Tagged: Difficulty: Easy/Mildly Challenging

Petit Jean: Bear Cave Trail

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Petit Jean: Bear Cave Trail photo
Large rocks near the end of the trail. If you continue on from here, you’ll be on the Boy Scout Trail and not Bear Cave Trail.

The Bear Cave Trail at Petit Jean State Park is a very short trail — only about a quarter-mile long. In fact, it really is not so much a trail as it is a spectacular place to walk around and explore. There is a lot to see in this small area.

Petit Jean: Bear Cave Trail photo
The Eye of the Needle

The Bear Cave Trail trailhead is on Highway 154, one mile west of Mather Lodge. The trail starts at the back of the parking area.

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Mount Magazine: Benefield East Loop Trail Snow Photos 02-08-2014 Pt. 2

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Mount Magazine: Benefield East Loop Trail Snow Photos 02 08 2014 Pt. 2 photo
This is where the trail continues after crossing the highway at the southeast corner of the trail. (Panoramic.)

Since winter snow is relatively infrequent in much of Arkansas (although we have had more than average this winter), I get excited about the chance to go out walking on a trail in the snow or just to get the chance to take pictures of the woods with a layer of freshly fallen snow.

One great opportunity for this I had was back on February 8 when I hiked the Benefield East Loop Trail at Mount Magazine. There were several inches of snow on the ground and a layer of ice in many places under that.

Mount Magazine: Benefield East Loop Trail Snow Photos 02 08 2014 Pt. 2 photo
Benefield East Loop Trail – Mount Magazine State Park

I posted some of the photos from my hike here.

In this post, I have more photos from my hike. (Click photo for larger view.) These were all taken on the mostly bluff line part of the loop that is south of Highway 309. It is probably the most scenic part of the trail.

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Mount Magazine: Benefield East Loop Trail Snow Photos 02-08-2014, Pt. 1

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Mount Magazine: Benefield East Loop Trail Snow Photos 02 08 2014, Pt. 1 photo
The juncture at the northwest part of the loop where the Benefitled Trail East Loop splits from the Bear Hollow Trail. (Panoramic.)

Last weekend, I got to do some snow hiking at Mount Magazine State Park. I was pretty excited because we don’t get all that many opportunities for snow hiking here in Arkansas.

I picked the 1-mile Benefield East Loop Trail because it is fairly short yet it has some awesome views. Unfortunately, there weren’t any scenic vista views because of fog conditions up on the mountain. But it was still a really cool hike. (And I got to try out my new heavy-duty Columbia Omni-Heat winter gloves.)

I started at the Benefield picnic area trailhead and hiked it clockwise.

Mount Magazine: Benefield East Loop Trail Snow Photos 02 08 2014, Pt. 1 photo
Working my way downhill on the Benefield East Loop Trail, Mount Magazine. This is the sloped area along the northwest part of the loop. (Panoramic.)

There was about 3 inches of snow in most places on the trail with a half-inch of ice under that. It made the rocks on the downhill parts of the trail fairly slippery. (I only completely fell once though.) Navigating through the snow-and-ice-laden branches took extra work on some parts of the trail.

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Hideout Hollow Trail (Buffalo River)

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Hideout Hollow is an interesting little trail in the Buffalo River Upper District. It features some beautiful views,  and ends in a great bluff and waterfall area. While this isn’t one of the more popular Buffalo River trails, there’s definitely a lot to see and enjoy on this short trail.

Hideout Hollow Trail (Buffalo River) photo
Hideout Hollow Waterfall

How to Get to Hideout Hollow Trail

The trail starts at the Shermerhorn Trailhead in the Compton area. To get there, go to the community of Compton, about 5 miles north of Ponca on Highway 43. Turn onto the dirt road at the Compton Trailhead sign. (This road is County Road 19. If you have a four-wheel drive, it will eventually lead to Erbie. You won’t need a four-wheel drive to get to this trailhead though.)

You will come to a sign directing you to the right for the Compton Trailhead. Keep going straight.

At about 3.5 miles from the highway (the road will narrow, so it will seem longer), you will see a “Shermerhorn trailhead” sign on your left. Park in the parking area.

The trail begins behind the sign.

Hideout Hollow Trail (Buffalo River) photo
Overlook from the bluffs on the trail to Hideout Hollow

The Hideout Hollow Trail

The first part of the trail isn’t terribly scenic. It heads downhill a bit (the trail is pretty rocky here), and it crosses a couple of small, mostly dry, streams.

It heads back uphill and then through a group of pine trees.

At about 3/4 of a mile, the trail begins to get really interesting.

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