May 10, 2018

Hike to Glory Hole Waterfall in the Ozark National Forest

Spring is the perfect time to hunt for waterfalls, especially Glory Hole Waterfall, in the Natural State. Spontaneous rain showers ensure lots of water flowing in creeks and tumbling over waterfalls.

If you’ve followed any of our family’s hiking adventures, you know we love the thrill of chasing a waterfall. Sometimes we find them; sometimes we don’t. There have been times where we’ve gone back multiple times to find the elusive big fall.

The sense of accomplishment in finding what we’re looking for is like nothing else I’ve experienced. It always feels so good when we start to hear the roar of the falls because we know we’re close.

 

Where is Glory Hole Falls, Arkansas?

The hardest part of finding Glory Hole was figuring out where the trailhead began; even that wasn’t too difficult, though. You can find the parking area for the trail right along the highway between Fallsville and Edwards Junction, almost 14 miles south of Boxley Valley. Explore the Ozarks has detailed location instructions.

If you have a four-wheel-drive vehicle, you can drive about ¼ mile down the trail and park there. We decided to hike since it was such a beautiful day.

Glory Hole Waterfall Trail is about a 2-mile trek, round-trip. While it is a moderate trail, the kicker is that over half of it is downhill; meaning that on the way back, it’s mostly uphill. Just carry lots of water, take your time, and you’ll be fine.

What’s the Trail Like?

We decided to park near the highway, so the first part of the trail seemed more like a road because it is. It’s actually a Jeep/four-wheel-drive road.

Once we got past that road, we came to a fire pit and a fork in the trail. Going right, we saw a sign that said something about steep cliffs and taking caution. That trail to the right started our journey down the hill. The trail got quite rocky but still wide enough almost to be a road.

At the bottom of the hill, we came to the most beautiful creek, all sparkly in the sun. It was Dismal Creek, the creek that forms Glory Hole Falls.

Making Our Way to Glory Hole Waterfall

We could have kept going on the narrower trail, but we decided to follow a footpath right along the creek. This gave us time to get Zeke (our youngest) out of the pack and take a breather, let him and the boys play in the water just a bit.

All along the creek are several smaller falls and overhanging cliffs and rock ledges; it’s such a beautiful area to explore. Here and there were mossy areas with bright green moss and patches of purple violets. The trees were just starting to bud, so most of them were still leafless. However, the dogwoods were just beginning to form their white blossoms, as well. It was breathtakingly gorgeous, even without leaves on the trees.

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Finally, not too far down the creek, we made it to Glory Hole Falls. All of a sudden, there was a big hole in the rock where the creek has basically drilled a hole through the rock ledge. It falls a little over 30 feet to the bottom, where you can walk right up to the falls and stick your hand in it.

We made our way to the bottom to find both the waterfall and a part of the forest filled with huge boulders and tall trees as far as the eye can see. We had the entire place to ourselves for most of our time, quite the rarity when hiking anywhere it seems. But we soaked up every minute of the wondrous serenity of that place.

It was just what we needed and made the hike back up the mountain worth every deep breath.

Glory Hole Waterfall itself is mesmerizing. I probably could have stood and just stared both down into the fall and up into the hole for quite a long time. Water is a powerful thing. Nature never ceases to amaze me; as I stood there, I couldn’t help thinking how lucky I am to live in such a place as this where there are so many beautiful places to find and explore.

Things to Know Before You Hike to the Glory Hole Waterfall

Keep your kids close, especially as you get closer to Glory Hole. There is a steep cliff’s edge, and the waterfall itself is quite treacherous. Exercise caution when exploring, with or without kids.

There are no restrooms and no water stations. You are on your own. I recommend carrying extra water (plenty of water), snacks for fuel, and maybe a roll of toilet paper too.

The trail is not accessible. It’s a rougher trail and pretty much uphill on the way back to your vehicle.

Dogs are allowed, as long as they’re kept on a leash.

The trail is pretty secluded, at least during the week. We hiked on a Wednesday, and people were few and far between. I think we ran into three couples while we were hiking. We had the waterfall all to ourselves.

Wear good shoes. The trail can get a little rocky in places, so it’s best to have good shoes to protect your feet and keep you going.

Have you hiked to Glory Hole Waterfall? What was your favorite thing about this magical place?

Mel Lockcuff

Arkansas Women Bloggers member Mel Lockcuff is a wife and homeschool mom to 3 boys, a family lifestyle blogger, freelance writer, and lover of the outdoors. She’s the owner and writer behind Adventures of Mel, where you'll find adventures in family, food, crafts, DIY, outdoor living, travel, and more. Mel’s work has also been featured in 66TheMotherRoad Magazine, as well as with Only in Arkansas, Visit Rogers Arkansas, Rhea Lana's, and Great Day Farms. Mel and her family live on a small 1-acre homestead in Northwest Arkansas.

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