Friday, May 27, 2016

Hideout Hollow Falls, near Compton, Arkansas

5/26/2016 -  Hideout Hollow Falls

GPS Coordinates:  (Latitude,  Longitude,  Elevation)
  Parking Location:  36.07305   -93.26588
  Hideout Hollow Falls:  36.08080   -93.26977
Pet Friendly: Yes, dogs on or off leash should be fine.  I have been told that the Hideout Hollow trail is maintained by the National Park Service and that because of that, dogs are not permitted on the trail.  I have not verified that either of those statements are correct.  I can tell you there are no signs to that effect at the trailhead, as there are at nearby Lost Valley and the Compton trailhead.  Hideout Hollow appears to be just inside the boundary of the Buffalo National River, so it probably is within the jurisdiction of the Park Service.  UPDATE 6/7/2106 - This area is part of the Buffalo National River and is under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service.  Pets are not allowed on trails within the Buffalo National River, with the exception of the Mill Creek trail and the Buffalo Point campground trails.  You can see the NPS policy here.

Motorcycle Friendly: No, not at all friendly to your big bike.  The trailhead is 3.5 miles down a dirt road that gets pretty rough the last mile or two.

Hiking Statistics:  This is an easy hike, at least to the top of the falls.  It is one mile each way and the highest-to-lowest elevation change is only 150 feet.  Our actual hiking time was only about 20 minutes each way.  There are a couple of small creeks to cross, but I would still rate this an easy hike.

GPS files (.gpx format) - Maps of the GPS track are at the bottom of this post.

Hideout Hollow Falls (37 ft)
Hideout Hollow is yet another of the well known Arkansas waterfalls that I had never been to.  After Boomer (our German Shepherd) and I finished our hike at Sweden Creek Natural Area, we still had plenty of time left in the day.  I had not really done any preparatory work for hiking Hideout Hollow, but I knew where it was, less than a half hour from Sweden Creek.  Why not see this one since it was in the area and the bulk of the driving was already done?  

Compton post office
To get there, go to the small community of Compton, 8.8 miles north of Ponca on Highway 43.  The small Compton post office will be on the left (coming from Ponca).  Turn right on the gravel road across the highway from the post office.  This is NC-2700.  At least that is what the road sign says.  Agnetha, the young lady in my Cruiser's GPS that talks to me incessantly, insists on calling this road NC-2800, no matter how many times I correct her.  And my road map calls it NC-2250.  All I can tell you is that I'm going with the road sign. At the first intersection, turn right (to stay on NC-2700).   Stay on NC-2700 and go a total of 3.5 miles from the Compton post office.  There will be a place to park on the right, and a sign pointing to the Hideout Hollow trail.

Boomer and I set off down the trail.  I didn't do any preparatory work, as I mentioned, but at least I had the GPS coordinates already in my handheld GPS unit.  I didn't need it.  The trail is well defined and easy to follow.  It is blazed with white rectangular markers similar to that used on the OHT, but not as well done.  You really don't need the trail blazes either, since the trail is very easy to follow.  After crossing a decent sized creek, the trail goes across the knob and follows the top of the bluffline around to Hideout Hollow Falls.  I have heard this waterfall needs a good deal of water to look its best, so we must have had those conditions today.  It looks great.

Hideout Hollow Falls (37 ft)
Just viewing a waterfall from the top is not really my cup of tea.  It is usually a much better experience at the base of the falls.  Unfortunately, Boomer and I looked around quite a bit, going down the bluff on both sides trying to find a break in the bluffline.  If anything, the drop off appeared to get higher and more sheer than it was at Hideout Hollow Falls itself.  This predicament is exactly why I always try to do my homework the night before a hike and study the topo maps, Google Earth, and anything else I can find.  Since it looked like a thunderstorm was brewing, Boomer and I gave up on our search for a bluffline break and headed back to the car.  On the way back, a couple of young women rounded a corner in the trail, saw us, and let out that startled shriek that young women do.  They immediately told Boomer all about what a magnificent dog he was, so I can only imagine that it was me they found so unsettling initially.  I'll try not to take offense.  I rarely see anyone else while out hiking; it's nice to see others out enjoying the great outdoors in our beautiful state.  

There is a ledge on the other side of the top of the falls that may allow access to the base.  After getting home, I did a little looking around and determined one way may be to go down that creek that we crossed until below the bluffline, and then simply follow the base of the bluff around to the waterfall.  Another may be to take the Cecil Cove Loop Trail, which crosses Hideout Hollow between the waterfall and Cecil Creek.  Despite only going to the top of the waterfall, I would still recommend this hike.  If your hiking skills or ability limits you to relatively easy hikes, this is a good one you can take with a really nice waterfall at the end and lots of wide open scenery of the Buffalo River area along the way.  I'm coming back to this one, but probably in "leaves off" season so I can scout out a good route to the base of the waterfall.
GPS Track - Hideout Hollow Falls


  1. Hideout Hollow is a great falls. Two notes:

    #1) Hideout Hollow is part of the Buffalo National River Area and a part of the NPS -- so dogs are not technically permitted on trails. I don't agree with the rules, and a lot of people do hike with their dogs, but it could subject them to fines on this one.

    #2) The route down on this one is, uh, tricky. But just after crossing the creek above the falls, there is a little ledge that you can shimmy down on. The ledge is wide enough, but there is an overhang, so you'll likely have to bear crawl for about 40 yards to the end of it and then hop down onto another ledge.

  2. Thanks for the feedback, I appreciate it. I scouted out that way down on this trip and yesterday when I went back I took that route to the base of the falls. Boomer would never have been able to make this climb down, so I could not have used it on my first trip anyway.
    On the dog policy, I did a little research and you are correct. There are two trails you can take dogs on, but not ones I am likely to take Boomer on anyway.
    Again, thanks for taking the time to provide me with more information.

  3. Yeah -- I wasn't sure if Boomer could make it down or not. Dogs are usually so much more nimble than we are, but there are some things they aren't built for. Glad you made it down to the bottom of the falls (reading that blog post now) -- it's an impressive area for sure, and probably under-appreciated. Next time you go, you'll have to circle around the ridge past the falls. There is an amazing overlook over the entire Cecil Cove Creek area -- it's pretty magnificent, particularly in the fall. As always, greatly enjoy reading your blog!