02 Aug How to Get to Hawksbill Crag at Whitaker Point in Arkansas
I got up at 4:30 this morning, raring to make what I thought would be a short drive from my home in Harrison, AR, down to Hawksbill Crag which is located SOMEWHERE on Whitaker Point. I had done my research, and I thought that my GPS would take me right to the spot, but GPS doesn’t work on Whitaker Point — or anywhere else far beyond Harrison’s city limit. I am directionally challenged, and I had a lovely drive through some deep wilderness spots on Whitaker Point, but I never found Hawksbill Crag. Tonight, I am making some better plans for my next attempt to find one of Arkansas’s most photographed spots near the Buffalo River.
Directions: Head south on Highway 43 from Harrison and then take Highway 21 South through Boxley Valley south of Ponca. Turn right on County Road 5, Cave Mountain Road and travel approximately 6 miles to the trail head. When you arrive at the Cave Mountain Church, the trail head is .6 of a mile further. You will see a sign marker on the left of the dirt road with a big rock. Parking is on the right side or along the county dirt road. https://www.harrisonarkansas.org/c_upe_view.php?id=77
I followed the directions explicitly, and I drove miles and miles on a gravel road that is called Cave Mountain Road.
The first time, I drove completely past the place to park for Hawkbill Crag, and I turned around and drove back across the road again. There is a place to park to begin your hike toward the Crag, but I think that this is where I got on the wrong path. I tried to walk through the wilderness on the side where I parked [at the Wilderness Access spot]. Apparently, I should have crossed the road and headed in the opposite direction.
Following are some explicit directions to the actual Hawksbill Crag:
“Turn right onto Cave Mountain Road. You’ll know you’re at the right place when the gravel road heads up, seemingly straight up. This is a rough, rocky, steep road. I will note that we’ve made the trip many times in our 2-wheel drive car without problems, but never when the road was wet and potentially slippery.
“The road will eventually level out. Continue on Cave Mountain Road for a total of 6 miles; it will feel like a lot more.
When you pass the Cave Mountain Church and cemetery, you’re just a bit more than a half-mile away.
“At 6 miles, you’ll come to a small parking area marked “Wilderness Access.” Find a spot to park here, or on the side of the road if the lot is full. The trail starts out on the opposite side of the road from the parking lot.
Hiking Hawksbill Crag Trail
“This is a heavily used trail, so following it should not be difficult. It starts off down the hill. (Getting back up this hill at the end of the hike is the toughest part of the hike.)
“After going down a bit, the trail eventually levels out.
“At about the 1-mile mark, the trail dips down a bit and crosses a small stream. If there is water flowing in this stream, there is a nice little waterfall down to your right over the bluff. This waterfall is called Haley Falls – named after a six-year-old girl who got lost from her group in this area for 3 days and 2 nights. She was eventually found near here.
“If you go down to the bluff, there is a tree there that can help you get down to the upper version of this falls (and more importantly, back up).
“There is a lower version of the falls that I’ve never been down to because we usually do this hike in October when the leaves are turning and the views here are so tremendous.
“As you cross the stream, you have an option to turn left or right. Both trails lead to the Crag.
“To the left, the trail heads up on a higher path, farther into the woods and away from the bluff line.
“The trail to the right heads right along the edge of the bluff line.
“While the upper path is a very nice hike, we usually take the path to the right and come back on the other route. If you go to the right, the next half-mile is filled with interesting rock formations, great views of the Upper Buffalo Wilderness Area, and a lot of places to stop for a snack or just to soak it all in. (Hitting this area in late October when the trees are in full color is just breathtaking).” See more info and great photos HERE