Thursday, April 10, 2014

Highway 123 Falls, Haw Creek Falls, Arkansas Ozarks

4/9/2014 -  Highway 123 Falls and Haw Creek Falls

GPS Coordinates: 
  Highway 123 Falls: 35.61908, -93.29014
  Haw Creek Falls:  35.67782, -93.25520

Pet Friendly: Yes, for the most part.  If you can't trust your dog not to run out on the highway and get run over, you might want to keep it on a leash after parking for Highway 123 Falls.

Motorcycle Friendly: Yes.  Park right off the paved road for Highway 123 Falls, and at Haw Creek Campground for Haw Creek Falls.  I have taken my Harley there several times.

Highway 123 Falls
After spending the day hiking in the Piney Bowl area, we decided we would treat ourselves to some of the very easy-to-get-to waterfalls in the immediate area.  We thought it would be kind of cool to just drive up to a couple of waterfalls.  Highway 123 Falls is, just as you would imagine, right off Highway 123.  Likewise, the Haw Creek Campground is right next to Haw Creek Falls.  We were a little tired from the day's hike, but these two falls are pretty much no effort and all reward.

To get to Highway 123 Falls, we only had to turn off CR-5741 and go another couple of miles.  The parking area on Highway 123 is next to Little Piney Creek, and is a big parking pulloff right between the highway and the creek.  It is nine miles north of Hagerville on Highway 123, or 18.9 miles south of Pelsor/Sand Gap on the same highway. 

From the parking area, face the highway and you will see a large concrete culvert going under the highway on the right.  This culvert is for the creek feeding Highway 123 Falls.  Go across the highway, and head up the little creek canyon.  There is a path of sorts, and it is pretty easy hiking.  The waterfall is only a tenth of a mile up the creek canyon, and you can see it soon after you start hiking from the highway.  More often than not, the creek bed is dry close to the highway.  Never fear, though; this creek, like many in the Ozarks, disappears into the rock and goes underground.  It was dry near the highway today and as you can see in the photo, there was still plenty of water going over the waterfall.

Haw Creek Falls
Getting to Haw Creek is just as easy.  From the parking area at Little Piney 
Creek, it is only six miles north on Highway 123, or 12.9 miles south of Pelsor/Sand Gap on Highway 123.  You can't miss it - there is a large sign on the highway.  After turning into the campground road, you immediately cross Haw Creek.  The road is concrete where the creek flows over it so there is no problem with traction, but it is subject to flash flooding during heavy rains.  If you can't see the roadbed under the water, don't try to cross.  Yes, this includes you, guy in the big 4X4.  It's embarrassing to have to call a tow truck for your decked out off road vehicle.  The campground is about a third of a mile down this road, which is well maintained by the forest service.  Haw Creek Falls is literally next to the campground.  

These two falls are always nice to go look at.  Today, we had both all to
Haw Creek Falls - with Photo Boomer
ourselves.  You hardly ever see anyone at Highway 123 Falls, probably because they just don't know it is there and is so very easy to get to.  During the summer Haw Creek Campground is popular, but I have never seen it full.  It is a primitive campground without electricity and running water.  But what a view right outside the door of your tent or RV!  Pack Rat Falls is also accessible about a quarter mile from the back of this campground, but today we were running out of daylight so we chose not to go there and just loaded up and headed home.  These two waterfalls provided a perfect cap to an awesome day of hiking.

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