. There had been quite a bit of washout on the trail since we were there 2 years ago, but we made it to the natural bridge in a short time. There was a slow trickle coming under the bridge and we proceeded up toward Eden Falls. Again, just a small trickle here as well. We headed up the the cave opening and I was able to climb to the back of the cave and see the trickle pour from the ceiling as well. After taking a quick break we were back on the trail to the parking lot. We grabbed our lunch food and enjoyed chicken salad sandwiches on the picnic tables under the pavilion. Now to decide on where to go this afternoon
Kings River Falls
We decided to head to Kings River Falls in the afternoon and Google maps identified the most remote roads for the trip. After a one hour drive to go 25 miles we found the trail head for Kings River Falls. The trail followed the mostly dry Kings River for about 1/2 mile before we actually saw some water flow. The flow increased as we approached the falls and we were able to get some pictures of the waterfall. The pool under the waterfall was quite deep and people were swimming and jumping in from above the falls. After a short rest we hiked back out to the truck discovering a rough Green Snake near the trail. Back in the truck we headed to our next hike.
Alum Cove Trail
We drove to Alum Cove for our last hike of the day and started down the trail. This is a 1.1 mile loop hike and begins after a short descent crossing over a natural bridge. We followed the trail around the loop and saw numerous overhangs, an arch, and several caves along the route. Near the end we came across a waterfall and finally to the bottom of the natural bridge. Climbing back up to the top of the bridge we followed the trail back to the parking lot and started our drive back to camp
Back at Kyle’s Landing we started the grill, cooked brats, cleaned up and reflected on the days activities. With about 11 miles hiked it was a full and adventure filled day. Tomorrow should be a little lighter with just a hike to Big Bluff on the Buffalo River planned for the day.
Big Bluff Trail (Goat Trail)
We were up early again Sunday morning cooking sausage and scrambled eggs for breakfast burritos. After finishing breakfast we broke camp and packed up. We were on the road to Centerpoint Trailhead at 6:48. The sun was just rising as we began the hike down the Centerpoint Trail. This trails drops down about 1,000 feet from the trailhead to the big bluffs. As we hiked down the trail we heard thunder in the distance and got about 10 minutes of rain before reaching the turn off to Big Bluff. Once at the bluff we were able to get some great pictures of the river valley. After a short break and time to enjoy the view we headed back up the trail. The going was a little slower on the way back up but we were back to the trailhead before noon and heading back to home. This hike was a great ending to a great weekend at the Buffalo National River.