Hiking The Ozarks' Lost Valley

| 8/13/2012 8:25:15 PM

Tags: Mike McArthy, Photozarks, Ozarks, nature, waterfalls, hike, hiking, Arkansas, caves, wildlife, wilderness, streams, bluffs, tunnels, elk, buffalo, river, geology, national parks, rocks, flowers, mosses, native americans, artifacts, beauty, photography, Mike McArthy,

“Getting lost in the Ozarks is part of the fun!” 

 That statement can be no truer then when visiting the Lost Valley near Ponca, Arkansas. This region of the Ozarks is one of the most rugged and uninhabited. The area includes the upper reaches of the Buffalo River and, as natives have said — and visitors will agree — it is “one of the most beautiful spots on God’s green earth.” 

 Wild Elk At Boxley AR 045
Large, wild elk are at home along the Buffalo River. 

This part of canyon-cut, forested Arkansas is in the 95,700-acre Buffalo River National Park. Lost Valley Trail is situated on the upper reaches of the river, on the edge of the Boxley Valley where some farmers still till the soil using a mule, one row at a time, and wild elk roam the river’s meadows. This 2.1-mile hike, round trip, can take your breath away — in more ways than one! — and if you like waterfalls, this adventure is for you. 

Lower Eden Falls 8243 
Lower Eden Falls tumbles more than 50 feet into the canyon below near Cob Cave. 

The name “Lost Valley” is actually a misnomer because it is not lost, nor is it a valley. It’s more of a gorge or canyon with steep walls and Clark Creek running through, under, over, into and out of caves, boulders and ledges. During wet spells the waterfalls are spectacular, and there are lots of ’em. Clark Creek itself is a “losing stream,” which means it disappears underground and then reappears on the surface again down the line, especially during drier periods. The bluffs here are dramatic and spectacular. 

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