GPS Coordinates: (Latitude, Longitude, Elevation)
Parking Location: 35.72578 -93.28148, 1318 ft.
Bluffline break (east): 35.73007 -93.28952, 951 ft.
Little Cow Falls (5 Waterfalls): 35.72959 -93.28977, 961 ft.
Elsie Falls: 35.72975 -93.29030, 1016 ft.
Norman Falls: 35.72983 -93.29095, 1053 ft.
Cincinnati Freedom Falls: 35.72676 -93.28989, 995 ft.
Little Cow Creek Cascade: 35.72624 -93.29025, 1006 ft.
Falls #5: 35.72219 -93.29110 1118 ft.
Falls #6: 35.72606 -93.29034, 1009 ft.
Bluffline Break (west): 35.72847 -93.28967, 968 ft.
Queenie Falls: 35.72816 -93.28943, 968 ft.
Falls #8: 35.72797 -93.28817, 1076 ft.
Ormsby Cascades: 35.72986 -93.29051, 1029 ft.
Car Wash Falls: 35.70529, -93.25474
Haw Creek Falls: 35.67782, -93.25520
Parking Location for Pack Rat Falls: 35.67663, -93.25463, 817 feet
Pack Rat Falls: 35.67267, -93.25335, 1005 feet
Pet Friendly: Dogs off leash should be OK. If your dog needs to be on a leash, it is doable but difficult because this is all bushwhack hiking. There are some steep bluffline breaks. Boomer has been here several times without problems.
Motorcycle Friendly: No, not at all friendly to your big bike. The parking
location is several miles down dirt roads.
Hiking Statistics: The Little Cow Creek watershed is just over 1100 feet elevation change from top to bottom. Today we hiked about 1.5 miles with a highest-to-lowest difference of only 378 feet. Due to the ruggedness of the terrain and the box canyon between Little Cow Falls and Cincinnati Freedom Falls, there are a couple of climbs down below blufflines and back up. This is a rugged area, and the bluffline breaks you need are somewhat steep but manageable if you are careful. There are no trails, but it is relatively easy bushwhacking in most areas. Overall, I would rate this a moderate bushwhack.
GPS files (.gpx format) - maps with GPS tracks are at the bottom of this post
Cow Creek area waypoints
Little Cow Creek track
Related Blog posts:
|Swimming time at Cincinnati Freedom Falls!|
- with Rick and Boomer
If you have followed my hiking blog for a while, you no doubt know that this time of year I have very few blog posts. That is because summertime in Northwest Arkansas is typically very hot, very humid, and very dry. Sometimes I go on short hikes this time of year that don't have waterfalls as the primary feature, and usually, I don't think those need a blog post for documentation. This year has been anything but usual. It has been the coolest, wettest summer anyone around here can recall. Unfortunately, some personal business has kept me in the Texas hill country instead of Arkansas for much of the summer, so I missed out on most of this extraordinary summer hiking season. Now I'm back for a few weeks, and it has just rained a bunch the last few days, and the weather forecast for today has highs in the 70s. I may be old and slow, but I can tell when nature is sending me a clear message to get out and enjoy the day.
|Car Wash Falls|
I keep a list of potential hiking spots, and part of that list is a "go back and check this out" section. Since I discovered the Little Cow Creek polyfoss last fall, I have visited it several times and led friends there as well. But every time I have visited this great new area, I have wondered just how deep the pools are below the major waterfalls on the main creek, and whether they might be good swimming holes. Today, Boomer and I loaded up in the FJ to finally get that question answered. We both love to swim and enjoy swimming in a nice swimming hole on a clear mountain stream much more than a crowded swimming pool. One of my old go-to's, Falling Water Falls, has become much too popular and thus crowded on many summer days. Note that I consider a half dozen people to be "too crowded", so I have some more secluded and less well-known locations to swim at.
|Haw Creek Falls|
Getting to Little Cow Creek is fairly straightforward and easy, but is several miles down dirt roads. I think pretty much any vehicle can get there, but be aware that the road is just a gravel county road.
