Thursday, December 10, 2015

Little Missouri Falls

From the Cossatot River, I headed east towards a few other waterfalls that are nestled in the Ouachita Mountains. I left the paved road, and headed into the Ouachita National Forest. There were some really good pockets of fall color here, the best I'd seen this season. This was near Shady Lake.


The road began to run alongside this stream, which I think might be the North Fork of the Saline River. It was up and running high after some recent heavy rains in the area.


The next stop was Bard Springs, which is the site of a small Forest Service recreation area. People used to believe that the waters of Bard Springs had medicinal qualities, and two small dams were built here during the Great Depression by the CCC, along with a bathhouse and picnic shelters.


I've only been to this area once before, and I had forgotten how amazingly scenic it is. At one stretch, the dirt road heads up a steep hill while the creek below has carved a deep valley. The creek itself is crowded with boulders, and it looks like something that you'd find out West and not in Arkansas. I wanted to get a shot of it but couldn't find a good spot to stop. It's on the list for the next visit.

After driving down the bumpy dirt road I finally made it to Little Missouri Falls. This is a popular spot in the Ouachita National Forest, especially in the summer when its a busy swimming hole. The parking lot was full of cars, most of them from out of state (the majority of those having Texas plates).

The hike to the falls is short and paved, and there were some more good fall colors along the waterfall.

Little Missouri Falls

Like most waterfalls in the Ouachitas, the Little Missouri Falls isn't very tall. It's more of a series of cascades and stair-step waterfalls set inside a deep gorge.



From Little Missouri Falls I started to head home, but made one more stop at an old abandoned building in the small community of Hopper. Located near Caddo Gap, the old Hopper School was built in 1902. It's a large building, and it served several uses over its long life (including a community center, masonic lodge and a church).


The building was abandoned in 1960, when a new church was built next to it. But even after sitting empty now for several decades, the old building is still holding on (although who knows how much longer it will last).


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