I just got back from waterfall hunting in Arkansas (and a side excursion in Oklahoma), and I’m trying to decide which waterfall to start with. Do I start with one of the more exciting waterfalls, or do I start with a waterfall that seems more representative of my experiences.
I guess the second seems to be the better option. I was very excited to visit waterfalls in Arkansas, as it looks like there are a number of taller waterfalls in the Buffalo River region and the Ozarks in general…that was my impression. This may have been one case of higher expectations not necessarily being met…but oh well.
Dewey Canyon Falls represents two aspects of my Arkansas waterfall experience:
1) Without much rain, Arkansas waterfalls are gosh darn boring. I figured showing up in March might lead to a better chance of water than, let’s say, July…but I’m not sure about that. Maybe it was just a dry winter? It had rained a few days before, but that wasn’t enough to make many of the waterfalls have significant flow.
2) Arkansas waterfalls aren’t so easy to find. I’m trying to think of another area that I have had such difficulty in finding waterfalls. With the book on Arkansas waterfalls, I was able to find some more popular ones…but most of the waterfalls in the state seem to be found only after bushwhacking. Now I had horrible success with the EASY bushwhacking. With EASY bushwhacking, I was still mainly left completely confused, standing in thickets of wild roses, for the first time (that I could remember) hoping that I could actually find my way back to the car (and that’s with a GPS in hand). I can’t even IMAGINE medium or difficult bushwhacking, which eliminated a number of very cool-looking waterfalls.
Even finding Dewey Canyon Falls proved to be more difficult than I imagined. After following the directions, I spent a while trying to identify where the heck I was even supposed to go. GPS helped me identify the best place to park, and then I just hoped that was the right place! Luckily, I was going to see at least 1 or 2 waterfalls that day, after searching for four others without any success.
There are major bluffs in Arkansas, which present a challenge, but luckily there is a way to get an OK view of Dewey Canyon Falls, and it’s nearby neighbor Bumpers Falls. It really depends on finding the trail that leads to the falls, though this was the one case where bushwhacking wasn’t too bad. Once I got there, though, the small amount of water made it more difficult to photograph. Oh well…
1) I started out in Big Flat.
2) From Big Flat, I headed east on AR-7 to the junction with AR-341.
3) At the junction of the two roads above, turn left on AR-341. You’ll be heading north, which is the only way you can really head.
4) Go for almost 9 miles (just a little bit under) on AR-341. This is where it gets a little bit tricky. You’re looking for the “first” time you see guard rails on both sides of the road, at least in a considerable distance. Before that, there may be guard rails on one side or the other, but this is the first time I recognized both around the 9 mile mark. If you’re headed north, you’ll actually have an easier time parking on the left side of the road (which means it might be easier to turn around at that point).
5) Once you’re parked on the left side of the road right near the guard rail, head to the north (what I would consider the right end of the guard rail). If you go past the end of the guard rail for about 100 feet or so, you should notice a faint trail that leads into the woods. If you follow this trail, it actually leads you directly to the stream and the almost 90′ plunge that Dewey Canyon Falls takes. Explore to get better views of the falls! Have fun! Be careful!
Where in the World is Dewey Canyon Falls?: map