Let me come right out and say it. I love winter hiking in the Ozarks. The leaves fall and give way to beautiful blufflines that have been out of sight for most of the year. The waterfalls begin to fill up again, frozen water near the falls creates a shimmer in the sunlight, and the crowds have died down, to allow you the opportunity to have beautiful areas all to yourself.
On New Year's Eve, we made another trip to one of my favorite areas of the Ozarks - the drive along Falling Water Creek.
This area if full of wonderful scenery- and last year on New Year's Eve we made the trip here to check out Falling Water Falls, another waterfall area near Falling Water Falls, Six Finger Falls, Intersection Falls, and Terry Keefe Falls.
This time, we had a couple of other waterfalls on the list - FuzzyButt Falls and Horsetail Falls.
I talk about the hike to Fuzzy Butt Falls here. Horsetail Falls is along the same trail, and directions to the trailhead are at the link.
As you follow along the horse trail, which is a nice, easy hike, at about .3 you will get to the crossing of a small creek -- and there is a small waterfall and a nice little overlook onto Falling Water Creek here.
If you are just looking for an easy hike, or have younger kids with you, you might consider just staying on the trail and heading directly to Fuzzy Butt Falls. However, if you're up for a little scrambling and bushwhacking and checking out another waterfall, then you'll take a detour here.
At the creek crossing, turn LEFT just before you cross the creek and follow the creek up hill on your left.
There is a slight bit of a trail here, but not much, so when you inevitably lose the trail, don't panic, just continue to follow the creek upstream. You'll mostly be following the creek up on the hill a bit from the creek, but the creek will always be in view on your right.
You will continue scrambling up stream and UP the hill (we didn't have a GPS, but I'm guessing this is about a 200 foot elevation change) -- just find the best way up you can. At about .6 you'll get to Lower Horsetail Falls.
The Lower Horsetail Falls is 70 feet tall and tumbles into a large canyon.
After spending a little time at the Lower Falls, continue your hike UP and to your left around to the top of the falls and continue following the stream another .1 (and another 100 feet of elevation gain) to get to the Upper Horsetail Falls.
Upper Horestail Falls tumbles 31 feet and is visually very interesting. It is also in a nice canyon, and as we were there during winter, there was a a really nice view of the valley down below that we had just hiked up. The bluffs also created a lot of great icicles to enjoy.
When you are done enjoying the scenery, take the bushwhack back down to the trail.
Distance: 1.1 miles roundtrip -- if you're just going to Horsetail Falls. It's roughly .6 additional miles roundtrip from your hike to Fuzzy Butt Falls.
Footwear: Hiking Boots
Trail Guide: Tim Ernst's Arkansas Waterfalls
Star Rating: 4 out of 5