Arkansas in the Fall: Lost Valley Trail, Buffalo National River

My original post about hiking Lost Valley Trail in the Buffalo National River area continues to be our most popular post about hikes in Arkansas.

On our first trip to Lost Valley, we went in the middle of summer. A copperhead greeted us on the trail. On our return trip this fall, we spotted a tarantula!

Tarantulas in arkansas

“Texas brown tarantulas, the only species found in the state, live in dry, upland areas like the Arkansas River Valley and the Ozark and Ouachita Mountains” according to Kristen Bartlow, watchable wildlife coordinator with Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (article from Arkansas Democrat Gazette)

But don’t let spiders or snakes keep you away.

Natural Bridge

There is a lot to love about this hike including caves, bluffs, and waterfalls.

The trail is 2.4 miles round trip with countless rocks and trees to explore.

On the day of our hike the water was low, so the rocks were less slippery (and the waterfalls were less spectacular).

Eden Falls Cave was closed due to COVID-19 precautions.

But overall, this hike remains one of the best hikes we’ve gone on in Arkansas!

elk in arkansas

Another highlight of this autumn trip was spotting elk near Ponca, right down the road from the Lost Valley trail head.

“Fall is especially a great time to elk watch as the bulls go into mating season form, bugling and battling for herd domination right before your eyes!” according to buffaloriver.com.

ozark cafe

To top off our adventure, we ordered a round of cinnamon rolls to-go from the popular Ozark Cafe in nearby Jasper, Arkansas. This was a delicious decision.

Arkansas Hike: Triple Falls (Twin Falls) near Buffalo National River

The leaves are beginning to change and the morning air is crisp and cool. We set out last weekend to drive through the scenic towns of Ponca and Jasper which sit along the Buffalo National River in Arkansas. This drive features towering bluffs, river views, fall foliage, and even a chance to spot elk which live in the Boxley Valley near Ponca.

triple Falls (twin falls)

The highlight of our day trip was a hike to Twin Falls, also known as Triple Falls. To get there, take highway 74 and turn on to Camp Orr road by Kyle’s Landing. The gravel/dirt road is well maintained, but very steep. Don’t attempt to drive down this road without a 4-wheel-drive vehicle. We stopped several times to rest our brakes so they wouldn’t burn up.

how to get to twin falls near ponca and jasper, buffalo river area hike.
Steep gravel road leading to Triple Falls (Twin Falls) hike

There is a small parking lot and signage to point you in the direction of the falls. The hike is only .3 miles each way. I still can’t believe that we walked such a short distance to find such a gorgeous spot.

twin falls near ponca and jasper, buffalo river area hike. waterfall hike.
Twin Falls signage

Perhaps the most confusing part of this hike is that it’s referred to as Triple Falls Trail on hiking sites such as AllTrails, however the official name is Twin Falls.

twin falls near ponca and jasper, buffalo river area hike. waterfall hike.
The trail leads along a pretty creek. Our girls (ages 2 and 4) were able to walk on their own.
twin falls near ponca and jasper, buffalo river area hike. waterfall hike. short and family friendly hike in arkansas.
We held their hands to cross over slippery rocks near the falls. I’ve learned (the hard way) that I’d rather get our feet a little wet than falling on rocks.
twin falls near ponca and jasper, buffalo river area hike. waterfall hike. short and family friendly hike in arkansas.
Our girls loved playing in the flat area near the falls. They could spend hours throwing rocks into creek beds.
twin falls near ponca and jasper, buffalo river area hike. waterfall hike. short and family friendly hike in arkansas.
Taking in the beautiful falls
twin falls (also known as triple falls) near ponca and jasper, buffalo river area hike. waterfall hike. short and family friendly hike in arkansas.
Our daughter enjoys taking her own pictures on short hikes like this one
twin falls near ponca and jasper, buffalo river area hike. waterfall hike. short and family friendly hike in arkansas.
A kind fellow-hiker offered to take our family’s picture. She captured one of the rare occasions that we were all looking in the same general direction.
twin falls (also known as triple falls) near ponca and jasper, buffalo river area hike. waterfall hike. short and family friendly hike in arkansas.
When there is enough rain, you will see three waterfalls (rather than the two which the falls are named for).
twin falls (also known as triple falls) near ponca and jasper, buffalo river area hike. waterfall hike. short and family friendly hike in arkansas.

When we turned back towards our car to continue our drive, our girls asked if we could stay longer. That’s a big win! If you are looking for a fun family-friendly adventure near Ponca and Jasper, I highly recommend checking out Twin Falls.

For a slightly longer adventure, check out the Lost Valley hike which is located nearby.