The Goat Trail to Big Bluff is my favorite hike in Arkansas so far. It’s a decent distance, easy to find, a great workout and my favorite overlook thus far. There are a few things that you should know about this hike before taking on Big Bluff:
» This trail is a 6.5 mile roundtrip hike, but you can also continue on to some other hikes, so know where you’re going.
» The hike to Big Bluff starts at the Centerpoint Trailhead which is located near Possum Trot right off of Highway 43.
» This trail is decently steep and once you get to Big Bluff it becomes just a narrow, rocky ledge. This isn’t the best hike for someone with a crippling fear of heights.
» As always, take plenty of water and a snack to enjoy at the end of the trail.
I’ve visited Big Bluff twice now, once in the summer and once in the fall. Each is a beautiful and unique experience. Because they look so different, I’m going to share them separately so you can see the difference.
Big Bluff in the Summer
This summer Matt and I got up early, picked up my parents and set off for a day trip. Unfortunately, we picked one of the hottest days of the year. Luckily, we started early, but definitely be cautious of the heat + humidity that hits the Ozarks in the summer.
The majority of this trail strolls through the forest. Trees line the path and near the top they open up to views of the mountains surrounding you. Then the trail dips down for the next 1.5 miles or so and then comes back up. You come to a ‘Y’ in the trail and the campground sits in the middle of the ‘Y’. If you turn left, you continue on the trail that will take you all the way to Hemmed-in-Hollow. If you turn right, you’ll see a sign on a tree that simply says ‘Goat Trail’ and you follow it to Big Bluff.
There’s another small section though the trees and then you start to notice the trees to your right start to thin out and on your right, you start to see a bluff rise above you and then it opens up.
When you look out, you can see the gorgeous Ozark Mountains and then further down to the Buffalo River and this is the spot where it makes a perfect horseshoe bend.
My mom has a serious fear of heights, but I’m so super proud of her because she made it to the amazing overview you see below! I looked back from the narrow, rock ledge part of the trail and captured this adorable photo.
Even if you don’t make it to the narrow ledge this is still a super spectacular view!
This, ladies + gentlemen, is my favorite view in Arkansas.
These views show, not only how narrow the ledge gets, but also how tall that bluff is above you. It’s truly something to marvel at.
My papa bear on the trail to the right, and Matt is barely visible to the right. Such a cool trail!
Before heading back up to the top, Matt, my dad and I joined my mom with her awesome view, ate a granola bar and soaked it all in.
Big Bluff in the Fall
One of the advantages of fall is the ability to catch some pretty amazing views at the beginning of the trail. In summer, it’s hard to get this view through all of the leaves.
I mentioned the simple, white sign in the summer section of the post that says ‘Goat Trail’ the photo above and below this are of the sign. It can be easy to miss.
And now back to the bluff… There are a few “caves” where the bluff overhangs. Inside them are nice spots for some shade.
This crazy formation is inside one of the overhangs. It almost looks like a beehive.
The later in the year you get, the lower the Buffalo River gets. I want to do Big Bluff in the spring next year so I can see the river at a nice, high point so you can really see that horseshoe bend!
These trees growing along the bluff are junipers and some of them have been dated back to over 800 years! How cool is that?!
Taking in a panoramic view while getting some shade!
Buzzards frequent this area and you’ll find feathers along the trail.
I think this is my favorite Big Bluff photo because it really shows just how big this bluff is. Matt took this photo and that’s me walking along the narrow trail.
I just cannot get enough of this hike. It’s worth every step and I’m excited to get to tackle this beauty in the spring! Which way do you think you would rather see it?
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