Carwash Falls

Hagarville, Arkansas (Johnson County)

Last Updated: 12/19/2020
4.7 / 5 ( 12 reviews )
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Status:
Open
Typically Open: Year Round
Difficulty: 1-2
( EASY )
Length: 5.55 miles
Highest Elevation: 857 feet
Duration: About 1 hour
Shape of Trail: Straight Through
Best Direction to Travel: North
Nearest Town: Hagarville
Nearest Town w/ Services: Hagarville
Official Road Name: Big Piney Road - 5881
Management Agency: Ozark National Forest
District: Big Piney Ranger District (479) 284-3150 or (870) 446-5122

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, SXS/ATV riders, hunters, fishermen, and anyone that loves the outdoors. The trail parallels Big Piney Creek and Hurricane Creek most of its length, offering beautiful water and foliage views along the way. The highlight of the trail is Carwash Falls, where a stream spills over the top of a small limestone bluff onto the road before entering Big Piney Creek.

Video

Route Information

Advanced Rating System

Recommended Vehicle:
2WD Vehicle with High Clearance
Concerns:
Summary:
This is a well-maintained gravel county road. The only difficulty may be the stream crossing of Hurricane Creek. It should not be attempted by low clearance vehicles or during higher depths or fast flow.

Technical Rating

MANDATORY
1
EASY
OPTIONAL
2
EASY
Dirt and/or rocky road. Potential rocks and/or tree stumps less than 5" tall and/or vertical ledges less than 5" tall and/or near vertical ledges or waterfalls less than 6" inches. Good tire placement likely. Can be steep, but with good traction.
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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 Creek or Hurricane Creek for most of its 5 1/2 mile length. The county road is mostly gravel 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 at Hurricane Creek. The water at the crossing will vary from less than 6 inches during dry periods to as much as 2 feet or deeper after a heavy rainfall or flash flood. Due to the velocity of streams flows, 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 well maintained, but proceed with caution around turns with little or no visibility due to oncoming traffic. This area is relatively remote with little or no cell phone coverage, so prepare your maps and navigation devices before heading out on your trip.
Be aware of the depth of the water crossing at Hurricane Creek. Do not cross if you are unsure of the depth or the flow of the water.

Waypoints

1. Trailhead - Continue Straight (0 mi)
Highway 123 crosses over Big Piney Creek just before you get to the Carwash Falls trailhead. The bridge over Big Piney Creek is a steel truss one-lane bridge that overlooks the river. There is a popular day-use access area on the west end of the bridge where people put in/take out canoes, kayaks, tubes, etc., or just hang out and enjoy the water. Carwash Falls trail begins just east of the bridge on the left. The Forest Service Motor Vehicle Use Map indicates the road name is Big Piney Road but it is also marked on maps as Johnson County Road 5881.
2. Overlook - Continue Straight (0.35 mi)
Stop here and find the small path down the hill. Proceed with caution, and you will be rewarded with a scenic view both up and down the Big Piney River.
3. Campsite - Stay Left (1.66 mi)
There is a small campsite on the banks of Hurricane Creek at this waypoint close to the trail. The trail actually continues 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 could cause flash flooding.
4. Two Unknown Trails - Continue Right (1.79 mi)
There will be two unknown, unmarked trails at this waypoint. Continue right on the main trail.
5. Campsite - Stay Straight (1.85 mi)
There is a primitive dispersed campsite at this waypoint close to Hurricane Creek. As with any campsite located near water, camp with caution at your own risk. Flash floods can cause dangerous situations quickly!
6. Hurricane Creek Water Crossing - Continue Straight (1.87 mi)
The depth of flow in Hurricane Creek can vary from a few inches to over a foot or two deep depending on rainfall. Proceed with caution, and do not ford the creek if you can't see the bottom, your vehicle isn't capable of crossing, or you don't feel comfortable doing so.
7. Low Hanging Cliff Rocks - Stay Straight (2.83 mi)
As you approach this waypoint the road seems to disappear into a large rock. It actually funnels between two rocks and heads back down to the bank of Big Piney Creek. You cannot see what is coming from the other direction so proceed slowly. The road is narrow and two vehicles will not fit through this spot side by side. If you have a tall vehicle or rooftop tent, do not get too close to the overhanging rocks at this point.
8. Carwash Falls - Stay Straight (2.92 mi)
This waypoint is the highlight of the trail and the reason many venture this way. A small stream spills over the top of the limestone bluff approximately 25 feet above Big Piney Road, washing away some of the dust you may have accumulated along the trail up to this point. It is a very picturesque spot with the waterfall coming down and Big Piney Creek flowing alongside the road on the opposite side.
9. Unknown Trail - Continue Straight (3.98 mi)
Continue straight past the unknown trail.
10. Low Water Bridge - Stay Straight (4.28 mi)
Stay straight and cross the low water bridge.
11. Trail Ends (5.55 mi)
The trail ends at an intersection with Parker Ridge Road (also known as Forest Road 1202 / Highway 30). There are no signs at this intersection, but Parker Ridge Road bends back to the right at a sharp angle and begins an ascent up Parker Ridge. You can turn around at this point and run Carwash Falls in reverse or continue exploring more of the beautiful Ozark National Forest from here.

Directions to Trailhead

Starting Point: Little Rock, Arkansas

Directions from Little Rock to Carwash Falls Trailhead - Big Piney Creek Rd - County Road 5881 Get on I-630 E then take I-40 W Follow I-40 W to US-64 W/E Main St in Lamar. Take exit 64 from I-40 W 1 h 21 min (94.2 mi) Merge onto I-630 E 1.4 mi Use any lane to take exit 139A-139B to merge onto I-30 E toward N Little Rock 3.1 mi Use the left 2 lanes to take exit 143A to merge onto I-40 W/US-65 N toward Fort Smith Continue to follow I-40 W 89.5 mi Take exit 64 for US-64 toward Lamar 0.3 mi Take AR-123 N to Co Rd 5881 in Perry Township 45 min (29.3 mi) Turn right onto US-64 W/E Main St (signs for Lamar) 2.1 mi Turn right onto AR-123 N/N Johnsonville St Continue to follow AR-123 N 2.5 mi Slight right onto AR-123 N/AR-164 E 5.6 mi Slight left onto AR-123 N 16.2 mi Arrive at Co Rd 5881 / Big Piney Creek Rd Continue to follow Co Rd 5881

Camping

Dispersed
Improved
Designated
There are several primitive dispersed campsites along the trail. A few miles from the trailhead is Haw Creek Falls Recreation Area which has a US Forest Service maintained campground. There are 9 family sites with a vault toilet but no electricity or running water. Dispersed camping is also permitted throughout the Ozark National Forest, but be mindful of hunting seasons since a good portion of this trail is adjacent to the Hurricane Creek Wildlife Management Area.
Camping: Carwash Falls

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Questions & Answers (0)

Writer Information

Shawn Ayres

Mapping Crew - Arkansas

Shawn is a native of Arkansas, and enjoys camping, exploring the National Forests, chasing waterfalls, and canoeing/kayaking. His wife and family love to accompany him on most of his outdoor adventures. He is also an avid rock-crawler, and can be found at the local off-road park any chance he gets. Having been a trail guide there, he knows the trails well, and enjoys showing new guys the ropes.
For individual use only, not to be shared.