Best Hiking Trails in Southwestern Missouri and Northwestern Arkansas

devil’s eyebrow

Garfield, Arkansas | About 77 miles southwest of Springfield | Difficulty level: moderate to difficult

5 reasons to visit Devil’s Eyebrow

A short drive from the Arkansas state line, Devil’s Eyebrow Natural Area is located at the north end of Beaver Lake along Indian Creek and its tributaries. It’s a somewhat unknown area to many in the Ozarks, which makes its 12 mile round trip hike an unparalleled perfect escape for even the most avid hiker. We spoke to Dan Nash, Founder and President of Satori Adventures and Expeditions and Hiking the Ozarks, to learn a little more about the area.

There are many ways to make a splash.

If you are a fan of waterfalls, visit the Devil’s Eyebrow area after a good rain. This will allow the several small and large falls here to be at their best. Not visiting during the rainy season? There is a scenic spring that flows year round about 1.5 miles from the parking area, and you can follow the current along part of your hike – perfect for those who find serenity in the sound babbling streams. If it’s hot, beating that heat is a cinch. Just kick off your boots and socks, find one of the sinking creeks in the area, and do a bit of wading.

You will see Rocks that Rock.

The one-of-a-kind rock formations are one of the best things about this area. While it’s easy to get into the habit of “eyes on the track”, slow down a bit so you can take the time to look around and maintain it through every turn.

This is where the buffaloes, uh the collared lizards, roam.

It’s the Ozarks, and we have wildlife everywhere, don’t we? Law. But Devil’s Eyebrow wildlife is even more abundant. Thanks to the area’s proximity to the Mark Twain National Forest and Beaver Lake, many creatures roam. You’ll find the usual suspects – think deer, turkey, birds – as well as rare critters like collared lizards and bald eagles.

You will see plants you have never seen before.

The savagery of the front does not stop at the animals. There are over 650 plant species that have been documented here, making it one of the most diverse natural areas in Arkansas.

…And more.

Of course, coming to Devil’s Eyebrow and staying on the trail will give you a fun day outdoors and more than enough of a workout. But the region is huge and there is so much to explore. If you’re willing to venture off the beaten path, you’ll find plenty of other wild and rare plants and even deep canyons. Live a little!

Buzzard Roost Trail

Clarksville, Arkansas | 200 km south of Springfield | Difficulty level: Moderate

You won’t find the trail to Buzzard Roost on any official website. But it’s clear that the panoramic view of America’s forest land attracts many visitors. If they know where to look.

Finding Buzzard Roost is a word-of-mouth adventure between hikers, bloggers and outdoor writers. The U.S. Forest Service doesn’t promote it because the unofficial trail to access the area — complete with rocky outcrops, caves, and two natural arches — crosses a small stretch of private land. That said, it is a place worth visiting.

Why go?

The approximately 4 mile round trip trail is the way to a scenic end. The trails aren’t marked, but they’re easy to follow, says hiking expert Dan Nash.

Nash says Buzzard Roost is an unusual point of view. “Instead of having a regular bluff line, it’s these really cool rock formations that weather and rain and wind have sculpted,” he says. “It’s a nice little place to explore. »

It’s also a great place to picnic, says Russellville hiker/blogger Danny Hale. The formations (he calls them turtle rocks) are nice, but watch out for the gaps. “You don’t want to fall between the rocks,” he adds.

Not far from Buzzard Roost is a large natural arch known to some as Rainbow Rock. It is best to access it by a connector trail (see “Accessing the trail”).

Go for it

From Jasper, take Arkansas 7 south to the Arkansas 123 junction. (Tip: On maps, you might see this junction called Pelsor or Sand Gap, Arkansas.) Turn west on the road 123; in about 4.7 miles, according to Hale, turn left onto a gravel road (called Farm Road 1805, County Road 14 and Treat Road, he says; a “Treat Road” sign has been spotted there in the past).

Travel the gravel road for about 6.5 miles until you reach a white house. Park along the road; do not block driveways or enter private property (including a field east of the house).

Tip: Cellular service may not work in this rather remote area. Bring written instructions and a map. Hale also warns that road signs could be removed during the logging season.

Access the trail

Once parked, go down a small road south of the white house, near an old barn. (Some hikers describe it as a four-wheel trail.)

Hale suggests going to the big arch first. Go straight for about 500 feet until the trail turns right a second time. Follow it a short distance to find a trail down the hill, Hale says. This leads to the arch, which has two beautiful caves below on either side.

Go back to the first intersection, turn to Buzzard Roost and explore.

After about a mile and a half you will come across a choice; the path continues straight or has a right fork. Go straight to head for the big arch or turn right to head for Buzzard Roost.

Lost Valley Trail

Kingston, Arkansas | 103 miles south of Springfield | Difficulty level: Easy

This 2 mile hike near the Buffalo National River takes about two hours on foot and takes you through a towering box canyon. It ends at Cobb Cave and a very fun bluff shelter to explore. Tip: Consider the weather before you go. If you go after heavy rain, you’ll have the best chance of seeing flowing waterfalls. If you go when the weather is dry and the water levels are low, you can play in the rocks of the usually dry river bed and explore the cave-like area under a natural bridge. Both options are fun for kids and adults.