A Familiar Trail in Unfamiliar Conditions

Shepherd Spring Waterfall

Shepherd Spring Waterfall from the trail

I wanted to avoid flooded roads so Hiker-dog and I headed to Lake Fort Smith this morning. We hiked the Shepherd Spring Loop Trail and enjoyed hanging out at the waterfall and Shepherd Spring for a while.

Shepherd Spring Waterfall

Shepherd Spring Waterfall

This waterfall is about seven feet tall and rarely runs this strong. The water has a beautiful flow because of the stair step shapes in the rock.


I’d like to know the story behind this chimney located next to the trail and a short distance from Lake Fort Smith. Another chimney and Shepherd Spring are located along this section of trail.


This is a normally dry drainage that crosses the trail as it flows to the lake.

Shepherd Spring

Shepherd Spring

Shepherd Spring always has water, but today it was flowing more heavily. The water storage tank no longer holds water so the water runs out at the base of the concrete wall.


Portions of Lake Fort Smith were covered in debris from a fast moving and flood level Frog Bayou. Fort Smith broke precipitation records in May dating back to the 1940s.

Frog Bayou

Frog Bayou

I got a view of Frog Bayou from the trail high above. There’s no crossing in this area. It’s difficult to appreciate the water levels and volume of flow off in the distance, but you couldn’t pay me to cross that creek at these levels. As high as the water is now, you can see areas down below the trail that were covered by rushing water recently.

Small drainage

Small drainage

I had a closer look at this small drain that runs along the trail where it intersects back onto the OHT close to the waterfall.

Had to laugh on my return trip when I noticed the waterfall sign. Seems unnecessary now but it serves a purpose during the dry season when you have to imagine what it might look like with water.

It was a great day to hike a familiar trail clothed in springtime wet season conditions.


Hiker was glad to get on the trail after several rainy days.

Hiker was glad to get on the trail after several rainy days.

One thought on “A Familiar Trail in Unfamiliar Conditions

  1. Great photo, Sir! When I was camping there, the “falls” were a little short of water. But, since all the crazy rain you’ve been having, this is a very nice shot! A wonderful campground might I add, too! Thank you for sharing!

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