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17 Best Waterfalls in Arkansas to Hike, Swim, and Have Fun

By | Last Updated : 6th May 2021

Arkansas is home to many magnificent natural and human-made waterfalls. They are mainly located either to the northwest corner of the state in the Ozark National Forest or to the west-central portion of the Ouachita National Forest. While some of them are easily accessible, you would need to hike all the way to get to a few. Besides, taking the pleasure of a visual retreat, you could even engage yourself in a host of recreational activities from hiking to swimming on your visit to these stunningly beautiful spots.

Waterfalls in Arkansas

Waterfalls in Northern Arkansas

1. Kings Bluff Falls

Kings Bluff Falls in Northern Arkansas

Gushing down from a height of 120 feet, the Kings Bluff Falls is one of the tallest waterfalls of Arkansas. Situated in the Pedestal Rocks Scenic Area, this place offers some of the best hiking experiences and scenic beauty. The perfect time to get some spectacular views of the falls is from April to September. Dogs on leash are also allowed to use the track. Parking and toilet facilities are available in this area.

Nearest City: Approximately 6 miles from Pelsor.

Hiking and other activities: You can experience the breathtaking view along the 1.8 mile Kings Bluff Loop Trail that you would cross to reach these falls. Take special care if you have kids along as the rocks are a little slippery. You can also enjoy sightseeing the adjacent woodlands and gather knowledge about the history of Arkansas’geology as you climb by.

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2. Pam’s Grotto Falls

Pams Grotto Falls in Northern Arkansas

Tucked away in a deep gorge with bluffs (rounded cliff) towering the path, Pam’s Grotto is a lesser-known waterfall found in the Ozark National Forest. With a height of 37 feet, it plunges to form a small pool at the base. The calm and serene atmosphere around is sure to woe you to the fullest. Children and dogs on leash are allowed to visit here. You can park your car near the Haw Creek Falls Campground.

Nearest City: About 42.5 miles from Russellville.

Hiking and other activities: You can reach the falls after hiking a short trail of 0.8 miles from the Haw Creek Campground. You could camp at Haw Creek, but the place does not provide any facilities as such.

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3. Falling Water Falls

Falling Water Falls in Northern Arkansas

Falling Water Falls is a magnificent waterfall located south of the Richland Creek Wilderness Area of the Ozark National Forest. To get here, you need not toil hard as it is visible when you reach your destination. The falls get even more gorgeous during winters as huge icicles dangle from the creek.

Nearest City: Ben Hur is the nearest city, only 3.5 miles away from the fall.

Hiking and other activities: No hiking is required to reach this easily accessible fall. Swimming in the pool adjacent to the waterfalls is a sought-after activity, especially if you go there during summers to beat the heat.

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4. Eden Falls

Eden Falls in Northern Arkansas

 Situated in the Buffalo National River, one look at the Eden Falls would give you the impression of a cascade of water gushing down from a staircase, mainly because of its multi-tiered nature. If you are an adventure lover, you can further explore the Eden cave and also get a splendid view of the underground waterfall hidden there. It is in its full glory during the monsoon seasons.

Nearest City: About 28 miles from Harrison.

Hiking and other activities: The Lost Valley Trail is a 2-mile hiking trail to reach the falls. Sightseeing and bird watching are some other activities that can be enjoyed here.

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5. Haw Creek Falls

Haw Creek Falls in Northern Arkansas

With a mere height of 5 feet, Haw Creek Fall may not be that tall, but it is one of the finest attractions situated in the remote part of the Ozark National Forest. As a magnificent hardwood forest surrounds it, this destination is a camper’s hub. However, the campground remains closed during heavy rainfall. A parking area is available near the falls. It is kid-friendly, also permitting leashed dogs.

Nearest City: About 25 miles from Clarkesville.

Hiking and other activities: The Haw Creek Falls can be easily accessed by the Ozark Highland Trail. There are many campsites and picnic spots with vault toilets.

