Carwash Falls

Jasper, Arkansas (Johnson County)

Last Updated: 07/26/2019
4.5 /5 ( 4 reviews )
Information
Nearby Trails
Status: Open
Typically Open: Year Round
Difficulty: 1-2
(EASY )
Length: 5.5 miles
Highest Elevation: 789 feet
Duration: About 1 hour
Shape of Trail: Straight Through
Best Direction to Travel: North
Nearest Town: Jasper
Nearest Town w/ Services: Jasper
Official Road Name: USFS 1002 (Big Piney Road)
Management Agency: Ozark National Forest
District: Big Piney Ranger District
Distance:
Showing 0 trails within 2 miles

Highlights

Highlight: Carwash Falls

Big Piney Creek flows south out of the Ozark Mountains down to its confluence with the Arkansas River near Russellville, Arkansas. This area is popular with canoeists, kayakers, tubers, hikers, bikers, ATV riders, hunters, fisherman and just those that love the outdoors. This trail parallels Big Piney Creek and Hurricane Creek along its entire length offering beautiful views of those streams as well as numerous small waterfalls that drain to them. The highlight is Carwash Falls, where a small stream spills over the top of a vertical, limestone bluff onto the road before entering Hurricane Creek. There are plenty of other roads and trails to enjoy in the area, and you can bounce your way on up to Jasper, Arkansas at the end of the ride to grab a bite to eat at the Ozark Cafe, or better yet just plan to stay over and "float the Buffalo" the next day. A day floating down the Buffalo River has been called one of the top outdoor recreational activities in the United States. Jasper is home to several canoe outfitters who ply their trade on the upper reaches of the Buffalo River, the first "National River" to be so designated in the United States. The Buffalo River is free flowing as a result, with the designation protecting it and ending plans to construct a dam along it in 1972. Cool water, numerous springs, limestone bluffs, waterfalls and wildlife can be seen all along the Buffalo River, and there are many opportunities to pull off onto a gravel bar for a rest, a picnic, or just to explore. While Big Piney or Hurricane Creek may not be floatable past mid-summer, the Buffalo is almost always available for a fun day on the water. It does get quite busy in the summer, so if you can, plan your visit on a weekday rather than the weekend. The trail also runs parallel to the western border of the Hurricane Creek Wildlife Management area. The area is protected, has few roads or trails, and offers excellent opportunities for hunting or off trail hiking.

Video

Weather

7 day forecast for Carwash Falls

Route Information

Advanced Rating System (BETA)

Recommended Vehicle:
2WD Vehicle with High Clearance
Concerns:

Technical Rating: 1-2
(EASY )

Dirt and/or rocky road. Potential rocks and/or tree stumps less than 8" tall and/or vertical ledges less than 9" tall and/or near vertical ledges or waterfalls less than 12" inches. Good tire placement likely. Can be steep but with good traction.

Read more about our rating system

Description

This trail begins at the Highway 123 crossing over Big Piney Creek in Johnson County and follows along the east bank of either Big Piney or Hurricane Creek for most of its 5 1/2 mile length. The county road is graveled and easily passable by most vehicles without 4WD with no major grades or elevation changes. Low clearance vehicles may have difficulty with the water crossing (Hurricane Creek). The water at the crossing will vary from less than 6" deep during dry periods to as much as 3 ft. or deeper after a heavy rainfall. Due to the velocity of streams flow, if the depth is more than 2 or 3 inches above your center hub, or high enough to come in contact with your chassis, crossing it is not recommended. The road is decently maintained and there are few intersecting roadways or trails. This area is relatively remote, but there are a few homes along the way. The road continues on past the end of this trail, and it's up to you whether to continue on or to turn back.
Be aware of the depth of the stream crossing of Hurricane Creek (Waypoint 5). Do not cross if you are unsure of the depth of flow.

Waypoints

1. Carwash Falls Trailhead (0.00 mi)

The Highway 123 crossing over Big Piney Creek is just past (west of) the Carwash Falls trail head. The highway bridge over Big Piney Creek is a large, steel truss bridge that's been painted blue. There is a popular day use area on the west end of the bridge where people put in/take out their canoes, kayaks, tubes, etc., or just hang out and enjoy the water. Carwash Falls trail begins just east of the bridge, on the right. The Forest Service Motor Vehicle Use Map indicates that the road is number 1002 (Big Piney Road), but the blue sign on the entrance to the road says Johnson County Road 5881.

2. Small Waterfall (0.74 mi)

If you make this journey within a few days of a moderate rainfall passing through, you'll get to see several small waterfalls as they tumble down the rocky streams on your right on their way to joining Big Piney Creek that runs parallel to the track on the right.

3. 2nd Waterfall (1.27 mi)

Try to plan your trip in the spring or early summer, before it gets hot and there's still flow in Big Piney Creek and its tributaries. There are many, many small waterfalls that are fun to stop and take pictures of along this route.

4. Stay Left At Campsite (1.62 mi)

There's a small campsite on the banks of Hurricane Creek, and at this waypoint, the trail seems to head right into it. The trail actually turns left just before entering the campsite. This trail runs alongside Hurricane Creek Wildlife Management Area, and during most hunting seasons, the campground may be occupied. If you consider camping here, be aware that sudden rainfall events could cause flash flooding

5. Hurricane Creek Crossing (1.82 mi)

This trail video was taken a few days after a significant rainfall had occurred in the area. The depth of flow in Hurricane Creek was between 10" and 15", and the stream was moving swiftly. Be aware of your vehicles capabilities and don't put you or your family at risk. If you can't see the bottom, and if you wouldn't consider wading across this stream, don't drive across it.

