I am off work every other Monday so I invited my sister-n-law Cindy to go on a waterfall hunting adventure with me. Cindy is an avid hiker & waterfall hunter fan & has had a hiking group at her church for several years. We were swamping waterfall stories & talking about waterfalls we have seen & not not seen. Cindy mentioned a few waterfalls that were all in the same area & she would be willing to take me there. Easy button answer - Yes!
In our part of the Natural State of Arkansas we travel 1.5 - 2 hours or more to go waterfall hunting. Cindy's plan was to go to Magnolia Falls, Wood Boys Falls & Stahl Falls located in the Upper Buffalo Wilderness area. The weather forecast was for a bright sunny day in the low 60's. This type of day is not exciting for a outdoor photographer however I accepted the challenge of visiting waterfalls I have never seen. We arrived at the trailhead parking area marked by a Wilderness Area sign across the road. It was close to 40 degrees with the wind blowing when we arrived at 10:00am & were were ready with layers of warm clothing. Cindy led the way on our 2.1 mile round trip adventure with her metal hiking poles & me with my custom designed wooden hiking stick crafted by my brother Ricky.
You follow an old jeep trail that takes you through some tall pine trees as you travel through the woods. You will cross over a small creek as you navigate your way on top of the stones in the creek. The trail is easy to follow as you wind through the woods and come up to a stone wall built by settlers that turns you to the the left. As you continue to follow the stone wall you will see some huge boulders with a tree that is growing out of the base of one of these boulders. You will come to a second small creek crossing, the trail spurs to the left. If you continue straight the trail will take you to the valley below to the creek at the base of Wood Boys Falls & on to Hadlock Cascade Falls. For this adventure we took the trail to the left to go to Magnolia Falls.
Magnolia Falls is a 26' waterfall in a beautiful small grotto setting. The flow of the water was running well, the morning light was harsh for my camera lens, however I worked different angles in an attempt to diffuse the light. Because of the recent cold temperatures, we were fortunate to see several ice sickle formations on the grotto walls. Ice formations are always what I call bonus coverage to see and experience. A few yards downstream & you are on top of Wood Boys Falls. Wood Boys Falls is a 33' waterfall that runs over the edge of the top of the bluff. There are several tree branches that are in the view of the falls so a perfect camera shot is not possible unless you take the trail to the base of the falls. Cindy spotted a small rainbow at the base of a drainage coming off of the bluff line on the right of the falls, Now that is bonus coverage
After spending a couple of hours capturing these falls with our cameras, we traveled upstream to cross the creek to follow the bluff line to Stahl Falls. Once you cross the creek you go back downstream and you will have a great view of the top of Magnolia Falls. Keep following the beaten path along the bluff line to where it curves to the right. You are now on the top of Stahl Falls. There was no water flow on this particular day. You could see the bluffs where they were wet from the recent waterfall activity. Well at least now I know how to get to this 63' waterfall. We returned upstream along the bluff line, crossing the creek again, waved bye to Magnolia Falls and Wood Boys Falls and picked up the trail again going back to the trail head.
It was now 2:00pm in the afternoon & it was time to find some lunch. Granola bars & water can only last me so long. Back in my Toyota truck we headed to Boxley Valley on the way to the Ozark Cafe in Jasper. After a most glorious lunch at this cafe that was established in 1909, we traveled back down the highway to Ponca on the way to a small community named Compton. This area has several waterfalls to explore and experience. It was my turn to show Cindy some waterfalls she had never seen. The road to Paige Falls is a rough & rugged dirt road. Let me repeat "rough", it is a road that has numerous rocks that at times you have too slowly climb across & avoid the high rocks in the road by dodging them. This road is only one vehicle wide in several areas with a few places to move over for another vehicle.
The creek is on the right as you approach the 2.1 mile mark. You will see a pull off area on the left to park. I actually park just pass the creek that goes across the road. There is enough of the road to share with others that live up the road. Follow the creek downstream & you will arrive at Paige Falls. There are two short trails you can take to the falls. One path goes below a large boulder & then back up to the trail, the other path takes you above the large boulder to the trail that leads to the falls. Paige Falls is only a 8' waterfalls however it has a beautiful turquoise pool. Bonus coverage alert - several yards downstream the creek is Broadwater Hollow Falls. This is a 21' waterfall that begins with a cascade. Take your time & explore this area.
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