Hemmed-In-Hollow Falls

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Written by

Faebyan Whittle

Destination Distance From Downtown

45.7 miles


5 of 5 diamonds


Time To Complete

2-5 hours


Hemmed in Hollow Falls is a jewel in Arkansas not only because it is the tallest waterfall in Arkansas, but the tallest waterfall between the Appalachians and Rockies.  The hike along the way is also considered one of the top places to hike in the Buffalo River region.   Done as either a 5 mile out-and-back or in a 7.2 mile or 10.8 loop,  this hike  makes a wonderful day hike or backpacking trip. 

Venturing out in the spring or fall is the best time to catch the falls and the trail at its best but you need to be prepared with supplies.  The quickest way to the falls begins at the Compton Trailhead which is the 5 mile out-and-back, but the terrain is not for the weak or weary due to several narrow areas at a steep incline, so a first-aid kit is non-negotiable as are trekking poles.  You will always need to bring plenty of food and water, although if the season has provided sufficient rains you can bring a water filter and get water along the trail.  There are a few water crossings that offer both a lesson in balance and humility, so bring a pair of waterproof hiking boots and sandals.  You will be immersed in breathtaking overlooks, bluff lines, old homesteads, and beautiful beech trees that color the forest gold in the fall, so a camera is definitely a necessity.  If you happen to hike this trail while it is raining, you will pass several mini-waterfalls that beckon you the 209 foot falls and it only excites the senses more because you can feel the energy of the water ahead.  Families are welcome on this hike, but be reminded that the terrain may be tricky for tiny feet and may take a family longer to complete, so be sure to adjust food and water to accommodate.  Families should make frequent stops with snacks as not to run down the littlest hikers and lunch at about a mile or so into the hike (for the 5 mile out-and-back day hike).  This is essential to keep energy levels from dipping because while this hike is short, it makes you work. Unfortunately, dogs are not welcome on this hike, so make sure to leave your four-legged buddies with a doggy-sitter.  When you reach the falls, you feel like you can't get your neck to bend back far enough to see the immensity-so step back some to give your spine a rest.  The sound of falling water cradles your eardrums and the mist saturates everything-so make sure to use those trekking poles!  When you are finally able to peel your gaze away from the falls, make sure you are treading as carefully as before to prevent any mishaps as the rocks are slippery with moss and moisture.  The return hike is giddy, not only because you can't believe that you actually saw such a beautiful sight but that you can see this anytime you need to get away. 

For further information on Hemmed-In-Hollow Falls, Tim Ernst has several books referencing this hike, my favorite is Arkansas Waterfalls Guidebook.

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Hemmed-In-Hollow Falls

Ponca Quad
Compton, AR, 72624
36.075327, -93.348967

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