Arkansas: Caney Creek Wilderness

An Ozark oasis loaded with wildlife and fall colors.


Crayon-company executives should come here to get ideas for new colors. Between the pink and purple wildflowers in spring, the greens of summer, and the scarlet and gold of autumn, they’d have a field day.

Start your technicolor trip on the Caney Creek Trail, the main loop trail in the wilderness. It cruises 20 miles beneath an old-growth forest of patriarch pines, white oaks, and beeches. Listen for wild turkey and coyote. Springs bubble up over washboard bedrock, and grassy meadows make perfect campsites. If vistas are your thing, follow branch trails to 2,300-foot Ouachita mountaintops.

Where: To reach the trailhead, take AR 246 west 10 miles from Langley, then head 9.2 miles north on Forest Road 38.

Maps:Arkansas Hiking Trails Guidebook ($21.95, Wilderness Visions Press, 800-838-4453).

Trail Info: Tim Ernst, Ozark Highlands Trail Association, (501) 442-2799.