View Full Version : Destinations

18-Jul-2016, 19:02
Hi ya'll,
Please forgive if this is redundant but I think a thread like this might be useful.

Rather than polluting other folk's threads with comments about other shooting locale (sorry Vaughn), why not have a thread for sharing. destinations. Post your idea of a good LF venue. You might include Google maps or other sites that may have information. If you have been there, why not post a photo of what you found, LF or not, either way. You don't have to share the exact location if you like secrets. You don't have to post research of the area either just a searchable name. Of course Google Maps or Earth could provide some road side views. Just keep in mind that these images have a tendency to lessen the impact of actually being there.

So with that in mind I would like to introduce you to Northern Arkansas and the Ozark Mountains. I grew up there and discovered the beauty as a teenager who just learned to drive. Dirt roading is a must in this region. There are many dirt roads that lead to other dirt roads that lead to other.....you get the picture. The Ozark Nat'l Forest is here and is also home to several well kept state parks. Still reservations will be necessary for the turning of the leaves.

This portion of Arkansas has much to offer for LF landscape including but not limited to pastoral scenes ripe with old barns and sheds, pasture, and picturesque farm steads. The areas east of Fayetteville all the way to Paragould and north of I-40 are all beautiful. It is bounded to the south by I-40 and to the north by US HWY 412. Within that area is th Buffalo Nat'l River and includes place such as Upper Buffalo famous for white water in early spring, Hawksbill Crag, Ponca, Camp Ore, Big Bluff, Buffalo State Park, mines of Rush. The Buffalo's primary attraction is canoeing and kayaking with plenty of camping spots along the river, just anywhere the river turns. My favorite area is Ponca. There a testimonial to one fishing trip on my website called "Treasures of a River" (http://martymckimmey.com/Stories/Treasures%20of%20a%20River.htm). This area is remote so housing and meals are what you bring.


Other than the Buffalo River there is Eureka Springs, AR for the cultural folk. This small town is tacked on the side of the mountains. It is a cross between a hippy commune and a Swiss villa....with a bit of redneck tossed in. They did have some really nice music festivals though. Beaver Lake is close by, a Army Corp of Engineers lake designed for flood control on the White River but servers as a recreational draw for the larger towns of Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers, and Bentonville (yes, Wal-Mart but don't hold that against the area) . The Mulberry River is also a locally well known kayaking trip. Just make sure you are skilled enough and there is enough water, early spring.

As noted there are state highways that crisscross this region. Of note is Hwy 16 a two lane black top that runs east out of Fayetteville. It runs through such places as Elkins, St. Paul, Crosses, Japton, Nail, Deer, and on over to Fairfield Bay in Central Arkansas. It cuts right through the Ozark Natl Forest. It crosses Hwy 7, a scenic byway running from Hot Springs, AR north to Harrison. Hwy 7 also runs through the central portion of the region. It is paved with some passing lanes in the steeper mountains. The north is bounded by US Hwy 412. Any road cutting south will lead into the wilds of Northern Arkansas. Also, The Pig Trail starts in Fayetteville on Hwy 16 but turns south on Hwy 23 to the town of Ozark on I-40. Unless they have changed the road in the last 10 years, and they may have, it is a steep and narrow drive with almost no passing lanes.

To the West of Hwy 23 and south of Hwy 16 is the heart of the Ozark Nat'l Forest. It includes miles upon miles of dirt roads. The main attraction in this area is the Mountain of White Rock. Get a map, it is easy to get lost. There is a small camping area on the top of the bluff lined mountain. You could hike around the entire top in less than an hour. There are Vistas off the mountain top in all directions but from different locations. You can see the Ouachita Mountains to the south, Oklahoma to the west and Missouri to the north. Near by is Shores Lake with some nice camping grounds. Lake Fort Smith is down stream. That lake was recently expanded so I'm not familiar with it any more. These areas were once CCC camps built during the depression. There are rustic cabins on top of White Rock but getting one is difficult especially during fall.

Further west is the old Hwy 71 connecting Fayetteville and Alma. Once a busy and dangerous route it has been replace by an interstate type route on the next mountain set to the west. Hwy 71 is now a scenic byway with vistas at almost every turn. It runs the spine of the mountains, where it is not tacked on the side. This route like most others I have named are bordered by miles and miles of forests with potential sunrise and sunset vistas. Again, it has been over 10 years since I have seen that road so check on it before you go.

Somewhere along this route the Ozark Highlands Trail begins. It runs all across the Ozark Nat'l forest with crossings at dirt roads. One cold spend many days or weeks on this trail. I am not up to snuff on this so do some research before you go.


I could go on as there are many more destinations in this region be it for hiking, fishing, canoeing, camping, or anything in of a natural photographic theme.

I would be happy to answer any questions about the region. Just PM me.