Deer Trail Falls is another waterfall near Big Piney Creek and should be explored while you are checking out other waterfalls in the area, including Rock Creek Bluff Falls and Big Buck Falls. This is a recreation area used by climbers, ATV riders and fishermen, but not super-accessible and we only saw one other group hiking while we were there on a holiday weekend.
The parking area for Deer Trail Falls is actually the same parking area as for Rock Creek Bluff Falls unless you have a high-clearance 4WD vehicle AND the water is not extremely high.
To get there, go to the community of Deer (14.5 miles south of Jasper on Highway 7 and then WEST 2.4 miles on Highway 16).
Travel 11.7 miles (set your odometer) on FR 1202/Parker Ridge Road/Hwy 30. This is a gravel road, but pretty well maintained. Once you get to the bottom of the mountain, turn RIGHT onto FR 1002 along Big Piney Creek about .6 miles and park in the parking area before crossing Rock Creek.
The hike is to Deer Trail Falls is mostly along FR 1002. You will go just past the parking area and wade across Rock Creek.
After crossing the creek, continue hiking along FR 1002 for 1 mile. The road is narrow and very scenic, and mostly follows along Big Piney Creek.
At approximately 1.2 miles, the road will curve to the right, and then back to the left. At the back of the "U" curve there is a creek that enters from the right. This is the creek that makes up Deer Trail Falls. If you had a high clearance 4WD and decided to drive through the creek crossing - you can drive to this point and there is another parking area just a little past this creek and you can park and walk back.
Creek as it flows by FR 1002.
To get to the falls, you will follow this creek upstream roughly .2 miles to get to the falls. There is not trail to the falls, and we found the area to the LEFT of the creek to be the most easily navigated. You'll climb up the hill across some rocks and trees and it will eventually level out and you'll get fairly far away from the creek but it will still be visible.
At some point you may spot an actual deer trail that will lead take you to the falls, but mostly you should just plan to bushwhack your way to the falls. I'm not going to lie, this isn't an easy bushwhack.
Deer Trail Falls is a really nice 55 foot tall falls that has a nice cascade followed by a pretty steep falls that then filters through some fallen rock into a small pool below.
The Deer Trail continues along the bluff line and back behind the falls -- so be sure to check it all out.
When you are done, you can go back to the main road and either head back to your car, or continue on to Big Buck Falls (which we attempted, but did not succeed in finding).
Distance: Roughly 2.5 miles round trip. 3.6 miles if you also include the hike to Rock Creek Bluff Falls.
Difficulty: Moderate-difficult -- the road section is a flat, easy hike, but the Bushwhack from the road to the falls is a steep climb with tough footing. Plus, there is a water-crossing to start.
Footwear: Water Shoes (for the water crossing) and then sturdy hiking boots
Kid-Friendly: Older kids should be ok
Trail Guide: Tim Ernst's Arkansas Waterfalls (2nd Edition)
Star Rating: 4 of 5
We hiked this trail Memorial Day 2015 -- I would recommend doing this trail earlier in the spring before things get grown up as it would make the bushwhack a little more manageable.
Other waterfalls in the area include Rock Creek Bluff Falls, Big Buck Falls and Car Wash Falls.