Saturday, July 19, 2014

Hudson Shelter and Lonesome Hollow Falls, Arkansas Ozarks

7/17/2014 - Hudson Shelter and Lonesome Hollow Falls

GPS Coordinates:  (Latitude,  Longitude,  Elevation)
  Parking for Hudson Shelter:  35.85416,  -93.12623,  2111 feet
  Hudson Shelter:  35.85146, -93.12411,  1912 feet
  Parking for Lonesome Hollow:  35.80639, -93.15759,  1822 feet
  Turn off ATV trail to Lonesome Hollow:  35.80364,  -93.15878,  1839 feet
  Lonesome Hollow Falls:  35.80487, -93.16006,  1988 feet

Pet friendly: Yes.  OK for pets on or off leash.

Motorcycle friendly: Not for Hudson Shelter, too long down a rough gravel road.  It might be OK for Lonesome Hollow.  The road is Less than a mile down a gravel road that has not been maintained well.

Malorie and Presley - Lonesome Hollow Falls
My Grandkids Malorie and Presley Hudson had never been to Hudson Shelter, which is ironic.  Their ancestors on the Hudson side of their family tree have been in this area for several generations and no doubt had something to do with the name.  Not to mention that it sits on the flank of Hudson Mountain.  So when I got an email yesterday from about a flash flood warning and the potential for 3-5 inches of rain, it sounded like the perfect time to take them there.  It looked like the rain would clear out by noon today so we set it up.  We only ended up getting about a half inch of rain, and I expected less up north, but hey - it's still a nice hike even if there is no water in the waterfalls.  My beautiful wife Bethany and our German Shepard Boomer came along as well, so we had the makings of a fun group outing.

Hudson Shelter
Getting there is fairly easy.  Detailed directions are in a previous blog entry you can see at this link.  There were signs of a lot of recent storm damage, but you can never really tell what conditions will be like until you hike down and see.

After missing our turn onto FR-1204B (I should have read the directions in my blog post myself!) we got back to the parking location and headed down the trail.  Today, there was hardly any water in the creek at all.  When we got down to the top of the shelter, there were a few dribbles of water over the middle waterfall, and none making it over the top of the shelter.   Which is not at all to say it was wasted effort.  The cave itself is awesome, and the hike down the creek is fairly short and easy with not much undergrowth, even at this time of year.  It's just a pleasant hike through the woods, complete with ripe blackberries.
Hudson Shelter

To get down to the cave, you have to cross back over the creek just above the ledge above the cave, so it is maybe better to not have water in the creek the first time the Grandkids go there.  I would have worried about them slipping and going over the edge of the lower waterfall, which flows right over the front of the cave.  

Hudson Shelter is a huge shelter-type cave.  Many of the caves in the National Forest areas are now restricted due to bat populations.  This one has a large, wide open cave mouth, so bats do not tend to roost here.  Very nice to explore with the kids, but it was a shame there was no water in the waterfalls.  When they are flowing well, the lower two waterfalls together are spectacular.

Lonesome Hollow Falls
We decided "since we were in the area anyway" (excuse number 2), we should hike to see Lonesome Hollow Falls and see if we couldn't catch at least one waterfall with plenty of water still.  Lonesome Hollow is also very close to Cowell.  In fact, it is only a mile behind the Cowell Cemetery on Hwy 7.  I have already posted detailed directions to it as well that you can see in this link.  Even more details and better photos from when it was flowing really well are in this link.

Boomer - behind Lonesome Hollow Falls
So we loaded up, headed across Hwy 7 to the parking location for Lonesome Hollow, and started hiking down.  Having made the error of overshooting the point at which we leave the old ATV trail several times in the past, I took the GPS along and pulled up the waypoint for it (listed above).  That point where you leave the ATV road is fairly loose and steep for about 15 feet, but after that it is an easy hike along the base of the cliff until you get to the waterfall.

Today, Lonesome Hollow Falls was not as full as we have seen on a couple of occasions in the past, but still had plenty of water to make it just beautiful.  This is a photographer's waterfall, and has plenty of perspectives for great shots.  Grandkids are Bethany's favorite subjects, so she took full advantage of having a couple of them on this hike. 

All in all, it was another great day in the Ozarks.  The Grandkids got to enjoy a couple of hikes and scenery, we got to enjoy everyone's company on the hikes, and Boomer got more hiking companions to play with than just me.  When your Grandkid says "I want to go on lots more hikes", you know it's been a good day.
Lonesome Hollow GPS Track

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