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6. Mirror Lake Falls

Mirror Lake Falls in Northern Arkansas

As the name suggests, Mirror Lake Falls is known for reflecting its own serene and crystal blue waters, replicating a painting. Located in the Blanchard Springs Recreational Area, the splendid waterfalls flow into Mirror Lake, a human-made reservoir created by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s.  If you are in a mood for adventure, you can explore the immense cavern beneath the falls formed by overhanging rocks.

Nearest City: Mountain View is 13 miles to Mirror Lake Falls.

Hiking and other activities: You can view these beautiful and multiple terraced waterfalls from the circular Mirror Lake Trail, which is 1.7 miles long. You can also bring your dog here with a leash. Besides swimming, one could even go camping and picnicking here.

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7. Glory Hole Falls

Glory Hole Falls in Northern Arkansas

Glory Hole Falls, located in the Ozark National Forest, plunges straight from the hole created by a creek through an overhanging bluff. You’ll also find many unique geological formations around. The best time to witness its beauty is during the monsoon. Also, you can see a sheet of ice when the fall is frozen during the winters. Beneath the falls is a grotto or cave that one can further explore An undeveloped parking area is available with provision to park many cars together.

Nearest City: About12 miles west of Deer, Arkansas.

Hiking and other activities: To reach the falls, you need to hike the 1.9 miles Glory Hole Falls Trail from the parking area. Dogs on a leash can also use the trail.

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8. Twin Falls of Richland Creek

Twin Falls of Richland Creek in Northern Arkansas

Situated in the distant Richland Creek Wilderness Area, the Twin Falls of Richland Creek offers a marvelous view, especially after a rainfall when the water levels are high. There are two more beautiful falls in the area, the Richland Falls and the Hamilton Falls.

Nearest City: 12 miles from Ben Hur.

Hiking and other activities: To reach there, you can hike up the Richland Creek from the campground, though there is no particular trail leading to the falls.

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9. High Bank Twin Falls

High Bank Twin Falls in Northern Arkansas

With a height of 70 feet, High Bank Twin Falls are located in the Boston Mountain Area of the Ozark National Forest. These tranquil falls get their water from the Mulberry River and can be seen in its full glory when the water level is high. Hence, the best time to visit the place is after a good rain. A parking lot is available here.

Nearest City: About 26 miles from Clarksville.

 Hiking and other activities: A short ¼ mile hike from the highway compatible for novice and experienced hikers leads to the waterfall. You can also enjoy fishing here, mostly from fall to winter. Don’t miss out on canoeing on the Mulberry River, 5-minute away from these falls, for added pleasure.

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10. Hamilton Falls

Hamilton Falls in Northern Arkansas

Hamilton Falls is a part of the Richland Creek Area that also houses two other falls. Though not tall, the Hamilton Falls stretches along the entire width of the Richland Creek. The water pours into a pool surrounded by boulders. It lies in a remote place and gives a feeling of serenity and coziness, generating a stunning picturesque view during the monsoons.

Nearest City: Approximately 17 miles from Pelsor.

Hiking and other activities: Hiking to this pace can be arduous and not at all suited for beginners. You will need about 5-6 hours to complete the 6 miles long hike. There is a camping spot also around this area across Richland Creek.

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11. Hemmed-in-Hollow Falls

Hemmed-in-Hollow Falls in Northern Arkansas

With a mighty height of 210 feet, the Hemmed-in-Hollow Falls is a single drop waterfall located in the Buffalo National River Area in Northern Arkansas. It is said to be the highest waterfall between the Rockies and the Appalachians. The best time to enjoy its majestic beauty is late winter or spring when the volume of water is high. Also, you will be able to witness the unique geology of the area. You can also hike down for 20 minutes to the Buffalo River from the falls to enjoy the excellent scenic view.

Nearest City: 9.7 miles from Ponca.

Hiking and other activities:The falls can be reached by various hiking trails such as Centerpoint Trailhead and the Compton Trailhead. The hike is not recommended for kids as it takes about 4-5 hours to complete the trek. The falls can also be accessed by canoeing or kayaking through the Buffalo River.

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12. Natural Dam Falls

Natural Dam Falls in Northern Arkansas

Natural Dam Falls is located in the Ozark National Falls and is one of the most accessible waterfalls that you could see from the car itself. It spans the entire 200 feet width of Mountain Fork Creek, only a few meters away from the parking area. It is an ideal picnic spot, equipped with picnic tables, also providing for other recreational activities.

