Magnolia Falls, Upper Buffalo Wilderness, Ozark National Forest
I spent New Years at a cabin above Ponca with some great friends. New Year's Day the crew wanted to go on a leisurely hike in the area, but also to a spot that wouldn't be flooded with people. We chose to head out to Magnolia Falls. This area is becoming a favorite "go to" of mine. This wild and rugged little hollow has a magical quality about it and offers ample oppurtuny for exploration, with three other major falls within just a couple miles, one just a few hundred feet down stream (I'll cover these falls in later posts). The falls are located south of Boxley in an area of the Upper Buffalo Wilderness that overlaps with the Ozark National Forest in southwest Newton County.
Directions: head on Highway 21 past Mossville about 2.5 miles south of the Mossville Church (or 1.8 miles north of Edwards Junction), take Forest Road 1462/ Country Road 9050 on the right (nice gravel road which I would approve for nearly any vehicle). Follow this road for about .3 miles to a pull-off area for parking. There is a “Wilderness Access" sign on the left side of the road. Park here along the side of the road, and enter the trailhead to your right.
The trail: begins on an old jeep road. Expect to cross a couple down trees to stop vehicles to drive in and at least a mud hole or two. Shortly after starting you'll come across a trailhead register on your right, then a creek crossing, and after the trail will split. At the split take the spur on your left.
Shortly after the turn an old stone wall begins to line the trail on your right. This wall must have been built by early settlers in the Upper Buffalo Wilderness and it's a remarkable structure. As the wall begins to merge with some interesting rock formations the trail begins to descend slightly and then crosses another little creek. Turn left at the little creek and follow this trail and the creek down into the grotto of Magnolia Falls.
GPS: N35 51.923, W93 23.904
USGS Quad: Fallsville
Distance: 1.1 miles One-Way
Difficulty: Moderate Hike/Bushwack
Location: Ozark National Forest
Ranger District: Big Piney
Sub-Location: Upper Buffalo Wilderness
Region: Arkansas Ozarks & Boston Mountains