Thursday, December 4, 2014

Mineral Springs Falls, Arkansas Ozarks

12/2/2014 -  Mineral Springs Falls

GPS Coordinates:  (Latitude,  Longitude,  Elevation)
  Parking Location:  35.64176,  -93.73031,  1454 feet
  Mineral Springs Falls:  35.64278,  -93.72806,  1300 feet
  Mineral Pool Falls  35.64188,  -93.72795,  1337 feet

Pet Friendly: Yes, dogs off leash should be fine. This is another area with very steep, rugged slopes.  If your dog has to be on a leash, leave it at home.

Motorcycle Friendly: Iffy, depending on your tolerance for gravel roads.  The last four miles are on a dirt road, but a fairly well maintained one.  I wouldn't take mine to this one.

Mineral Springs Falls (43 ft)
After a long, cold, day hiking Bingham Hollow and Sentinel Rock Falls, Boomer and I were happy and about ready to head home.  But then I noticed that the parking location for Mineral Springs Falls was only 1.6 miles from where we were parked.  So, what the heck.  We were in the area.  It's pretty much a requirement to stop and at least scope it out...

To get there from the parking area for Bingham Hollow/Sentinel Rock (see previous blog post), just backtrack 1.7 miles down Low Gap Road (FR-1504), turn right on Pink Twist Road (CR-88), and go 0.9 miles.  There will be a clearing on the left (east) side of the road where a gas well was.  Pull into the gas well area and park here.  

Creek and small waterfall above Mineral Pool Falls
If you are coming from I-40, take exit 37 at Ozark.  Go north on Highway 219 for 8.5 miles.  The pavement ends here and you bear left onto Pink Twist Road.  Go another 4.1 miles and the gas well parking area should be on your right.

From the parking location, Mineral Springs Falls is in the drainage straight downhill (east, away from the road).  But don't head downhill yet; there has been logging above the drainage for the waterfalls, and they left this area in a mess, with downed trees and brush everywhere.  At the northeast corner of the clearing, there is an old logging road that will save you a lot of aggravation.  

The road starts going north, but then loops back around to the top of the drainage bluffline.  We took this road to just above the creek, then headed down to the creek.  This is a very steep slope, so be careful here.  If you don't like hiking down slopes like this, you might want to loop around on the road and take the way we came out of the drainage.  After descending to the creek,  Mineral Springs Falls is just upstream.  Today, it was not flowing all that well.  It was still pretty, though, and another one to put on my list to come back to in wetter times.

Mineral Pool Falls - with Boomer
From Mineral Springs Falls, we went downstream and around the bluffline to the right.  Just a few yards up this feeder creek was another nice little waterfall.  I would estimate it at about 18 to 20 feet high, and it falls into a small pool.  This is an unnamed waterfall, but I'll refer to it as Mineral Pool Falls until it has a more official name.

I knew of a couple more waterfalls in this area, but we were losing our daylight and decided to call it quits.  I'm a little crazy, but not enough to try to get out of this kind of area in the dark.  We went on around the bluffline on the other side of Mineral Pool Falls and found a do-able slope right up the crest at the end of the little canyon the waterfall is in.  Upstream of Mineral Pool Falls, we found another couple of small two foot waterfalls.  This is a nice little creek, and easy hiking up to where we could get back on the old logging road again.  

I wish we had more time to explore this drainage, but there will be a next time.  I have seen photos of Mineral Springs Falls after a heavy rain and it is spectacular.  This is a moderately difficult hike;  it's less than a mile round trip to just the main waterfall, but the steep and rugged terrain keeps me from classifying it as an easy hike.
Mineral Springs Falls GPS Track

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