Seven Hollows Trail at Petit Jean

  • November 24, 2013

We had some rain recently so I was hoping to find some waterfalls. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to make the trip to the Ozarks so I decided to something closer. Most people know about Cedar Falls, the big one at Petit Jean. A lesser-known waterfall can be found on Seven Hollows Trail, which I had never hiked before. What a beautiful trail!

For the GPS track, click here: http://cloud.gaiagps.com/public/UhLbihpNgzKpmX6FicaboaWZ/Aerial/

The first quarter mile is pretty boring to be honest. Much of it is covered in small, thick trees and shrubs. My understanding is that that this area suffered a major wildfire back in 2000 which might explain the first part of the trail. After that though, it gets beautiful! I’d say that about 70% of the trail goes between bluff lines like the picture below.

All along these bluff lines are small streams that give several beautiful scenes as you hike. You’ll actually get to cross over these streams quite a few times as you make your way.

I spotted this cool, wormy, millipede looking thingy as I hiked. Yeah, I should have paid closer attention in science class!

I loved the alternating textures of the boulders with the soft, green moss. Very cool!

Here is another plush bed of moss and it looks like a slug or snail recently slimed a path over it.

These next two photos show a very cool scene that was hard to photograph. The water flows down a small cascade on the far side, flows under some boulders, and then makes another small cascade. The hard part was getting low enough to get the shot! First, I had to setup my camera and tripod on the rocks so I could carefully climb down to the water and hold my balance on a couple of shaky rocks. Yay for waterproof shoes! Then I grabbed the tripod and spent a few minutes trying to get it into a stable position (not easy). This is a spot where photos can’t do it justice!

Here is one of the many areas you cross over a stream to follow the trail. This one had a beautiful bend in the cascade.

About half-way into the 4.5 mile hike you get to the spot where you can take a short 1/4 mile detour to the “grotto.” Well worth it! In the photo below you can see the long overhang and the waterfall in the distance on the left.

I decided that getting some shots from behind the falls and a selfie were a must while I was here. Not fun when it’s SO COLD! I’m pretty sure my feet were blue! Totally worth it though! I’d say that the falls are about 18 feet from top to bottom. Oh, and see those small splashes before and left of the waterfall? That is how far the cave sticks out. That is water falling off the cliff overhang.

From the inside and slightly behind the waterfall looking out.

Right about now I noticed the cool pattern being made by the bubbles swirling around in an oval so I tried to get a few long exposure shots. Waterfalls often create a nearby pool that swirls around like this. You can sometimes get a cool pattern if leaves are caught up in the whirlpool.

After spending some time at the grotto I trekked off toward the finish. After all, this was Friday and I needed to pick up my daughter, niece, and nephew from school! I couldn’t resist stopping at this spot though. The water on the right was spurting out of the crevice with a very irregular pattern. Maybe I should have shot video footage instead!

The landscape along this trail offers quite a bit of variety. Bluff lines, trees, moss, boulders, streams, a waterfall, and now a huge natural bridge!

I decided to go into one of the many caves you can find along the hike. This one was a bit bigger than most. The inner walls had some very cool sediment patterns. Glad there weren’t any bears inside waiting to greet me!


I was about to call it a day when I met a very nice man just beginning his hike from the opposite direction. We struck up a conversation and it turns out he is an avid hiker. He knew the area quite well and took me to a nearby cave with some Indian paintings! From inside the cave they’re almost impossible to see unless you know what to look for. I normally geo-tag my photos (add GPS coordinates), but not this time. Unfortunately, some people will actually deface artifacts like this.

Overall, I’d say this isa very nice trail. One of my favorites so far. It’s not a very hard hike and there is lots to see along the way. If you haven’t hiked this trail yet, add it to your list!


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