Jasper, Arkansas, Buffalo National River

We have finally made it to half the states! Arkansas is number 25. We spent some more time in the Ozarks. It was green and beautiful and humid. We had wanted to go floating down the Buffalo River but the river was too low. We stayed at Dogwood Creek in Jasper, Az. A nice family owned place. Has a slide with a wicked turn at the end.
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One day we went on a drive that in Car and Driver Magazine listed as one of top 10 drives in the country. It was lovely. Twisty and turny with overlooks and beautiful farms song the way. We took Highway 7 along ridge line and south to Pelsor stopping at overlooks to enjoy the Grand Canyon of Arkansas.

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In Pelsor we stopped at Hankins General Store (Established 1922). The owners were sitting in easy chairs in middle of the store chatting under the ceiling fans.
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We then backtracked north. We stopped at Nellie's Crafts and talked to the wonderfully nice lady working there. We some jam made by local Menonites (and another kind "made in a holler over the mountain") admired the beautiful locally hand-stitched quilt. We did ourselves a favor and grabbed a couple free bluegrass gospel cds for the rest of the drive. We continued north 4 miles to the 16 and turn led west.

You can take a detour on 327 to see the natural bridge at Alum Cove. Turn at the sign. There is .7 mile out and back hike and picnic areas.

The famous Glory Hole is outside Swain. The unique waterfall falls through a hole in the rock. Looks neat but it's dry now in summer and hike is a bit strenuous. So we skipped it.

We went north on 21. Past Mossville it got foggy on the steep curves and we got some big drops of rain suddenly. It lasted only a few minutes but made the forest erupt with the most amazing smells.

After the steep twists you enter Lost Valley. Farms nestle in the valley and the hills stand tall around them. Breathtaking.
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We hiked the Lost Valley trail. Take Road 1015 (there tiny road sign on left)( no sign for hiking trail if headed north. It is just past a turn out next to a bunch of cows on right that has a sign about elk. If get to 43 turn around. There is a sign when headed south.)

The path is almost completely shaded.
The path is almost completely shaded.

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The hike is a perfect kid hike. Just over a mile each way and pretty flat. I imagine when the creek bed is full it must be amazing. You hike on a nice path then can veer off to scramble up and through a natural bridge. Even in the dry season our feet got wet with deliciously cold water.

Up the creek rocks and into tunnel
Up the creek rocks and into tunnel

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The final portion up to the cave can be a bit nerve wracking. There are steep rock or concrete stairs and it's only wide enough for one. Watch the kiddos.

Inside the cave you can explore a bit. Just enough to be exciting and to cool off.

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In Ponco just up the 43 there is Buffalo Outdoor Center. It is a large store with outdoor gear, tshirts, rentals, and snacks. There is a swimming hole to the right just after Ponco that had water even in July.
We took the 74 east back over to Jasper. Beautiful day.

The town of Jasper is cute. There is a few blocks of downtown, a museum, a couple restaurants. Ozarks Cafe was recommended by our campground owners. Has live music on Saturday nights. Stop at the Chamber of Commerce in downtown and look at the wonderful crafts made by local artisans. Stop into Emma's Museum of Junk. It is a thrift store filled with a bit of everything. It can be a trip down nostalgia lane or a place to get that odd object for your house.
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