Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Lower Sarah Hollow Waterfalls and Short Grotto Falls, Arkansas Ozarks

5/12/2015 - Lower Sarah Hollow Waterfalls (3) and side trip to Short Grotto Falls and Engagement Hollow Falls #10

GPS Coordinates:  (Latitude,  Longitude,  Elevation)
  Lydia Falls:  35.65872,  -93.62242,  1370 ft.  
  Junior Falls:  35.65976,  -93.62319,  1351 ft. 
  Wib Falls:  35.66284,  -93.62486,  1283 ft.
  Parking Location for Short Grotto Falls: 35.66666,  -93.62910,  1182 ft.
  Short Grotto Falls:  35.66817,  -93.6283,  1075 feet
  Engagement Hollow Falls #10:  35.66955,  -93.63085, 1012 feet
Pet Friendly: Yes, dogs off leash should be fine. Some of the terrain is a little steep and rugged, so if your dog can't be trusted off leash I would not recommend taking it.

Motorcycle Friendly: No, not really.  The dirt roads are in relatively good shape but are still dirt roads with potholes, mud holes, etc.  While you could take a heavy bike on this road, you wouldn't like it.

Lydia Falls - with Bethany
Today Bethany, Boomer and I were on our way to Doppelganger Falls.  But first, we wanted to check out a waterfall that Bethany had found on our last trip to Engagement Hollow a couple of weeks ago.  It was a nice little waterfall with an initial drop of about nine feet.  When she found it, we had had hardly any rain for a couple of weeks and the flow was a little dismal.  Since we would be "in the area anyway" (excuse #1), we decided to stop by and check it out.

Junior Falls
This area is not in Tim Ernst's Waterfalls of Arkansas book, at least not in the current edition.   Brian Emfinger has documented some nice waterfalls in the upper reaches of Sarah Hollow, but nothing this far downstream.  If you visit Engagement Hollow, make sure you check out these finds on the other side of FR-1522 from that valley.  If you drive down to parking location #2 for Engagement Hollow, you drive within a few yards of each of the three waterfalls we found in Lower Sarah Hollow.

Short Grotto Falls
To get there, go north on Highway 103 from Clarksville and turn left (west) on CR-4160.  From where you turn north onto Highway 103 from Main Street (Highway 64) in Clarksville, it is 14.4 miles to the left turn onto CR-4160.  There is a sign there that says "Batson Church 5 Miles".  Go 2.8 miles on CR-4160, then turn right (north) on CR-4141.  After about a half mile on CR-4141, bear right onto FR-4401.  This road does have a marker a few yards down it but is easy to miss.  About 1.5 miles down FR-4401, there is a 'Y'; bear left to stay on FR-4401 an additional 0.8 miles to the first parking location for Engagement Hollow.  From that first parking location,
Engagement Hollow Falls #10 - with Boomer
continue on FR-4401 for a few yards and bear right onto FR-1522.  After turning onto FR-1522, that road bends to the right.  Park in the pullout on the left side of that bend.  

I have not included parking locations for the three new waterfall finds in Lower Sarah Hollow because they are literally just off the road.  Key the GPS coordinates for each of the three waterfalls themselves into your navigation system and it will take you to the point on FR-1522 adjacent to that waterfall.

Lydia Falls
From the parking location on FR-1522 for Lydia Falls, head directly downhill away from the road (south).  There is a small creek feeding the waterfall about 10 yards off the road.  Go to the left along the bluff from the top of the waterfall and you will find easy access to the base of the falls.  This is a pretty little waterfall, spilling off the bluff about nine feet onto the rocks below, then tumbling down a steep, rocky creek.  The creek has numerous small waterfalls and cascades as it falls toward Sarah Hollow.  

Junior Falls
From that first waterfall, we had intended to quickly check out Short Grotto Falls to see what it looked like after all the torrential rainfall the weekend before.  On the way down FR-1522 to do that, we surmised that pretty much any decent sized creek we crossed might fall over the same bluffline as Lydia Falls, which ran parallel to FR-1522 on the left side of the road as we went downhill.  So, we decided to pull over and look for more waterfalls.  We found the next drainage crossing the road only about 150 yards down the road.  Sure enough, we could hear the sound of a waterfall not far from the road.  Making my way through the underbrush, I found Junior Falls.  This is a beautiful two-tiered waterfall, also about nine feet tall for the initial drop, making a right-angle turn after the first tier.

Wib Falls
Heading on down FR-1522, we went about a quarter mile down the road before finding yet another significant creek crossing the road.  We stopped again to check it out and, sure enough, found yet another beautiful waterfall.  This one I have named Wib Falls for Wilber (Wib) Wallace, one of the best people God ever put on the face of the earth.  Wib, as his family and friends call him, was a Vietnam Vet, Master Mason, and one of those guys that everyone can't help but like.  Wib has passed on now, but this waterfall that bears his name will help to keep him in our memories.  Wib Falls is a somewhat larger waterfall than the previous two, cascading steeply for about eight feet, then running over the ledge to the rocky creek bed about another 12 feet below.  This is another very steep creek, with some very pretty smaller waterfalls and cascades literally one after the other.

From the last of the waterfalls in Sarah Hollow, we continued on down FR-1522 to park and hike down to Short Grotto Falls.  I did not previously have a parking location marked for this, even though on two of the last three trips here, I had hiked directly from Short Grotto Falls to this road.  I went along FR-1522 and picked a location I thought would be closest to Short Grotto Falls and parked.  Even though I had the waterfall waypoint pulled up on my GPS, it was not that easy getting there.  

Engagement Hollow Falls #10
I parked just a little too far down the road and found myself in a massive blackberry thicket.  I should have known I was in the wrong spot because I had hiked directly up to the road and never ran into this mess.  The blackberry thicket forced us to go out of our way downstream quite a bit.  In fact, we were almost directly above Engagement Hollow Falls #10, the lowest waterfall in this hollow.  So, since we were "in the area" anyway, we went on down to that waterfall to snap a couple of photos.  The recent storms had caused a couple of very large trees to fall directly in front of the waterfall, obscuring the waterfall somewhat.  I did the best I could taking some photos and headed upstream to Short Grotto Falls.

Short Grotto Falls
Short Grotto Falls had the most flow that I have ever seen, and was just dazzling.  This is a uniquely profiled waterfall grotto, with very deep undercutting caves on both sides of the grotto.  The roar of the waterfall was amplified by the deep overhangs, causing an almost surreal feeling of power in the rushing water.  This is one of those enchanted places that you could easily spend all day at, but Doppelganger Falls was supposed to be our main event for the day.  We had only planned a quick trip to Bethany's waterfall find, and we let that turn into an exploratory mission.  

 Wib Falls
We wrapped up our visit and pulled away from Short Grotto Falls, this time heading straight up the bluff toward the road.  It's a somewhat steep climb, but the road is less than 200 yards from Short Grotto Falls.  This time, when I got back to the road, I marked the waypoint listed at the top of this blog for a parking location.  No more wading through blackberry thickets for this hiker.  This little side trip turned into a nice little hike with visits to several great little waterfalls.  But Doppelganger Falls was our target for the day, so we headed over to it.

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