Want to hike in the Natural State? Arkansas that is....
If you are looking to find a great spot to hike, head South from Branson MO to Ponca, AR, which is about 20 miles south of Harrison. Ponca is known for the Elk herds in Boxley Valley, and is home to the Buffalo National River. The area offers a wide variety of trails, as well as canoeing, and horseback riding.
Our day started off bright and early, getting to Ponca around 7:30 am. It was perfect timing. The fog was just lifting out of Boxley Valley as we arrived. Just outside of Ponca, we see a herd of cows with calves grazing in the fields. After watching them for a while in amazement, we continued down past the beaver dam and Trumpeter Swans to find a herd of bull Elk. Just down the road a few Elk crossed the road right in front of us, taking their time, and not bothered at all by the few cars that were stopped taking their pictures.
We made our way up a long steep gravel road to Hawksbill Crag Trail. We were the first ones to arrive that morning, just in time to see the sun pop over the ridge. The rock formations on this trail are absolutely amazing, and the views are spectacular.
We headed back into town to the local general store and deli to grab a sandwich, which we took to the river bank to enjoy. After fueling back up, we headed to Lost Valley Trail. This trail is just outside of town and leads you to a cave and a couple water falls.
There are several other trails in the area to enjoy. These two are the most popular, and well traveled by many visitors. We hiked a total of about 5 miles, and made it back to Branson by 3pm. It was a great day trip that is not too far from home, and I plan on going back very soon.
Hawksbill Crag Trail--The trail's destination is the "Crag", a rock formation that juts out from the bluff's face that resembles a hawk's beak. It overlooks Whitaker Creek and a huge valley stretching for a long distance. but this is not all, in the spring and fall rainy season you can discover a number of waterfalls. Trail is 3 miles Round trip.
Lost Valley Trail is a 2.3 mile out and back trail that features a 53 ft. tall waterfall, a natural bridge, caves, a 30ft. waterfall inside the cave, large boulders and more. The area is jammed pack of scenic wonders on a easy trail.