Monday, June 29, 2015

Twister Falls, near Longpool Recreation Area, Arkansas Ozarks

6/27/2015 - Twister Falls, Upper Longpool Creek

GPS Coordinates:  (Latitude,  Longitude,  Elevation)
  Parking Location (campsite #16):  35.54897  -93.15920,  550 ft.
  Parking Location (outside rec area):  35.54516  -93.15865,  570 ft.  
  Twister Falls:  35.54738  -93.14688,  829 ft.
  Bluffline break below Twister Falls:  35.54732  -93.14715, 823 ft.
  New water tank; turn up power line access:  35.54795  -93.15793,  651 ft.
  Turn onto ATV trail from power line access:  35.54780  -93.15690,  713 ft.
  Turn off ATV trail upstream on creek:  35.54904  -93.15129,  668 ft.
  Campsite above Longpool Falls:  35.54941  -93.15178,  642 ft.
  Unnamed Falls #1:  35.54826  -93.14929,  702 ft.
  Bigfoot Campsite:  35.54876  -93.15071,  676 ft.
  Unnamed Falls #2:  35.54927,  -93.15201,  638 ft.
  Lower Longpool Falls:  35.54975,  -93.15269,  558 ft.
  Longpool Falls:  35.54930, -93.15216, 620 ft.

Pet Friendly: Yes, dogs on or off leash should be fine. This is a campground, so if your dog is not well behaved around strangers, please keep it on a leash.

Motorcycle Friendly: Yes.  It is paved road all the way to the parking lot, so your street bike or cruiser will be Okay.  In fact, the road to Longpool was recently resurfaced and is a pothole free paved road, at least for now.

GPS files (.gpx format) - Maps of the GPS track are at the bottom of this post.
  Rough Hollow and Longpool area waypoints

Twister Falls
Today, I had a situation on my hands.  A storm had come through the area and dumped some rain on us, so I thought I really should go waterfall chasing somewhere.  My friend Dan contacted me to see if I was interested in going to Cowan Hollow the next day, but that meant Boomer would have to stay home.  I broke the bad news to Boomer (our German Shepherd), and now had a pouting, whiny dog on my hands.  So, I figured the best thing to do would be to take Boomer someplace today to get a little adventure time in the outdoors.  Twister Falls is one of those waterfalls that is very close to home, but somehow I have managed to not visit on many forays into the Longpool and Rough Hollow areas.  I don't even remember where the coordinates on my system came from, and have never found any photos or descriptions of it.  So Boomer and I packed up in the FJ Cruiser and took off for Longpool.

Twister Falls Grotto
You can see blog entries for Longpool Falls at this link.  It's right there close to the recreation area, just a short hike.  But going upstream from Longpool Falls is a little tricky.  I'm sure there are bluffline breaks you can use to get above Longpool Falls, but the only one I found around on the left of the waterfall is steep and requires some climbing that could be dangerous.  The route we'll take today is much better for accessing the area above Longpool Falls.  My advice would be to go ahead and visit both, but take the route I will describe in this blog post to Twister Falls and the route in this blog post for Longpool Falls.

To get there, go on Highway 7 to the Highway 164 west junction about four miles north of Dover.  Turn west on Highway 164 and go 3.5 miles to Longpool Road, and turn right (north).  At this point, this road is actually OLD Highway 7, but is commonly referred to as Longpool Road.  The Moore Outdoors canoe rental should be on your right at this intersection.  Go down Longpool Road for five miles and it runs right into the Longpool recreation area.   At about 2.7 miles from Highway 164, you need to bear left and stay on the paved road where OLD Highway 7 branches off to the right.

I was surprised to find quite a few campsites empty on a relatively cool, sunny Saturday in late June.  That worked out well for us, though, in that campsite #16 was empty.  This is my preferred parking spot.  Longpool is a fee area, so stop when you go in, put $3 in the little envelope, and put the envelope tab on your dashboard.  The Longpool recreation area has a real bathroom, pavilion, lots of campsites, etc., so three bucks isn't a bad deal for day use.  That being said, if you are too cheap to shell out the three bucks, or just don't like giving the government your money (I understand), there is a parking location (see coordinates above) about a quarter mile before you enter Longpool on the right.  Park at the gate there, and the old trace road behind it will take you up to the new water tank.

Parking Location - Campsite #16
Note the ATV trail at the back of the parking pad.
I like to park at campsite #16 because it has an ATV trail running right out the back of it that will take you to Longpool Falls or up above that waterfall, which is where we were going today.  Start hiking down this trail, and at the first intersection keep going straight.  Taking the trail to the left will take you to Longpool Falls, and the one on the right back to Longpool Road just before the entry into the recreation area.  So keep straight at that first trail intersection, and it will take you up to a brand new water tank, where a power line runs through the area.  

Note that the OLD water tank is on the trail to Longpool Falls.  If you see an old, dilapidated water tank, you are on the wrong trail.  From the NEW water tank, head uphill on the power line access for about 100 yards.  At that point, there is an ATV trail heading off into the forest.  Turn left onto that ATV trail and it will take you up over a slight rise and then down to the creek that feeds Longpool Falls and Twister Falls.  When you get to the creek, cross the creek and turn right to go upstream.  

Bigfoot campsite - with Boomer
Upstream, you will come to what I call the Bigfoot campsite.  I don't know if Bigfoot actually set it up, but it's either that, or someone just had entirely too much time on their hands.  The campsite has a number of large (very large) stacked stone armchairs, and even a stacked stone couch, all around an elaborate fire pit.  Bigfoot was not there today, and in any case probably won't mind if you borrow the campsite.

Unnamed Falls #1
The ATV trail made for pretty easy hiking up to Bigfoot campsite.  It is a bushwhack going upstream from there, but fairly easy as far as bushwhacks go.  Continuing upstream, you will come to Unnamed Falls #1 in about 150 yards.  This is a small waterfall, only about four feet high, and a little unusual.  It is a stair-stepped kind of waterfall, but terraced on two sides, with the creek flowing down both into a pool.  

Twister Falls
Twister Falls is about a quarter mile upstream from Unnamed Falls #1.  As Ozark waterfalls go, it isn't all that big or powerful, and the recent rains do not seem to have helped that much.  It is in a beautiful little grotto, though, and certainly worth going to see at least once if you are an avid waterfall chaser.  I found a bluffline break to gain access to the bluffline above Twister Falls on the right as you are facing the waterfall.  I didn't explore much above that; there may well be more to see upstream, but I saw no sign of anything.

Unnamed Falls #2
Heading back downstream, we continued on past the ATV trail to the top of Longpool Falls.  There is a volunteer trail on the right side of the creek.  Just upstream of Longpool Falls is Unnamed Falls #2, another relatively short waterfall, maybe six feet high.   On the hillside above it is another campground with stone furniture, this one not quite as complete or elaborate as the Bigfoot campsite.  We looked over the top of Longpool Falls and determined there was not enough flow to even warrant a trip to the bottom, so we headed back upstream and took the ATV trail back to the Cruiser.  As mentioned before, this is the preferable route anyway.  

Twister Falls is a nice little excursion if you are camping or swimming at Longpool, or if you are visiting Longpool Falls.  I can't really recommend it as a waterfall hunting exercise.  There are far too many more waterfalls nearby in the Ozarks that are bigger, prettier, and easier to get to.  
Blue - Twister Falls GPS Track
Red - Longpool Falls GPS Track

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