Garfield, Arkansas | Approximately 77 miles southwest of Springfield | Level of Difficulty: Moderate to Challenging
5 Reasons to visit Devil’s Eyebrow
Just a quick drive past the Arkansas state line, Devil’s Eyebrow Natural Area is situated at the northern end of Beaver Lake along Indian Creek and its tributaries. It’s an area that’s somewhat unknown to many in the Ozarks, making its 11.8-mile roundtrip hike a perfect unprecedented escape for even the most avid hikers. We talked to Dan Nash, founder and president of Satori Adventures and Expeditions and Hiking the Ozarks, to learn a bit about the area.
There are Plenty of Ways to Make a Splash.
If you’re a fan of waterfalls, visit the Devil’s Eyebrow area after a good rain. That will have the several small and large falls here looking their best. Not visiting in the rainy season? There’s a scenic spring that flows year round about 1.5 miles from the parking area, and you can follow the flow along part of your hike—perfect for those who find serenity from the sound of babbling brooks. If it’s hot, beating that heat is a cinch. Just take off your boots and socks, find one of the area’s flowing creeks, and do a little wading.
You’ll see Rocks that Rock.
One-of-a-kind rock formations are one of the best things about this area. While it’s easy to fall into the habit of “eyes on the trail,” slow down a bit so you can take time to look around, and keep it up at every turn.
It’s Where the Buffalo, er Collared Lizards, Roam.
This is the Ozarks, and we have wildlife everywhere, right? Right. But the wildlife at Devil’s Eyebrow is even more abundant. Thanks to the area’s proximity to Mark Twain National Forest and Beaver Lake, there are plenty of critters roaming about. You’ll find the usual suspects—think deer, turkey, birds—as well as rare creatures like collared lizards and bald eagles.
You’ll See Plants You’ve Never Seen Before.
The wildness at the ’brow doesn’t stop with animals. There are more than 650 species of plants that have been documented here, making it one of the most diverse natural areas in Arkansas.
...And So Much More.
Sure, coming to Devil’s Eyebrow and sticking on the trail will provide you a fun day outdoors and a more-than-sufficient workout. But the area is huge, and there’s so much to explore. If you’re willing to go off trail, you’ll find many more wild and rare plants and even some deep canyons. Live a little!
Buzzard Roost Trail
Clarksville, Arkansas | 125 miles south of Springfield | Level of Difficulty: Moderate
You won’t find the trail to Buzzard Roost on any official websites. But clearly the scenic overlook on U.S. Forest land attracts plenty of visitors. If they know where to look.
Finding Buzzard Roost is a word-of-mouth adventure among fellow hikers, bloggers and outdoor writers. The U.S. Forest Service doesn’t promote it because the unofficial trail to access the area—with rocky outcrops, caves and two natural arches—crosses a small portion of private land. That said, it’s a place worth seeing.
The roughly 4-mile round-trip trail is the means to a scenic end. The trails aren’t marked, but they are easy to follow, says hiking expert Dan Nash.
Nash says Buzzard Roost is an unusual overlook. “Instead of having a regular bluff line, it’s these really cool rock formations the weather and rain and wind have carved,” he says. “It’s a nice little place to explore.”
It’s also a great place to picnic, says Russellville hiker/blogger Danny Hale. The formations (he calls them turtle rocks) are beautiful, but beware of gaps. “You don’t want to fall down between the rocks,” he adds.
Not far from Buzzard Roost is a large natural arch known by some as Rainbow Rock. It’s best accessed by a connector trail (see “Access the Trail”).
From Jasper, take Arkansas 7 south to the junction of Arkansas 123. (Tip: On maps you might see that junction called Pelsor or Sand Gap, Arkansas.) Turn west onto Route 123; in about 4.7 miles, according to Hale, turn left onto a gravel road (called Farm Road 1805, County Road 14 and Treat Road, he says; a “Treat Road” sign has been spotted there in the past).
Travel the gravel road about 6.5 miles until you reach a white house. Park along the road; don’t block driveways or enter private property (including a field east of the house).
Tip: Cellular service might not work in this rather remote area. Bring written directions and a map. Hale also cautions that road signs might be removed during logging season.
Access the trail
Once you park, head down a little road south of the white house, near an old barn. (Some hikers describe it as a four-wheeler path.)
Hale suggests going to the large arch first. Continue straight about 500 feet until the trail turns right a second time. Follow this a short distance to find a trail heading down the hillside, Hale says. This leads to the arch, which has two nice grottos below on either side.
Backtrack to the first intersection, turn toward Buzzard Roost and explore.
After about a mile and a half, you’ll encounter a choice; the path continues straight or offers an offshoot to the right. Go straight to find your way to the large arch, or turn right to head for Buzzard Roost.
Lost Valley Trail
Kingston, Arkansas | 103 miles south of Springfield | Level of Difficulty: Easy
This 1.9-mile hike near the Buffalo National River takes about two hours on foot and leads you through a towering box canyon. It ends at Cobb Cave and a bluff shelter that’s a whole lot of fun to explore. Tip: Consider the weather before you visit. If you go after heavy rains, you’ll have the best chance of seeing flowing waterfalls. If you go when weather conditions have been dry and water levels are low, you can play around in the rocks of the mostly dry riverbed and explore the cave-like area beneath a natural bridge. Both options are fun for kids and grown-ups alike.