The day began with an early morning drive to the Buffalo River area. My plan was to get an early start on the 11-mile out-and-back hike to Hemmed in Hollow from the Centerpoint Trailhead. Hiker-dog couldn’t make this trip as dogs are not allowed on the Hemmed in Hollow Trail.
As I drove toward Ponca, I passed the parking area for the Glory Hole Falls. There wasn’t a single car, so I pulled in and grabbed my camera and tripod, excited to have the place to myself. The last time I was there, it was crowded and the afternoon sun was glaring into the falls.
I had a good time taking pictures for about 45-minutes before hiking back up and out. I passed at least twenty hikers descending toward the falls at 9:30 a.m.
It was 10:30 a.m. before I got to the Centerpoint Trailhead. So much for the early start. I enjoyed spending some time on Goat Bluff and meeting hikers from Missouri, Louisiana, and Northwest Arkansas. One hiker asked about the restrooms down by the river. I told him that was one of the Villines homesites. I think he was surprised. I was thinking how thankful I was that restrooms were not cluttering this beautiful view.
Granny Henderson’s home was a treat to visit again. I noticed the paper telling her story was missing from the front porch where it used to be posted.
Crossing Sneeds Creek in route to Hemmed In Hollow Falls was a pleasure. I made note to be sure and filter water on my hike back out. I’d forgotten just how beautiful the approach to Hemmed In Hollow was. There are several cascades and waterfalls downstream from the main falls. I was beginning to budget my remaining daylight and decided to return to explore this area another, hopefully, overcast day (better for waterfall photos).
When I arrived at Hemmed in Hollows Falls, I set up my tripod and took a couple of shots. A young man approached me and called my name. Turns out it was a former student, Yancy. Running into him in one of the more difficult hiking locations of Arkansas reinforced the “small world” concept. We laughed because the last time we’d met, we were volunteering for the Lee Creek cleanup in Devils’ Den.
Yancy introduced me to his daughters, and we had a nice visit. They took turns posing in front of the falls. I was pleased because this adds a sense of perspective on this 200+foot waterfall. The ribbon of water is visible toward the top of the bluff, but winds cause the stream to spread as it falls.
The hike back up to Centerpoint Trailhead was just as steep as I remembered but not as long. If you get in a hurry, this climb will humble the strongest of hikers. It was a 14-mile day between the Glory Hole Falls and Hemmed in Hollow. A full day of hiking in this great big beautiful (and sometimes small) world.
My post-hike meal was an Elk Burger at the Arkansas House Cafe in Jasper. Taters on the side of course. The waitstaff stayed busy refilling my ice tea.
I had a short conversation with the owner of the Arkansas House. I learned that Gould Jones built a fully functioning water wheel and stone retaining wall in the branch next to the cafe and near the Little Buffalo River. The mill wheel he built is on display in front of the cafe and was originally used to generate electricity as Jasper continued rebuilding efforts a number of years after the Civil War.
During our visit, I also learned about a new trail that was recently developed by the Nature Conservancy. I look forward to exploring that trail on my next trip to the area.
Hiked Hemmed in Hollow one New Year’s day, did not get an early enough start so the the hike out was faster then we would have liked, but darkness was fast approaching. We often wonder about the group we met on the trail that were headed to the falls, wonder if they gave up or had flash lights. Glad we got to do it as it was beautiful.
As always, utterly delightful
I’m going to assume, based on footwear, that Yancy came in from the river and didn’t do the full hike 🙂
Is the Nature Conservancy Trail the one in the Smith Creek area? They have several new-ish trails over there, only one of which we’ve done. It was a short hike, but like many hikes in Arkansas, climbing back out of the canyon was no picnic.
Yes, the new trail is Smith Creek. I’m looking forward to it. Thanks for reading!
As a child I lived many years (the early 60s) between St. Joe and the Maumee Store which likely no longer exists. My step-dad farmed along the Buffalo. Don’t remember many more details. Thank you for your blogs.
Thank you for your beautiful photos of the trail and particularly the waterfalls. Some day I hope to be an early morning hiker as well. Your pictures and description of the trail keep my dreams alive and make it seem more possible in spite of my current responsibilities. I had a lot of fun telling my hiking friend about the drive to hike ratio…we live five hours apart, meet up and hike whenever we can. Thanks again for those lovely early morning shots!
Good to hear from you and thank you for the kind words. We fortunate to have so many beautiful water features in the Ozarks.
Great post ! I’ve visited the area a couple times, and will again here in 2 weeks, and still didn’t know of a couple things in the area (the old house etc..) Thanks for the great write up, now I have more things to see when I visit. 🙂
Hope you have a great trip. Thanks for reading!