Hide Out Hollow is a short, interesting little trail that ends in a great bluff area that offers no only a small waterfall, but also some great views.
To get to the trailhead, go to the community of Compton (5 miles North of Ponca on Highway 43) and turn onto the dirt road at the sign directing you to the Compton Trailhead. (This road is technically Highway 19 that if you have 4 wheel drive will eventually lead to Erbie -- you won't need four wheel drive to get to this trailhead though). Instead of turning right at the sign that points to the Compton Trailhead, stay straight. At about 3.5 miles from the highway (the road will narrow, so it will seem longer) you will see a sign on your left for the Shermerhorn trailhead that also features a little parking area. Park here. The trail heads out behind the sign.
The first part of the trail isn't terribly descript. It heads down a hill a bit (the trail is pretty rocky here) and crosses a couple of small, mostly dry streams. It heads back up and then through a group of pine trees.
At about 3/4 of a mile, the trail begins to get REALLY interesting.
At this point you'll pass a large, flat rock with several other neat rocks around. The trail then heads down the hill and in about 35 yars, you get to the top of the bluff-line. The trail continues on to your left, but there are several volunteer trails to your right. Feel free to explore along these volunteer trails as they follow the bluff line to a lot of neat rock features and excellent views. From here on out be VERY careful about what you do because it is a long fall down.
Back on the trail, the trail will follow near the bluff line for a few hundred yards until you cross a small stream. The stream tumbles over the edge of the bluff creating Hideout Hollow Falls. The Fall is 37 feet tall.
So, at this point you have a couple of options.
The first is to follow the bluffline around the other side of the Hollow. The trail here is a volunteer trail but it is very easy to follow. It will cross over some rocks and up a hill. At the top of the hill is a spectacular view of the Cecil Creek Valley. Also, if you look down, you'll note a couple of HUGE boulders that are part of the bluff that have broken off over the years.
Once you take in the full view, you're probably wondering, how do I get down to see the waterfall from below?
Well, it's a challenge and not a part of a sanctioned trail so you are doing it at your own risk.
Go back to the top of the falls - and if you are looking out over the falls, you'll see a ledge on your left. You will need to follow this ledge out. It is fairly wide, but has an overhang, so the two options here are to crawl on your hands and knees or be on the very edge close to the ledge. Follow this for about 40 yards or so.
At the end of the ledge there are some rocks that have been stacked up to make some "stairs" that you can climb down. Again, I can't stress enough, be careful.
Once to the bottom, there are a lot of interesting things to see. The highligh of course is the waterfall itself.
If you then follow the bluff line to the opposite side from where you came down, there is also the remains of an old dwelling that is pretty cool. This wouldn't have been a bad place to live!
Take your time and explore and then you can head back to the trailhead the way you came in. This is a great little hike with a lot of great views, rock formations and a waterfall - -so there's a little something for everyone.
Distance: 2 miles round trip (plus some exploring once you get to the hollow.
Trail Guide: Tim Ernsts Buffalo River Hiking Trails
Kids: Older kids yes, but keep an eye on them near bluffs and don't try to make it to the bottom with them.
Footwear: Hiking boots -- the beginning of the trail is hard on the ankles without them