Less than 3 hours northwest of Little Rock, Arkansas, is a small rural town harboring world-class secrets that any outdoor enthusiast envies.
The best-known travel destinations around the world do well to boast one or two magical bodies of water. Jasper, Arkansas, however, is home to innumerable rivers, creeks, streams, waterfalls, and hidden water holes. They vary in color from crystal clear to every shade of blue and green.
The largest and most important of them all is the famed Buffalo River. It runs 153 miles through the Ozark Mountains, with 135 miles protected by the National Park Service. Because there is no dam and the scenery is stunning, it is a hotspot for tourists who love canoe and kayak down its gorgeous waters.
One of the favored spans to paddle runs from Ponca to Steel Creek, where experienced kayakers might find some challenging whitewater depending on the season and rainfall. Canoe season is March through June, but there may be areas that are floatable through August. However, after significant rain events when the water is running high, it is recommended to avoid floating or limit activities to only the most experienced kayakers.
Near Jasper, Boxley Valley sits alongside the Buffalo. Once you are on the river, you will find this area displays nature at its finest with free-roaming elk and other wildlife in case you need a little quality time away from the crazy city life. Close by, and you might glance up at Roark Bluff and become mesmerized by its glorious reign over the valley and river.
Strap on your boots, load up your backpack and grab a picnic lunch. You deserve this great adventure.
Jasper is also home to pristine waterfalls of every size. Within a short hike, you can enjoy the awe-inspiring beauty of Upper Indian Creek Canyon Falls, where the geological formations allow the water to flow from multiple rock shelves into a calm, welcoming pool. Because the walls around the falls are steep, you will want to be extra careful trekking around this mystic waterfall.
Then, you can hike Lost Valley Trail to Eden Falls and Eden Falls Cave. The waterfall goes for some distance before switching back and plummeting into a natural turquoise pool. It is a stunning sight. However, your adventure doesn’t stop there. When you hike to the backside of Eden Falls Cave, you will want to take a rest while you absorb the beauty of the waterfall inside.
Just northwest of Jasper at Compton, you cannot miss the waterfall at Hemmed-In Hollow. It drops a spectacular 200 feet and is the tallest waterfall between the Appalachians and the Rocky Mountain Range. The remarkable rock formations add to the breathtaking attraction of this waterfall. You will never forget the experience.
Finally, the emerald waters of Triple Falls are also outside of Jasper but not too far. It is an easy hike to get to and provides a quick dip in the water pool if you visit on a hot summer day. Here, you will discover one of the most popular and photographed waterfalls in the state. If you travel to this site after a heavy rainfall event, you will see that the split in the falls turns into three. It is impressive. Don’t forget your camera.
Outdoor enthusiasts, hikers, kayakers, and environmentally friendly visitors are welcome to visit all that Jasper, Arkansas, offers. However, other visitors and locals alike have expectations that you observe parking rules, monitor your dog, and clean up after yourself and your pet, carrying all of your trash and belongings back off-site. Keep nature beautiful for everyone.