Monday, April 26, 2010

Devil's Den State Park

PHOTO OPS AT DEVIL'S DEN INCLUDE, bluff view from Yellow Rock, one of many wildflowers along trails, tree stump destoyed by bear looking for grubs and bugs, and waterfall along DD Trail.

Spring in the Boston Mountain Plateau of the Ozark Mountains in northern Arkansas is a great time of the year to hit the hiking trail with your camera.
More specifically, the trails of Devil's Den State Park located just south of Fayetteville.

Created in the 1930's as part of the federal Civilian Conservation Corps, Devil's Den was one of the first state parks in Ark. and the many hand-built cabins, bridges, and trails offer outstanding photo ops. An example is the hand-built stone dam across Lee Creek, featured as our main blog photo.

Of the many trails available at DD, the two I enjoyed the most are (in order of popularity) Devil's Den Trail and the Yellow Rock Trail.

The DD Trail offers a three-stage water fall that can be magnificent after a heavy spring rain and at the least "pretty" at other times.

Bat caves, huge crevices, fallen boulders as large as houses and weird rock formations, along with enough wildflowers to make a full bouquet, make this trail the favorite with many visitors. This relatively easy and short trail, suitable for most family members, starts right behind the visitor's center.

From atop massive cliffs riddled with crevices and caves, the Yellow Rock Trail offers some incredible overlooks showing Lee Creek carving its through the valley. In order to preserve the wildness of the area, these cliffs don't have warning signs or safety rails, so watch your step and keep an eye on your kids.

Proper footwear, a water bottle and a snack are recommended for this trail, I DON'T recommend pets on this trail. And by all means DO NOT FORGET THE CAMERA!
This is a slightly longer and tougher hike, but the photo ops are countless. The switchback trail seems to offer something new at every turn.

Unless you are just a hard core hiker that likes to walk up hill a lot, I DON'T recommend the Overlook Trail. Just get in your car and drive to the lookout point if you must, but you will only look down into a heavily wooded valley. The CCC style pavilion is cool and a good place to relax, but not worth nearly the nearly 5 mile hike in my opinion.

There are other longer, tougher trails that should only be attempted by experienced cross-country, over night camper-hikers.

Lee Creek that runs through the heart of the park abounds with photo ops as well. From the stone dam to the small stone cabin along a remote stretch of the creek, to the old mill dam and homestead ruins. There are some excellent areas for family fishing or paddle boat rides.

The park offers a modern swimming pool, restaurant, store ( these are seasonal), laundry and quaint stone cabins with modern facilities, including satellite TV, modern full kitchen, some even with spa tubs!

After leaving Interstate 540, the closest gas station is in Winslow 12 miles away. And the closest digital camera batteries are some 30 miles away in Fayeteville!

If you're looking for new territory to explore, Devil's Den State Park in Northwest Arkansas should be on your agenda.
You can check out the park through the website