Hiking

Caney Creek Wilderness Trail – East Trailhead

  • April 22, 2014

With winter finally coming to an end (and a loooong winter at that!), I was looking forward to some springtime photography. Redbuds and dogwoods have been in full bloom around Hot Springs so I was specifically wanting waterfalls or creeks framed with some beautiful blooming trees. I decided to head to a trail I had never been to before, Caney Creek East Trailhead located in the vicinity of Albert Pike Recreational Area. Click here to see my GPS trail.

So, along the way to Caney Creek you pass by Shady Lake. This is a beautiful spot so I decided to stop just for a moment to grab a shot. The conditions weren’t spectacular, but I like the reflections and the stillness of the water.

As soon as you arrive at the Caney Creek East Trailhead, you are greeted by running water that you have to cross. It’s shallow and you probably won’t even get your feet wet with a few strategic rock hops. The trail then meanders through the woods crossing various creeks along the way.

As I was hiking along, the trail ventured left leaving behind a creek that I was following. I could hear water running in that direction so I decided to venture off course and down a steep hillside. I was happy I did after seeing this small but beautiful cascade.

I headed back to the main trail and found another small crossing. I’m a sucker for water, moss, and ferns. No ferns here, but I still got drawn in.

If you time it right, along the trail you’ll find tons of wildflowers. I saw at least 4 different varieties in several pockets as I hiked.

Another crossing and a nice spot to explore if you have time.

More moss and water so I had to stop!

Yeah, moss… you guessed it.

These rocks make for an interesting scene. The water was extremely clear too.

As I was hiking, I saw this millipede thingy. I’ve never seen one this big! It was HUGE! At first glance I panicked thinking it might be a snake. I’d say it was 8 inches long!

At another crossing, you’ll find these interesting rocks that are extremely jagged. Odd formations. You’ll also notice a lot of green algae along the way.

Here is a view looking upstream. This was probably about 3 miles into my hike.

And now for my favorite spot of the hike! This isn’t an official waterfall I’m sure, but I’d like to name it “Whomperjaw Falls.” Not sure if that’s how you’d spell it though. To me this is a bit of an optical illusion. Would you guess that I had my camera tilted when taking these photos? Nope… exactly level. The way the rocks lean and the water falls makes it look crooked.

Summary:

So, how would I rate this trail? Not too shabby, but nothing spectacular. Realize though that I cut it a little short. My total hike was about 7.5 miles which didn’t quite get me to Katy Falls. Maybe that would have made it better. On the plus side there is plenty of water to see, some nice cascades, plenty of wildflowers, and terrain changes. It is moderately strenuous which I like. Maybe I’d have liked it better if it would have been a loop. Technically you can turn it into a loop if you incorporate Buckeye Mountain Trail, but then you have to hike way back along the road back to your car. So, I guess I’d give this one a “B.” Oh, and remember those redbuds and dogwoods I was looking forward to? Not a single redbud spotted! Dogwoods… well, there were a few in the forest area but none along the water. I guess they were both behind Hot Springs due to the elevation difference.

 



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