Things to Do
Arkansas Buffalo River Cabin
Lost Valley Hiking Trail (2 miles south of Ponca) Directions from Cabin
GPS: 36.00787, -93.36625 (trail open, but barrier free trail closed)
The most popular hiking trail in the upper Buffalo River area. Barrier free stretch, suitable for families. Eden Falls, Native American shelter, waterfall in cave, outstanding spring wildflowers. Elk occasionally frequent the fields along the entrance to the trailhead. Lost Valley Hiking Trail may be the best hiking trail for everyone in the Buffalo National River. Horses are prohibited on this trail.
Left: Three species of trilliums are part of the spring show at Lost Valley
Arkansas Elk Herd (south of Ponca in Boxley Valley) Directions from Cabin
GPS: 36.07817,-93.297486 There is no better place to see the elk herd than Boxley Valley. The annual elk rut draws visitors from many states. Boxley Valley is a great venue for photographers and wildlife watchers. The annaul rut goes from mid to late September until November, though some elk rut before and after these times. Big bull elk keep their antlers until around April 1, so the elk viewing season is long. Combine your elk visit with a hike at Lost Valley (above).
Right: This bull elk is in front of the old Clark homestead at Lost Valley.
Ponca Elk Education Center (in Ponca) Directions from Cabin
This Center is the busiest education center in the AGFC network. It offers outstanding educational materials on wildlife and elk. Recently it was the recipient of a national award as one of the best education centers in the US by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. Contact them for in-depth information on the current status of the elk herd.
Smith Creek Preserve Directions from Cabin Website
GPS: 35.93548, -93.38612 Smith Creek Preserve is one of the best kept secrets in the Buffalo National River region. Look for the sign on the left, about halfway up the mountain as HWY 21 heads out of Boxley Valley. Hikers only. The round trip trail includes a 500 foot descent. See website for maps and details. Outstanding in the spring for wildflowers and cascades. Remote -- do not hike alone.
Right: Smith Creek ranges from reflecting pools to violent cascades. Great photographic venue.
Hawksbill Crag Directions from Cabin
GPS: 35.88816, -93.4698 One of the most popular hikes in Arkansas. This 3 mile round trip with 200 ft elevation change. Most photographed Arkansas Landmark. Trail can be rough, a few seasonal creeks. Hazardous around bluff edges, children need to be watched closely. Bear sightings now and then. Outstanding for fall color.
Left: Dogwoods illuminate the trail to Hawksbill Crag in spring.
Left: Ponca Elk Education Center is the best AGFC education center in Arkansas.
Lost Valley Canoe -- Float the Buffalo River Directions
In Ponca 10 Miles Lost Valley Canoe has been providing float services for 28 years. They offer a whole range of upper river float rentals and their website provides in-depth information on the river, river conditionsl, and destinations on the major floats.
Right: Canoers on the Buffalo Naitonal River near the Ponca access.