Nearest City: Approximately 17 miles from Van Buren.

Hiking and other activities: You could drive right up to the waterfalls and do not need to hike up. Other activities such as fishing and swimming can be enjoyed here, especially during the summer.

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13. Cougar Falls

Cougar Falls in Northern Arkansas

This 80 feet tall waterfall is located near the Leatherwood Wilderness of the Ozark National Forest. Visit to one fall would give you three other splendid beauties, namely the China Falls, Little Glory Hole, and Crosscut Falls, as a bonus. You can keep your car at the parking lot, which is near the falls. To reach your destination, you need to walk downhill and follow the little drainage to the creek at the bottom.

Nearest City: About 12 miles from Pelsor/ Sand Gap

Hiking and other activities: The mile-long trail is a little difficult because of the turnouts on the road running close to the falls.

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14. Fuzzy Butt Falls

Fuzzy Butt Falls in Northern Arkansas

Tucked in a small, unique canyon along the Falling Water Creek lies the 16 feet tall Fuzzy Butt Falls. Just like its unusual name, the location of the Fuzzy Butt Falls is also unique. Hence it is known to be a hidden waterfall in the Richland Creek Wilderness of the Ozark National Forest.

Nearest City: About 18 miles from Pelsor/ Sand Gap

Hiking and other activities: You can easily access the falls once you find the trail, which starts after crossing the bridge near the parking lot. It’s a pretty easy hike for about two miles and is dog-friendly too.

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Waterfalls in Western Arkansas

1. Little Missouri Falls

Little Missouri Falls in Western Arkansas

Located deep in the Ouachita National Forest, Little Missouri Falls is a small yet attractive. This waterfall, set on the upper reaches of the Little Missouri River, cascades into a deep gorge. The best time to view them is during the springtime or the winters. Parking facilities are available here. Kids and dogs on leash can also enjoy the trail to the falls.

Nearest City: 31.5 miles from Glenwood.

Hiking and other activities: A short hike along the Little Missouri Trail will take you to the splendid viewing area of the falls. Picnic spots along with restrooms are available in the parking area. You can also enjoy swimming here.

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2. Forked Mountain Falls

Forked Mountain Falls in Western Arkansas

Forked Mountain Falls is a little yet scenic waterfall in the Flatside Wilderness of the Ouachita National Forest, set on the Forked Mountains, at an elevation of 1,350 feet. This 7 feet waterfall cascades to a clean pool. The surrounding mountains, the little falls, and the natural wilderness are a treat to the eye. There is a parking area available here.

Nearest City: The waterfall is approximately 19 miles from Jessieville.

Hiking and other activities: You can easily access the falls by hiking a mile along the trail, which begins near the South Fourche Campground. You can enjoy swimming in the pool formed by the falls. If you hike further, you will come across another beautiful waterfall, the Twist Cascade. You can bring along your dog here though it must be kept on leash.

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Central Arkansas

1. Cedar Falls

Cedar Falls in Central Arkansas

Located in the Petit Jean State Park, Cedar Falls is one of Arkansas’s tallest and most spectacular waterfalls, standing 95 feet tall.  Underneath the falls is a shady grotto surrounded by towering cliffs that offer some of the best views. You can go there during spring or in winters to enjoy the splendid beauty of the plunging waters. You can also explore the rest of the Petit Jean State Park, featuring numerous trails and two swimming pools.

Nearest City: 16 – 17 miles from Morrilton

Hiking and other activities: You can access the place via the Cedar Falls Trail, 2.25 miles long. It also offers other fun-filled activities like swimming, nature-gazing, and bird-watching.

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TOP PICKS

Best Waterfalls for Hiking: Pam’s Grotto Falls, Glory Hole Falls, Eden Falls

Best Waterfalls for Swimming: Little Missouri Falls, Falling Water Falls, Mirror Lake Falls

Best Hidden Waterfalls: Glory Hole Falls, Fuzzy Butt Falls

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