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Trail w some bushwhack, 6.0 miles, moderate to difficult, Mike McKinnon Hike Leader.


Day, Date: Saturday, April 6, 2019
Name of Hike: Cecil Cove Trail East: Paige Falls, Broadwater Hollow Falls, and Fantasy (Thunder Canyon) Falls
Location: Buffalo National River between Compton AR and Erbie historical community
Type of Hike: Dayhike, trail (80%) and some non-trail bushwhack (20%)
Hiking Distance: 6.0 miles
Maximum Elevation Difference: 400 ft
Rating: Moderate to difficult due to distance, stream crossings, and some absence of trail; the bushwhack segment to Fantasy (Thunder Canyon) Falls is difficult due to absence of trail on slippery limestone surface into box canyon. (Note: The scramble into the Fantasy Falls box canyon is optional and not a required part of the hike).
Features: This hike begins by descending on a social trail from Broadwater Hollow passing by Paige Falls (8’) and Broadwater Hollow Falls (21’) before joining Cecil Cove Trail on the upper (north) end of Cecil Cove. From there the trail follows Cecil Creek downstream towards the historic Erbie community on an old roadbed through a relatively level, pleasant valley with interesting geologic formations. Other sites include the entrance to Mud Cave (closed) at the upper end of Cecil Cove, an old stone wall, and the Van Dyke spring and beaver dam/pond towards the lower (southern) end of Cecil Cove. Half-way down Cecil Cove is the highlight of the hike: A box side-canyon to Fantasy (Thunder Canyon) Falls (71’), a magical place accessed via scrambling along the sides of a very slippery, water-carved channel through limestone rock. We return to the trailhead upstream to Broadwater Hollow. For more info, see Ken Smith (Buffalo River Handbook, pp. 344-349), or Tim Ernst (Arkansas Waterfalls, 2d ed., pp. 68-71), or Johnny Molloy (50 Hikes in the Ozarks, pp. 80-84). See also the National Geographic, Buffalo National River West—Trails Illustrated, Map No. 232.
Hike Leader: Mike McKinnon (contact hike leader for info)
Telephone & Email: 479-806-2652 (M); or mikemckinnon1@gmail.com
Meeting Place and Time:

  • Meet at Root School on 1529 E Mission Blvd in Fayetteville for carpooling for an 8:30 a.m. departure;
  • or, meet at 9:10 a.m. for a quick-stop at the gas station/store in Marble AR;
  • or, meet at 10:00 a.m. at the JB Trading Company Store (870-420-3065 or www.jbtradingco.com) on AR Hwy 43 in Compton AR. (Note: JB Trading Co. is the former Compton gas-station/store).

Driving Distance: One-way driving distance from the Fayetteville carpool to Compton is 63 miles via AR Hwy 45/US Hwy 412 to Osage AR, then AR Hwys 103/43 to JB Trading in Compton. From Compton, it is another three miles to the trailhead.
Comments: Wear hiking boots, bring water, lunch, rain gear, gloves, water shoes (tennis shoes, sandals, crocs, towel), and insect spray. There are six possible stream crossings and at least one crossing will benefit from water shoes. Wear long pants for poison ivy. No pets are allowed on any hikes, and children under 12 years are discouraged. Participants are required to sign a “liability release” http://www.ozarksociety.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/OS- Sign-Up_Sheet_rev4.pdf at the trailhead to take part in any Ozark Society outing. Everyone is welcome to hike with the OSHC, whether an Ozark Societymember or not.