Hiking Arkansas: Lost Valley Trail, Buffalo National River

Last weekend we drove to Lost Valley in Buffalo National River which is located a couple miles from Ponca, Arkansas. We selected this hike for our family because it is relatively short in length at 2.4 miles, and features several caves and waterfalls.

Lost Valley, Buffalo National River near Ponca Arkansas. 2.4 miles, features caves and waterfalls, 500 ft elevation gain
*hike statistics found on national park service (nps) website

Our 4-year-old walked most of the trail with a lot of hand holding from my husband while I carried my 2-year-old in an Ergo baby on my back. In the summer heat, this was a great workout!

family hiking arkansas

The thing that scares me most about hiking in Missouri and Arkansas is the possibility of running into a snake. We barely got out of our car and I spotted a copperhead taking its time to cross the trail. Copperheads are venomous snakes, so we patiently gave the snake plenty of room until he crossed.

It doesn’t seem likely, but if you happen to get bitten by a snake, I think the closest hospital would be North Arkansas Regional Medical Center in Harrison, Arkansas which is 30-40 minutes away.

But don’t worry… the hike gets better!

copperhead snake arkansas. venomous snakes in arkansas. poisonous snakes arkansas

We crossed a little creek bed which led to a wide and well-maintained trail, with occasional benches available for a quick rest.

creek bed lost valley trail

The trail becomes more narrow and steep as you head towards Natural Bridge and Eden Falls.

well maintained trail lost valley trail

Natural bridge

We passed through a little water to get to Natural Bridge. A fellow hiker warned us that the rocks were slippery.

natural bridge lost valley trail buffalo national river

There was a waterfall running through the rocks. Several older kids climbed through the falls, but we decided to avoid slipping and walked back around to the trail.

lost valley trail buffalo national river, waterfall, natural bridge

The trail featured several other unique rock formations, towering bluffs, and caves.

lost valley trail buffalo national river
lost valley trail buffalo national river, bluffs
lost valley trail buffalo national river, caves. cob cave

We continued on towards Eden Falls. The gorgeous 50+ foot waterfall was the highlight of the hike.

Eden Falls

lost valley trail buffalo national river. eden falls waterfall, eden falls cave
lost valley trail buffalo national river. eden falls
lost valley trail buffalo national river. eden falls closer

Eden Falls cave

We debated whether or not we should continue the hike up to see Eden Falls Cave. Our 4-year-old listened well, held on to her Dad’s hand, and thought it was a fun adventure climbing up the steep and narrow pathway to the top. While we were glad to see the last cave, I wouldn’t take our girls on this section again until they are older. It was a bit too precarious for my comfort.

However, if you don’t have young ones with you, and don’t mind tight spaces, there is another waterfall inside the cave that we hear is worth checking out!

lost valley trail buffalo national river trail up to eden falls cave
lost valley trail buffalo national river trail up to eden falls cave
lost valley trail buffalo national river. eden falls cave

This hike was beautiful and felt like an adventure. We are looking forward to returning to the Buffalo National River to explore more of the outdoor activities this area has to offer.

lost valley trail buffalo national river. family hiking

Good to Know Before you go:

  • No dogs/pets allowed on the trail
  • No bikes on trail
  • We had poor cell phone service in this area, but trail was well marked and easy to find
  • There is a restroom facility and small picnic pavilion near trail head
  • This was a popular trail, but there was plenty of parking available on our visit
  • Remember water, bug spray, and sunscreen

The Best Way to Spend a Spring Day? Hiking Pigeon Roost Trail in Arkansas’ Hobbs State Park

Hobbs State Park is the largest state park in Arkansas. This weekend we took advantage of the sunny weather to explore the park and venture out on a new (to us) trail.

The Pigeon Roost trail is 8.4 miles long. It is broken into two loops, the Dry Creek Loop and the Huckleberry Loop. We walked a portion of the Dry Creek Loop from the trail head to the Beaver Lake Overlook which was about 1.5 miles in length each way.

Pigeon Roost trail signage
I highlighted the portion of the trail we hiked in yellow.
family hiking pigeon roost trail in hobbs state park - northwest arkansas

Our 4-year-old hiked on her own (and rode on her Dad’s shoulders) while her younger sister mostly rode in an ergo carrier on my back.

spring hiking. family hiking pigeon roost trail in hobbs state park - northwest arkansas

Spring is a colorful time to hike in Northwest Arkansas because white dogwood and pink and purple redbud trees bloom throughout the forest.

family friendly hiking. family hiking pigeon roost trail in hobbs state park - northwest arkansas

The trail was well marked, but narrow and a bit slippery in some places with loose gravel. We had to be extra cautious as we hiked near steep hills.

We read that ticks can be bad on this trail, luckily we didn’t find any unwelcome visitors.

View of Beaver Lake. family hiking pigeon roost trail in hobbs state park - northwest arkansas

After hiking through the forest and over several small bridges crossing a creek, we arrived to a spot where we could see Beaver Lake. I was amazed by the turquoise water. The color reminded me of the green waters we saw at Point Lobos Park in California which I wrote about here.

View of Beaver Lake family hiking pigeon roost trail in hobbs state park - northwest arkansas

An overlook with a pair of benches can be found a little further down the trail. This is a great spot to rest and take in the view.

family hiking pigeon roost trail in hobbs state park - northwest arkansas

We were thrilled to find a family-friendly trail that is close to our new home in Northwest Arkansas.

family hiking pigeon roost trail in hobbs state park - northwest arkansas

Hobbs State Park has 36 miles of trails to explore – we are excited to head back soon so we can hike more of them.