Last month, we were out and about looking at the spectacular fall color in the Ozarks. We stopped by Sam's Throne -- which is one of our favorite spots for viewing fall color.
However, we had a little extra time and we decided to check out another bluff area nearby -- Cave Creek Bluffs. I've never really seen many pictures of the area, but if Tim Ernst felt the need to include it in his Arkansas Nature Lover's Guide I thought it'd be worth checking out.
To get to the Cave Creek Bluffs area, start at the entrance to Sam's Throne and head SOUTH on Highway 123 toward Lurton. At 3.2 miles, turn LEFT onto a small dirt road. There is a "C" painted on one of the trees there. You can pull down the road a little bit and there is a place where it widens where you can park. If you have a high clearance 4wd vehicle, you can drive down the road another .25 miles to a larger parking area -- but the road itself is pretty washed out in spots so you'll need the clearance.
We weren't in the jeep this trip -- so we parked at the first parking area and started our hike down the road. It's a nice little hike and for .25 miles, it's a nice add-on for the trip.
When we arrived at the second parking area, we took a right and headed into the woods and down the hill until we got to the bluff line. I'm not convinced this was the "best" way to go -- but we really didn't see any trails around so it was kind of hard to determine. But the trek down to the bluff line here was pretty simple and short.
As expected, the views from the bluff line were pretty amazing as you look down into the Cave Creek Valley and across a lot of open country.
At the bluff line, we turned LEFT and followed the bluff line to the main vista -- I'm guess this was about .25 miles from initial bluff - so not far. And the view here was fantastic as well with a much cleaner view of the expansive valley below.
If we had gone to the right, there is apparently a walk-down area that will get you to the bottom of the bluff line and into the area where Cave Creek flows. As you can tell from the photos, we had a big storm that came up while we were there so we'll save that for a return trip -- which we'll definitely make soon.
As noted, there are no maintained trails here and only once did we really even catch a trace of an unmaintained trail -- but it does look like a very fun area to explore. I would recommend saving the exploring time for the fall/winter when the undergrowth is less. The undergrowth didn't seem severe, but it will make exploring more difficult.
Distance: I'm estimating that from the first parking area to the vista is about 1 mile round trip.
Difficulty - Moderate -- not a lot of elevation change, but the lack of clear trails make it a bit more challenging.
Kid-Friendly - Older kids will be fine, large drop-offs at the bluffs may make having littles a challenge
Footwear -- Hiking boots are recommended
Map and Guide Book -- Tim Ernst's Arkansas Nature Lover's Guide
Stars: Giving 4 of 5 for now, but can't wait to explore more.
Other destinations nearby: Sam's Throne