- From the community of Pelsor (Sand Gap), go 16.2 miles south on Highway 123, then turn right onto FR-1003, aka Johnson County CR-5741. This is 3.3 miles past the Haw Creek Campground. If you are coming from the other direction on Highway 123, this junction is 10.5 miles north of Hagerville.
- Go north on CR-5741 for 5.7 miles, then
- Turn right on CR-5680, also known as Pine Ridge Road.
- Go 3.5 miles on Pine Ridge Road, and turn left (west) onto a Jeep road. This area immediately off Pine Ridge Road has been used as a campsite at some point in the past. Instead of following the Jeep road around to the left, bear to the right along an old trace road and park. This was a logging road many years ago and has a berm across it now. I park right at the berm.
|Little Cow Falls Grotto - West Waterfall|
Where you park at the berm is actually at the top of the side drainage I follow to get down to Little Cow Creek. Head down into the drainage directly below you (west), away from Pine Ridge Road. This is the large side drainage that flows over the bluffline at Queenie Falls, right between Cincinnati Freedom Falls and Little Cow Falls. The top of the drainage is literally just a few yards from the parking location. Unlike most small creeks, bushwhacking along this one is fairly easy. If you have an aversion to walking along the creek, you can follow it higher along the bluff on the right (north) side. There is less undergrowth down along the creek, however. Today, it was particularly easy hiking along the creek, as the gullywasher rains we received in the area the last couple of months have washed away a lot of the debris that had accumulated. On the ridge above this side drainage, the saplings and other growth get fairly thick, and if you hike down to Little Cow Creek up on the bluff, you will also miss the smaller waterfalls along the way. Follow this side drainage all the way down to the large bluffline towering over Little Cow Creek. Along the way, there are numerous smaller waterfalls, and one, Unnamed Falls #8, that is about 10 feet tall.
|Little Cow Falls Grotto|
Boomer and I quickly made our way down the drainage and down the bluffline break downstream of Queenie Falls. Descending through the bluffline break, we made our way upstream to Cincinnati Freedom Falls. When I first found this waterfall last November, my first view was from the top of the waterfall and the water was crystal clear. It looked to be about eight to ten feet deep, but it is very hard to gauge looking down into the pool. Today, the water was still a little murky blue-green from the recent rains. The water in the creek itself was very clear, but in the deep pools it still had not cleared up entirely. Boomer jumped right in and started having fun. I set the camera up to do some delayed burst shots and stripped down to blue jean shorts.
|Cincinnati Freedom Falls - time to jump in!|
My first impression? COLD! I expected temperatures in the 70s by the time we got here, but it was only in the low 60's. Not bad for late August, and I couldn't believe that at this time of year it could actually be too cool. The way water flows over and down Cincinnati Freedom Falls, striking rocks on the way down, it causes the water to atomize and spray a little. This really enhances adiabatic cooling, and the water actually falling into the pool in the 40s. So there was an initial thermal shock when I charged in, but after I got used to it, it was great. This is a decently sized pool, especially with just me and Boomer there. It was indeed as deep as I had originally estimated, maybe a little more. My reach standing flat footed with my hand straight up is almost exactly eight feet. I had to dive down a little to stand at the deepest part of the pool, directly in front of the waterfall and had to rise up a couple of feet to reach the surface. So at it's deepest, it is around 10 feet deep. Is that deep enough to jump from the top of the waterfall? Probably, but it's almost 30 feet tall so I won't be doing it. The flow in the creek keeps it cleaned out pretty well, so the bottom is rock, without any mucky mud or anything. My final impression? What a fantastic swimming hole!
|Slot and water slide at the top of Little Cow Falls|
|Little Cow Falls Grotto - with Rick and Boomer|
|Cincinnati Freedom Falls|
|Haw Creek Falls|
|Pack Rat Falls|
|GPS track for Little Cow Creek|