This is hike is the Rush Mountain Trail from Rush Landing to the Monte Cristo area. It is a short hike, but it is probably one my favorites.
At the end of the post, I will also talk about the unmaintained trail from the Monte Cristo area back to the Morning Star area.
Rush Landing to Monte Cristo
Start off at the Rush Landing parking area, near the shelter with the picnic tables and toilet. This section of the trail starts off into the woods back behind the parking area. There is a small ruin here at the start. It is the remnants of the White Eagle Mine.
Head off into the woods. After a short stretch, there is an intersection. To the left is the section of the Rush Mountain Trail that connects to the morning star area. Stay right.
The trail runs off into the woods and eventually swings off to the left. Down below, there are some great views of the Buffalo River and Clabber Creek.
Back on October 17, I had the opportunity to take a visit to Pinnacle Mountain, near Little Rock. It was a beautiful fall day and a great hike.
There are two ways to get to the top of the mountain: the East Summit Trail or the West Summit Trail. There also is a trail (the Base Trail) that loops the entire base of the mountain. So if you want to make a loop of it, you can go up one side, then down the other, and then loop back to the start via either the north or the south half of the Base Trail.
If you make this loop hike, I suggest doing the East Summit Trail (the more difficult one) first.
The West Summit Trail is steep and challenging, but the East Summit Trail is even more so. Tim Ernst has written that it is the steepest trail in Arkansas. (Check out the approximate elevation profile from my 2010 hike post.) While the top half of the West Summit Trail is like walking a very steep staircase with crooked stairs, the top half of the East Summit Trail is pretty much just scaling boulders.
Rush is a former mining community that existed along the Buffalo River that was originally established for the mining of zinc ore in the mountains there. The town exists now as an old ghost town with no current residents. However, many historic sites remain with structures dating back to the 1880′s.
The Morningstar Loop is a short loop that is the best route to take to get a feel for the history of this area. The Rush Mountain Trail is a level stretch of trail that takes you by several of the old mine entrances for the area.
Morning Star Loop
(Directions for getting to the Rush Historic District are in this post.) Park at the Morning Star trailhead. It is the first parking area on the road. It is on the left, just past the row of old buildings on the right.
The Morning Star Loop is .2-mile loop that starts to the left. It first passes an old smelter that dates back to 1886. It is the oldest structure in Rush.
Rush is a really interesting and unique little area right along the Buffalo River. The community dates back to the 1880′s when mines opened as prospectors mined for zinc ore that was discovered in the mountains here. Mining in the area was at its peak during World War I when its population reached an estimated 5,000.
After the war, mining production declined due to the drop in the market demand for zinc. The mines were eventually shut down. The last post office in Rush closed in the mid-1950′s. When it was acquired as part of the Buffalo National River in 1972, it was a ghost town.
All that is left of Rush today are a few abandoned buildings, the remains of some others, and a few hiking trails that connect them all.