We came across this unique view during a short road trip that we took from Michigan down to Louisiana. We did only a small amount of research for the trip down, hoping to find at least a few places to stop at along the way and take some photos. When we stumbled upon this we had no choice but to revisit our planned route and find a way to make this a part of the adventure.
Located in northwestern Arkansas, up in the highlands, you will definitely need to plan ahead a little bit for this trek as there is hardly anything around for miles. We actually had to get a hotel about 45 minutes away and that made our morning hike start far earlier than we would normally like but we were sure it was worth it. The drive there starts along normal roads and streets before it turns off into a decently steep, unmarked road that straight straight up in to the mountains. We had read online that vehicles need to be 4x4 to make it up but that is far from the truth. While the road is steep and also quite rocky, our front wheel drive vehicle had zero issues making it up to the parking area just before the hike. There are literally no signs at all until you get to where you need to park and the signs provided still don’t even make it clear as to where the trail begins. We also read online that the hike takes a minimum of two hours to reach the viewpoint but we completed the walk in just under an hour, making only one short stop. If you have Maps.me on your phone, an offline map, it will be a lifesaver… the entire path is plotted on the app. Just make sure to download the local map for that area before you head out as you will most likely lose service during the hike and then the app won’t work.
We started our hike about an hour and a half before sunrise. We wanted to catch the sun’s first light at the viewpoint and we also wanted to make sure that we had it all to ourselves. This is what made the hike so interesting… we did it entirely in the dark. Using the lights from our phones in one hand and a decent sized stick in the other, we fought our way through fresh spiderwebs and vegetation while doing our very best to keep an eye on the narrow, barely used pathway. This hike only sees a handful of people every day so the path, in certain times, can be very unclear. Our downloaded local map was extremely helpful and, despite hiking for roughly an hour in the dark, we found our way without any problems.
Just before you reach the rock outcrop there is a small clearing through the smaller trees where you can set up a really nice shot of the location. If you are traveling with photography equipment make sure you have at least a 100mm lens for this shot because it is pretty far away from what is arguably the best photographic vantage point. The outcrop is far larger than what it seems in the photo and there is a ton of space to walk around on it. The height from the forest floor is what really makes it impressive, however. The tree tops don’t even come close to where you are standing. Caution along the edges is a must and we recommend staying within a safe distance at all times.
If you are passing through northern Arkansas at some point and a nice morning hike is on the agenda, definitely check out this location. We always love the spots that seemingly no one knows much about so this was right up our alley. We recommend planning about three hours roundtrip so be sure to wear comfortable shoes (running shoes are fine for this) and pack food and water. If hiking in the dark isn’t for you, don’t worry, it is open for hiking all day. On our return to our vehicle we saw probably ten people starting their hike and the way out was far easier with the sunlight helping us find our way. This would be an incredible spot to visit for many reasons: picnics, photography, a family hike, or just to enjoy the view.
Don’t be surprised if even the locals in some places nearby don’t know about this spot either… most of the them don’t. We were asking a lot of people about the location the day before we arrived and none of them had even seen the photos that we were showing them from some of the blog posts that we had found. There is a location that comes up in Google Maps and it will take you directly to the parking spaces. Follow that and you will find it without a problem.
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