Lost Valley Trail in Arkansas, waterfalls and a walk through a lush forest!
Updated: Apr 23
Lost Valley Trail near Ponca, one of the most popular hiking trails in Arkansas, turned out to be one of my favorite trails EVER! Arkansas.....so lush, so green, it ever does justice to it's moniker, the "the natural state." If you love nature, you are going to love Arkansas. As we walked down this beautiful trail, which is located in the Buffalo River National Park, it was evident that we were definitely not in Kansas anymore.
Lost Valley trail is a well maintained 2.1 mile (out and back) trail. The first 1/2 mile is wheelchair accessible! Our GPS did a fine job of taking us to the trail head, located off of highway 43, just 2 miles outside of Ponca.
Note: this area is heavily visited on the weekends, but on a Tuesday midday we didn't meet many people on the trail.
There isn't a whole lot else to say about this trail, so I'll let the video and photos speak for themselves.
Here's a map of the trail:
The following are essentially in chronological order as you head down the trail.
This is the first little waterfall you come to on the trail. I imagine the water flow varies, depending on the time of the year, and amount of rain in the area.
Stairs...there are so many stairs on this trail. I loved them! but if you don't, again there is a good 1/2 mile at the beginning of this trail that is wheelchair accessible, so easy walking. However, I believe that to reach either of the falls, you will need to tackle some of the stairs. These are just a few:
Here we are at Eden Falls, found at the end of the trail.
These videos look a bit tiny on my phone. If you want a better view, all videos from our Lost Valley Hike in Arkansas can be viewed at my youtube channel.
You can continue to climb, but take care because the closer you get to the cave at the top, the more treacherous the trail becomes. On the Buffalo River website they suggest that you "exercise caution at the mouth of the cave as one side forms a waterfall ledge with a precarious drop off."
see their website for more information on accessing the cave.
Here is a view of the waterfall from the cave above.
Inside the cave.
We missed exploring part of the cave. We didn't have the cave instructions posted on the page I shared above. So, I only got the view from the mouth of the cave. We stood in the mouth of the cave, while I stressed a bit about having to take that slippery trail with the sheer drop off back. If you are concerned about it, just make your way to the furthest falls and skip the cave.
We didn't take longer to just sit and listen to the waterfall. It was so peaceful and relaxing, I wish I had lingered longer, just to soak it in.
Other things to do in the area:
Hammerschmidt Falls Trail: Just 8 miles away from the Lost Valley Trail is Hammerschmidt Falls Trail (.7 miles out and back). We never made it there. I apparently did not do my research, and we were not able to find the trail head/parking area. Later, I read that the parking spot is right there where they sell firewood, as you first turn off of the highway onto the gravel, (tiny spot.) The trail is across the highway from the parking area. Oh well, there's always next time! Do your research before you go. I hear this trail is a little on the primitive side? often muddy? Before heading to the Hammerschmidt Falls Trail I recommend reading the comments on alltrails for more information.