|Typically Open:||Year Round|
|Highest Elevation:||789 feet|
|Duration:||About 1 hour|
|Shape of Trail:||Straight Through|
|Best Direction to Travel:||North|
|Nearest Town w/ Services:||Jasper|
|Official Road Name:||USFS 1002 (Big Piney Road)|
|Management Agency:||Ozark National Forest|
|District:||Big Piney Ranger District|
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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?
The last waterfall before you reach the end of this track.
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.
Starting Point: Russellville, Arkansas
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.