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Travel 0

Hiking Lost Valley Trail – Ponca/Boxley Valley

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I am always on the hunt for a great hiking trail. I love a trail that offers a mix of relaxed-pace walking, some elevation change (but not too much), gorgeous views and interesting land formations. Caves are cool; waterfalls are even better. The Lost Valley Trail in Boxley Valley offers all of this and more.

We recently spent a weekend in Jasper where we stayed at The Arkansas House and traveled to Ponca for some elk viewing. Knowing we needed to do something else to fill our days, I began researching some of the local hiking trails and the Lost Valley Trail kept popping up.

I’d been interested in Hawksbill Crag/Whitaker Point, but the trail seemed a bit overwhelming considering we’d have our 4-year-old son in tow. He’s done a lot of hiking, but the idea of hiking along the top of steep bluffs and rocks jutting hundreds of feet above the ground below did not sit well with this momma! We needed something a little more family-friendly, and the Lost Valley Trail seemed to check all of the boxes.

About the Lost Valley Trail

This out and back trail is just over 2 miles in length, making it the perfect hike if you’ve got 2-3 hours to spend. The first half of the trail is accessible to strollers and wheelchairs and winds alongside a seasonal creek bed and some interesting rock formations. Several strategically placed placards describe the history and geology of the trail. There are also several benches along the path.

The second half of the trail is fairly steep, rugged and mildly challenging. I wouldn’t recommend this section for beginning hikers or anyone with small children. George did great, but at four, he already has hundreds of miles of hiking experience.

If you are up to the challenge, the payoff is totally worth it. You will encounter beautiful waterfalls (more pronounced during the rainy season), a natural bridge and several caves. And the towering bluffs that rise up all around you are breathtaking.

Top Tips For Hiking The Lost Valley Trail

  1. Arrive Early – The Lost Valley Trail is one of the most popular hiking trails in Arkansas. We arrived early (just after sunrise) and our car was the only one in the parking lot. Two hours later, when we returned, the lot was full, and we had passed well over 100 people on our hike out.
  2. Dress In Layers – The temperatures were cool in the morning, and the trail was well shaded. But as we hiked and the sun rose, we warmed up quickly. Being able to shed our outer layers kept us comfortable and made the hike more enjoyable.
  3. Bring Water – Although not an overly difficult hike, you will need to bring enough water for everyone in your group. The elevation climbs on the back half of the trail will have you working up a thirst in a hurry.
  4. Carry A First Aid Kit – George took a tumble along the trail and having a first-aid kit with some bandages eased his little mind and got us up and moving again in no time. Parenting Tip: Stick a sucker or two in your hiking first-aid kit.
  5. Bring Flashlights – Eden Cave is located at the end of the trail. This 200-foot cave has a waterfall inside of it, but you will need flashlights or headlamps to navigate to it.

Other Popular Trails In The Area

Twin (Triple) Falls (Take an AWD vehicle to the trailhead.)

Whitaker Point

Do you have a favorite hiking trail in Arkansas? Share it in the comments so we can check it out!

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Julie Kohl works from home as a writer and virtual assistant while raising her young son. A former Yankee who was "converted" to the south by her husband, Julie has grasped on to rural life in a sleepy, blink-your-eyes-and-you'll-miss-it town in central Arkansas. Julie loves adventure. Not necessarily "scare-your-pants-off" adventure but the kind where you seek out new and exciting things. New foods, new places, new experiences. On her blog, Seek Adventures, Julie shares about the outdoor and travel adventures of her family as they camp and standup paddleboard across the South. You can also learn more about her writing on her site Seek Adventures Media.

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