If Buffalo River lovers were pressed to name their favorite spot, well, this most scenic of Arkansas hiking trail icons might just take first place.
View the Whitaker Point Trail Map.
Directions from Ponca
Take Hwy 43 South to Hwy 21. Turn left. Go about two miles to the Boxley Bridge that crosses the Buffalo River. Turn right onto gravel road #9560 and go about 6 miles. About 1/4-mile from the trailhead, you’ll pass the Cave Mountain Church & Cemetery on the right. Trailhead parking is limited, so if you’re arriving on a Saturday (especially in the spring and fall), expect to have to park along the roadside. When the trailhead parking area is full, thank you for parking your vehicle so that it does not obstruct through traffic.
“Best Place in Arkansas to Get Kissed”
A journalist once placed it in her “Best Places in Arkansas to Get Kissed” travel article. Disney filmed the opening to “Tuck Everlasting” here. We can’t begin to count the number of proposals and nuptials this aged, craggy rock has seen.
Your Kind of Place
World-class photographers have sought to capture it in the prime of every season. But, for all its fame, Whitaker Point is still “the people’s place.” An inspiring spot where one can do some soul searching or enjoy quality time with friends or family in one of Arkansas’s prettiest places.
Extra Beautiful in Spring & Fall
While the craggy rock may be your destination, there’s plenty to enjoy along the way. In the springtime the trail is lush with wildflowers and along the rimrock trail, a creek tumbles over the edge forming a triple waterfall area. In the fall, the Whitaker Point trail is graced with the bright oranges and reds of turning maple leaves and other hardwood trees. Even in summer, a rich green view over Buffalo River country awaits at trail’s end, with the hike along the way being mostly shaded.
Pack a Lunch and Linger
This is a good trail to pack a couple of bottled waters per person, as folks tend to linger along the way and at the crag. A hearty snack is also in order. And a camera is a must, especially if this is your first time to visit Whitaker Point. The best time to photograph the crag is early in the morning or mid-to-late afternoon, once the sun is behind you. Need a sack lunch for the trail? Let the BOC deli hook you up!
Choose Your Adventure
About half-way to the crag you’ll cross a wet-weather creek where you can choose to go left or right, either of which direction will take you to the crag. Most folks go to the right, where the trail follows the creek for a bit, then turns left at a waterfall ledge. In early to mid-April, watch for the wildflowers, shooting star and fire pink growing along the creek. At the bluffline, look for pink mountain azalea and white umbrella magnolia blossoms to appear later in the month and into early May. At this ledge, the trail now turns and follows the bluffline all the way to the crag. It is quite scenic and there are places that beg you to sit and enjoy the view, even though your final destination is still about 1/3 of a mile ahead. You’ll know Whitaker Point when you see it. Take a few moments to appreciate its grandeur at a distance before hiking on around and stepping out onto the lofty perch it affords.
Please be careful in this area. A bluffline can be a pretty thing, but also a dangerous one. We cannot stress enough the importance of remaining cautious and staying back from sheer drop offs, as well as keeping a vigilant eye on children, even teenagers.
PARKING NOTE: Tickets are being issued for parking along the road, so please use the designated parking lot.