Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Dogwood Falls, Upper Richland Wilderness, Arkansas

4/9/2014 -  Dogwood Falls

GPS Coordinates: 
  Parking Location:  35.84551, -92.98397
  Dogwood Falls:  35.84978, -9298455.

Pet Friendly: Yes, for the most part.  If your dog doesn't climb steep slopes and rocks well, you might want to leave it home for this one.

Motorcycle Friendly: No.  This road is not suitable for street bikes.

Dogwood Falls (37 ft)
Boomer and I were packing up and leaving our hike to Punchbowl Falls and Stacked Rock Homestead Falls, but it was only mid-afternoon.  Dogwood Falls was "right on the way" (excuse #2) and was "pretty close anyway" (excuse #1), so we decided to stop and check it out.  We do need to enhance our repertoire of excuses, though.

Dogwood Falls is fairly close to where you park for Sandstone Castles or Twin Falls.  Right between the two, in fact.  From Iceledo Gap, go .4 miles west on FR-1205 and there is a spot on the right (north side) of FR-1205 where you can pull off the road and park.  If you are not familiar with this area, you can get detailed directions on my post for my hike to Twin Falls.  It can be referenced here.  If coming from the other direction, go 1.1 miles east of the junction of FR-1200 and FR-1205 and park on your left.

The hike to Dogwood Falls is only a half mile, but that does not make it an easy hike.  Going directly back from the road, you crest the hilltop and then it gets steep.  Keep going down hill until you reach the creek, then just follow it downstream.  You should not be very far upstream of the waterfall.  There is an inordinate amount of undergrowth on the bottom half of the slope, including a lot of briers.  Aaaaarrrrgh!  Making our way through the briers with an appropriate amount of whining and sniveling, we got to the creek and stayed pretty much in the creek bed as we went downstream to avoid the undergrowth.  The creek feeding Dogwood Falls is a typical Ozark mountain creek, beautiful and fun to just walk along.  This creek is actually the headwaters of East Fork Cave Creek, which runs into Cave Creek near Bass.

East Fork Cave Creek
Be careful approaching the top of the falls.  It seems to appear out of nowhere and in typical Ozark waterfall fashion, it has a sandstone ledge all around the box canyon it spills over into a pool 37 feet below.  If you cross the creek upstream of the falls, then go along the cliff to the left as you face downstream, you will find a break in the bluffline that you can follow right down to the base of the falls.  

My whole desire to see the falls today was based on the fact that we had seen dogwoods blooming all throughout other parts of the Ozarks, including on nearby Dry Creek earlier today.  Upstream along the creek, there had been many dogwoods and redbuds blooming, but here at Dogwood Falls itself there were none.  I did notice some dogwood trees, but they were just starting to bud out.  

No dogwoods at the falls, but Dogwood Falls itself is a beautiful waterfall in a great setting.  I would have to rate this as a difficult bushwhack due to the steepness of the terrain, the undergrowth, and especially the briers.  If you can catch it when the dogwoods actually are blooming, it might provide a unique photography moment.  But otherwise, I would not recommend it.  There are plenty of other waterfalls, such as Fern Falls and Lonesome Hollow Falls, that are about the same size, about the same hiking distance, easier driving and parking, and are a much easier hike.


  1. Wow your photos are just wonderful

  2. Thanks, Sue. Bethany is my professional photographer. They are always much better when she goes hiking with me.