Began on a Saturday morning having breakfast with some friends. Then on the road to chase waterfalls around 9:30am. Today's adventure was to conquer Pack Rat Falls and Upper Pack Rat Falls. Heading down I-40 East towards Russellville took exit 81 which is the Highway 7 exit. Took a left and headed towards Highway 7 North. As you are going through Dover the road comes to a T; it's either left or right, left to follow Highway 7 North. Well this was one of those times I was not paying attention to the road signs so I turned right. Soon I discovered I was traveling down Highway 27 North, basically running parallel to Highway 7 just several miles away. Now I am going through the small town of Hector. I decide to pull over and open up the Google Maps apps. I type in Haw Creek Recreation Area and let the Google Maps lady direct me to my waterfall destination.
As directed by Google I turned left onto a well maintained gravel road heading West. As I drove I came across several old rustic barns. I love old barns and homesteads, hope you also do. In fact if you did not know it I have a Facebook group - https://www.facebook.com/groups/oldbarns/ - which features old rustic barns and old homesteads located in Arkansas. I made myself a note to make a return visit to this area to take photos of these old rustic barns. After a few miles the road turned into pavement. Google Maps let me know I was getting close to Highway 7 South. Taking a left I followed Highway 7 South then turning right towards Hagarsville. Staying on this highway I picked up HIghway 123, the road to Haw Creek Recreation Area.
You will see a brown wooden Haw Creek Recreation Area sign - http://www.exploretheozarksonline.com/…/hawcreekfallscamp.h… Turning in you immediately come to a low water bridge going across a creek. The water was running a few inches over the bridge which made for a nice splash effect as I crossed over slowly. There were a few vehicles parked around the campground. This is a primitive campground with 9 family units with no electrical hookups which makes for nice tent camping, trailer or vehicle camping. The campground is basically horseshoe shaped. As you drive through you will come to a small parking area located near the restrooms. Across from the parking area is a short path to Haw Creek Falls. Haw Creek Falls is very popular waterfall because of its easy access. The falls is 6' high and about 40' wide and the water pool is a popular place for cooling off. There are so many angles for photography for this waterfall.
You ready, go with me on my adventure to Pack Rat Falls, a 24' waterfall. The photo listed above is Upper Pack Rat Falls. Get your camera, phone, GoPro and gear, I highly recommend a hiking stick or a pair of hiking poles. Walk to the back of the campground and follow the creek to Pack Rat Falls, only .25 mile up the creek. This is a moderate to strenuous hike, not typical family friendly. Lots of slick rocks and narrow trail areas along the creek edges. So be careful, take your time, choose your footing wisely. This creek is so beautiful with moss covered rocks and trees and many small flowing cascades. There are several ways to get to the falls, You will see narrow trails along both sides of the creek. I seem to find myself crossing back and forth across the creek choosing the best way for me to get to the falls. Several trees have fallen and are in and around the creek are moss covered. Reminder while crossing a creek, rocks can be slick especially moss covered rocks. I can now hear a faint roar of the waterfall and after going about 50 more yards I can see the top of the waterfall. Here we go.
Pack Rat Falls is located in a small wide canyon surrounded by steep hillsides. The roar of a waterfall especially when it is right in front of you always gets my adrenaline going even quicker than normal. The lower canyon walls are moss covered which makes for an incredible setting. I usually stay up to 2 hours shooting photos at a waterfall. Capturing different angles while adjusting and readjusting my tripod takes time plus changing manual settings on my camera. While moving around to shoot another angle I placed my foot on a large slanted rock and there I went going down on my backside. I slid down slowly and was not hurt. Of course you always have to make time to move closer to feel the spray coming off the waterfall. This is only my second time of visiting Pack Rat Falls, if you are an avid waterfall chaser you have to add this one to your bucket list. Sometime after my first visit here I had learned there was another waterfall above Pack Rat Falls. It was time now for the next part of this adventure to go see Upper Pack Rat Falls.
As I had mentioned earlier this waterfall is surrounded by steep hillsides so the only way to get to Upper Pack Rat Falls is to climb up. I looked around for the path of least resistance and decided to go up the east hillside next to a large fallen tree. After going slowly and slipping some I made it up the hillside to find a narrow trail that leads to a small bluff overlooking the creek down below. Time to descend down the narrow trail that leads to Upper Pack Rat Falls. There it was the familiar waterfall roar. I was really excited about this particular waterfall because I knew it was going to be amazing to experience. As I turned left into the very small canyon area, my much anticipated expectation of Upper Pack Rat Falls became real. Words like amazing, incredible, beautiful all have to be used to describe the view of this waterfall. As you walk into this small canyon it narrows and moss is covering almost everything in your sight. The waterfall was really flowing and the roar was intense. The moss on the lower canyon wall was so thick and added another level of beauty that I have never seen at a waterfall. I was so happy I had made the extra effort to visit this waterfall.
Watching the overhead gray skies it was time to make the short journey back to Pack Rat Falls, down the creek and back to my vehicle. I climbed back up the steep hillside and now to choose the best path down the steep hillside to the creek located below. As I was coming down the hillside I started sliding and sliding, I did one of my quick "Help me God" prayers for my hiking boots to gain back traction which finally they did. WOW! - that was thrilling and fun at the same time. On the way back out a couple was coming up the creek heading to Pack Rat Falls. I told them about about Upper Pack Rat Falls and showed them a few pics from my camera and told them to also enjoy this waterfall they did not know existed. I slipped one more time onto my pride and was ready to get to level ground. Now back to the campground and walking back to my vehicle, I noticed a family photo session going on at Haw Creek Falls so I decided to let them enjoy their time together and will take photos of this waterfall on my next trip.
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