6. Road Between The Rocks (2.74 mi)

As you approach this waypoint, the road appears to disappear into a large rock. It actually wiggles between two rocks and heads back down to the bank of Hurricane Creek. You can't see what's coming from the other direction here, so take it slow with your approach. The road is narrow, and two vehicles can't pass through this spot side by side.

7. Carwash Falls (2.85 mi)

A small stream spills over the top of a limestone bluff, approximately 25 ft. above Big Piney Road, giving you a good opportunity to wash away any dust you may have accumulated along the trail up to this point. Quite a pretty spot with the waterfall coming down and Hurricane Creek flowing alongside the road on the opposite side. No bucket and sponge required.

8. Waterfall #4 (4.01 mi)

Another waterfall that you may want to stop and investigate. Did I mention you probably want to consider taking this route in the spring, a few days after a rainfall has passed through?

9. Finally The Last Waterfall (5.27 mi)

The last waterfall before you reach the end of this track.

10. Parker Ridge Road (5.49 mi)

Parker Ridge Road. There're no signs at all at this intersection, but Parker Ridge Road bends back to the right about 160 degrees and begins an ascent up Parker Ridge. If you have the time and want to continue with your trail ride, there are some nice rock formations and overlooks a short distance up Parker Ridge Road that are sure to satisfy your curiosity.

Directions to Trailhead

Trailhead Coordinates: 35.677450, -93.234530

Starting Point: Russellville, Arkansas

From Interstate 40 in Russellville, go north on Highway 7 approximately 36 miles to Pelsor and turn left on Highway 123. Continue west/southwest on Highway 123 for 11 miles until you reach the Big Piney Creek bridge. The trailhead is on the right, just before you reach the bridge. There is a sign at the road entrance, Johnson County Road 5881

Camping

Dispersed
Improved
Designated

There are several campgrounds in the area, but the closest is the Fairview campground off Highway 7 south of Pelsor. Remote camping is permitted in some areas, but be mindful of hunting seasons since a good portion of this trail is adjacent to the Hurricane Creek Wildlife Management Area. Dispersed camping is allowed, but be mindful of private property.

Camping: Carwash Falls

Land Use Issues

Hurricane Creek stream crossing.

Trail Reviews (7)

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
We ran this road from Hwy 123 to the end and then back again. It was 75 and beautiful. There were a few campers and other vehicles but it wasn't overly busy. The famous falls were just a trickle but Hurricane Creek was a nice level. We enjoyed it.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
First timer for strip’n the doors and roof off of the wrangler and putt’n through the bushes so thought I would start out slow and easy with a novice trail. Turns out it was a good decision. The previous reviews were right on point. Shady, smooth, wide, and only a few moments of “real” wheel’n. Unfortunately, halfway through the course, I lost signal and, you guessed it, I got lost. I was hoping for a few directional arrows or some such idiot saver, but no luck. So, we went crushing up and down the mountain roads looking for daylight and that took awhile. But, it was still a blast if not for “the Queen” giving me the evil eye!! LOL I would definitely recommend this trail for a beginner, with, perhaps, Verizon as a service provider? It was a great trip, long enough to make me feel like I was a real “wheeler” and short enough to afford me some time to get lost!!

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Just to add to Brooks great review, if you drive this south to north as outlined, you have 3 options when you get to the piney creek bridge at the north end. Make a right on Parker ridge road up to Deer, go left across the bridge on pine ridge rd , it will loop back south to Rosetta then you can run back down to 123 or west to hwy 21 , Third you can go straight to limestone then north to deer . All options are good in thier own way. This road has seen quite a increase in traffic the past few years so be careful of meeting a vehicle at the blind curve just south of the car wash or other similar spots.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
It was a cold and overcast day. It was my first time on this trial/road. I found the scenery very nice. The creek was easily crossed and the water was about six inches deep. The carwash was only moderately dripping. Overall it was a very relaxing drive.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Road was open and clear. Still some icicles on the norther side of the bluffs. Very little flow coming over the falls. A group of approximately 40 jeeps went through here around noon on this date. Water crossing approximately 12" deep.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Went to check out car wash falls in the sub freezing temps. A little water was coming down, but for the most part the entire rock wall was covered in icicles! Beautiful sight and some were very large! The water crossing was easily done this time of year, water was around 6" or so.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Passable with high clearance F150. Water crossing over 12" deep.

Questions & Answers (0)

Writer Information

Brooks Booher

Mapping Crew - Arkansas

Retired Civil Engineer from Arkansas. Got my first jeep when I was 50, but haven't been without one since. I know, they're a pain in the AZZ, but they're worth it. Hardly ever get out of it without a smile on my face. Wife, dog and I love to kick around in the Ozark National Forest, looking for waterfalls, new trails, and just enjoying out time in the woods. Like to go on cruises, go on float trips, will probably get back into mountain biking now that I'm retired, and should be living in NW Arkansas by the time anyone reads this, so I'll be going to more Arkansas Razorback football, basketball, baseball, track, etc. events. Will be living about 15 minutes from campus. If you live in NW Arkansas and would like to go with us on our woodland adventures, just let me know.
For individual use only, not to be shared.