Friday, March 11, 2016

Hiking Hawksbill Crag

Hawksbill Crag is located in the Ozark National Forest in Arkansas. The trail is 3 miles round trip and offers many extraordinary views.

The iconic Hawksbill Crag photo

When to go
We went in late May and everything was so green. The temperature was comfortable but the day we went it rained off and on throughout the day. After we snapped a few pictures, it started to downpour on us. We didn't mind too much since it wasn't really cold but it did make the hike more intense. The rain did made for some great scenery and great photos though! Even with the rain the hike was well worth it. Hawksbill Crag is a sight to see! My parents went in early November hoping to see the leaves change but were a little too late. Most all the leaves had already fallen. Therefore, if you would like to see the leaves colorful my suggestion would be to go in October.

My dad at Hawksbill Crag in November 

We went on a Saturday and even with the rainy weather the trail was busy! Even saw someone get engaged! Weekends are inevitably busier and in peak seasons parking can be an issue. If you want a more secluded trail try to go on a weekday, otherwise there will most likely be other people there.

What to bring
You will want a good pair of tennis shoes for this hike. There is some elevation change but nothing too challenging. If you plan to stay a while at the outlook, water and a snack are probably a good idea. The trail is 3 miles round trip, but Grant and I did an out and back from the outlook because we struggled to find where the trail looped around in the downpour. Instead of getting lost in the rain, we decided to turn around. A camera is a must! If the weather was like our trip (raining) a poncho or quality rain jacket will also be needed.

From Ponca take Hwy 43 South to Hwy 21 (turn left/south). Then go about 1.5 miles. Right before   Boxley Bridge, that crosses the Buffalo River, turn right onto Country Road 5. It is a dirt road that hardly looks like a road. It seems to go straight up at first and is kind of sketchy. We made it up in a Prius, so I think any vehicles can make the trip. Travel about 6 miles to the trailhead. It will be a steep
climb but eventually levels out on top. About a 1/2 mile from the trailhead will be an old church. You will know you are there because the road pretty much ends.

How to get the iconic shot
There is a small opening a ways away from the outlook that gives you the iconic shot that is seen in so many pictures. If you are wanting to get a picture of you on the outlook, you will need someone who is willing to hike back or wait there to take the picture. Grant and I went by ourselves so we were not able to get a picture with us both.

Grant getting the iconic Hawksbill Crag picture 

Don't just go for the iconic picture. The other side of the outlook also provides a beautiful picture.

Laura on the other side of Hawksbill Crag

Our trip
We really enjoyed this hike and would highly recommend it to anyone. The views throughout the trail are picture worthy, as well as Hawksbill Crag. Our experience was very pleasant. We saw a couple get engaged, saw the rain coming in, and put our ponchos to good use in a downpour. It was a memorable hike and one I would love to go do again.

Grant and Laura hiking to Hawksbill Crag 

Overlook along the trail

Small waterfall along the trail

Rain coming in 

Another rock formation

Some shelter from the rain 

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