Mena, AR: Buckeye Mountain To Caney Creek Loop

Slicing through the southwest reaches of Arkansas’ picturesque ridge country, this 10-mile loop climbs to Buckeye Mountain before tracing the meandering Caney Creek.
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Slicing through the southwest reaches of Arkansas’ picturesque ridge country, this 10-mile loop climbs to Buckeye Mountain before tracing the meandering Caney Creek.

From the east Caney Creek trailhead, fill up water bottles at Blaylock Creek (the only water source until Katy Falls at mile 5.6) and head north on the trail paralleling Forest Road 42. At mile 1.1, pick up the Buckeye Trail and head west toward Buckeye Mountain (2,254 feet), the route’s highest point. Enjoy far-ranging panoramas of the tree-topped countryside from Buckeye’s summit before heading west along the ridgeline connecting to East Hanna Mountain. You’ll snag various hilltop vistas before the route bends south and dips downhill at mile 4.6.
Fill up on water at the tranquil Katy Falls, which owes its lucid appearance to minerals in the Arkansas Novaculite rock abundant in the area. Immediately following the falls, you’ll hit the junction with the Caney Creek Trail. Turning right brings you to campsites (0.1 mile west), while the left fork traces Caney Creek back to the parking lot you started from (3.9 miles). Heading east on the hike’s home stretch, you’ll pass another campsite and numerous creek crossings, some of which may prove to be wet when water levels are high. The hike ends with a quick crossing of Blaylock Creek before breaking out of the Buckeye Wilderness and into the parking area.
-Mapped by Tommy Smith

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 16.0

Waypoints

BCL001

Location: 34.39688, -94.022723

Leave your car in the lot at Caney Creek trailhead (off Forest Road 38) and head north for 1.1 miles to the Buckeye trailhead. Fill up water here: next source is 5.6 miles away at Katy Falls.

BCL002

Location: 34.408786, -94.028335

Turn left at the Buckeye trailhead.

BCL003

Location: 34.40517, -94.0303

This large standing rock, composed of the Arkansas Novaculite which is prevalent in the area, makes a good break spot.

BCL004

Location: 34.40583, -94.034729

Climb Buckeye Mountain for superb views of the surrounding countryside. Stay straight on the Buckeye Trail to bypass the many side trails here.

BCL005

Location: 34.405883, -94.036682

From Buckeye Mountain's summit, head west along a ridgeline stretching to East Hanna Mountain.

BCL006

Location: 34.407172, -94.076091

At mile 4.7, begin heading down the southeast contours of East Hanna Mountain. At the upcoming junction, you'll bear right to continue your descent. Katy Falls Spur, which offer a chance to fill up water bottles, is one mile down the trail.

BCL007

Location: 34.396995, -94.080863

Take the spur trail (marked with a crude cairn) to Katy Falls to fill up on water. The trail, which follows Katy Falls back to the trailhead, provides numerous water sources for the remainder of the trip.

BCL008

Location: 34.395333, -94.0815

The Buckeye Trail ends at the junction with the Caney Creek Trail. Developed campsites lie 0.1 mile to the right, while turning left leads back to the Caney Creek trailhead (3.9 miles).

BCL009

Location: 34.396145, -94.084854

Water is available at the developed campsites next to Caney Creek.

BCL010

Location: 34.395402, -94.051251

Prepare for a potentially wet Caney Creek crossing at mile 7.7.

BCL011

Location: 34.397278, -94.037304

Break spot along Caney Creek: trailhead is one mile to the east.

BCL012

Location: 34.39686, -94.0229

Mission accomplished: return to the parking lot and trailhead upon breaking out of the Buckeye Wilderness.

Trailhead

Location: 34.396729, -94.022605

Water is available from the creek at the trailhead, and the parking lot is large enough to hold around six cars.

Buckeye Trailhead

Location: 34.408804, -94.028308

At mile 1.1, pick up the Buckeye Trail and head west.

Arkansas Novaculite

Location: 34.405175, -94.030695

Arkansas Novaculite, a light-colored sedimentary rock, is prevalent throughout the region. Minerals in the rock help water in creeks and rivers appear extremely clear.

Buckeye Mountain

Location: 34.405757, -94.035138

Notch superb vistas of the surrounding countryside from Buckeye Mountain (2,254 feet).

Ridgeline Panoramas

Location: 34.406449, -94.059362

Enjoy extended panoramas of the tree-blanketed countryside while traversing the ridge between Buckeye Mountain and East Hanna Mountain.

Descent

Location: 34.406667, -94.076333

Dip into the Caneye Valley from the southeastern face of East Hanna Mountain.

Katy Falls

Location: 34.396943, -94.080336

Katy Falls provides the first water source since the trailhead.

Campsite

Location: 34.396335, -94.084863

Water is available at these developed campsites situated next to Caney Creek.

Caney Creek Trail

Location: 34.395578, -94.062149

Trace the Caney Creek as you head east to the trailhead.

Caney Creek Crossing

Location: 34.395366, -94.051037

After heavy rain, you'll have to negotiate with a potentially wet crossing here.

Caney Creek

Location: 34.397274, -94.037298

You'll cross the Caney Creek on numerous occasions during your eastward trek back to the trailhead.

Back To Reality

Location: 34.39688, -94.022992

Break through the Buckey Wilderness border and back to the real world upon hitting the eastern Caney Creek trailhead.