Exploring Upper Jack Creek in the Ozark National Forest

Small cascade above a pool.

Small cascade above a pool.

My reason for hiking down the upper section of the Jack Creek drainage on an old roadbed was to see if I could find an access point for my 4.3-mile section of the Ozark Highlands Trail. I maintain from the Dockery Gap Trailhead west to the second Jack Creek Crossing. I carried my cellphone as a camera to save weight and avoid damaging my real camera while bushwhacking.

As often happens, the Ozark National Forest rewarded me with unanticipated beauty. As the upper Jack Creek flows toward the Ozark Highlands Trail, it carves its way through a high-walled canyon. The rock walls contain several rushing cascades. Hiker-dog and I enjoyed stopping along the creek for the views and to pick off ticks. Tis the season for ticks and such. I look forward to returning to this location with my real camera in fall or winter!

Pool on Jack Creek

Pool on Jack Creek, tan from runoff of recent thunderstorms. 

Hiker enjoying the water

Hiker enjoying the water

Jack Creek 3

Canyon walls next to Jack Creek

Canyon walls next to Jack Creek

Evidence of old homestead next to Jack Creek

Evidence of old homestead next to Jack Creek

View upstream from the top of a rushing cascade.

View upstream from the top of a rushing cascade.

7 thoughts on “Exploring Upper Jack Creek in the Ozark National Forest

  1. Just wondering Jim, have u ever explored the waterfalls around the jack creek area? There are 3 nice waterfalls the next drainage over from jack creek. If u are on the OHT coming from dockery gap, you cross jack creek and basically its the next drainage you come to after the jack creek crossing. I believe it has a log across it and a solid rock bottom. If u go up that drainage, that’s where the waterfalls are. There are also some smaller waterfalls on bear branch.

    • Yes, I know that creek and the waterfall upstream. It has been several years since I went up that drainage. I would like to take a camera up there when conditions are right. I have a film photo of one of the smaller falls on Bear Branch. You’ve reminded me I need to get out there and see those areas again! Thanks for the comment.

  2. The bushwhacking you describe here… Is this more of just going around the obstacles? Or actual whacking? Curious! Thank you in advance.

      • Ozark,

        Quick question here… I took my first solo hike to “Artist Point” today.

        I think I was ill-prepared for a few things. My beginnerness is showing, but…

        1. Spiderwebs everywhere… I guess I was the first to hike this recently. Any tips on getting through the trail without your face blasted by webs? This greatly slowed my trip… while lowering morale.

        2. Short and chacos (shoes) seem to be a recipe for poison ivy outbreak. Thoughts?

        Thank you!

  3. 1. Spider webs are all about adopting a Zen-like acceptance… If they’re really bad, I sometimes wave a small leafy branch in front of my face which helps knock them down.
    2. I always wear long pants, hiking shoes, and socks. The best defense for poison ivy is Dawn dish soap and hard scrubbing after exposure.

    • Thank you for your kind feedback. And for answering my questions!

      Took my second hike on Sunday to Hawksbill Craig (blog update coming soon). I wore regular tennis shoes. My hiking experience was much improved.

      Next… go to Lewis and Clark (or somewhere) and buy legit hiking shoes. I reckon Lewis and Clark will also have hiking socks and pants you mentioned? Is there a cheaper or better place you might recommend?

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