The Leatherwood Wilderness is a remote and scenic part of the Ozark National Forest. The wilderness contains over 16,000 acres of woods and streams, including dozens of waterfalls (many of them over 80 feet tall). It doesn’t seem like very many people venture out there, even if popular recreation spots like Blanchard Springs and Gunner Pool are located nearby.
One of the more interesting waterfalls in the wilderness is called Funnel Falls. It’s a spot where two waterfalls tumble over a bluff, with one of the falls rushing through a funnel by a natural bridge. The falls can be reached by hiking about a half-mile from the road. Be sure to find the trail that leads down there, otherwise you’re stuck trying to bushwhack down a hillside that is covered in ice-storm debris.
A big storm passed over the state last Friday night, dumping some much-needed rain. The rain was enough to force me to be awake early, where I found myself standing in the chilly morning air just after sunrise at the road through the Leatherwood Wilderness. I headed up there with Matt and Zack, and we set off through the woods towards the falls.
The hike is short, but steep in parts. You head to the top of the bluff, with the waterfalls running past you. We headed down the hill to the base of the falls and started to set up some cameras and tripods...
This is the East Funnel Falls, which are a good 50 feet feet tall.
And a side view of the falls - the creek here twists around and is funneled down by the natural rock formations, hence the name.
This is looking downstream from the falls, as the creek tumbles further down a small valley...
I headed over and got a few pictures of the West Funnel Falls, which drops straight down sheer rock. The falls needed a bit more water in them, but the color in the rocks was neat. It almost looked tropical.
We hiked back up the steep hill to the top of the bluff, and worked our way around to the top of the falls. There is an amazing view there, of the top of the East Falls with the natural bridge. The bridge is tall, and I wasn't brave enough to walk out on it. This is the view of the East Falls with the bridge:
From there we headed back up to the road, and tried to decide which waterfall to visit next...