15 In Arkansas/ Hiking + The Outdoors/ Travel

Hiking in the Ozarks – Goat Trail to Big Bluff

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Even if you don’t make it to the narrow ledge this is still a super spectacular view!

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This, ladies + gentlemen, is my favorite view in Arkansas.

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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.

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My papa bear on the trail to the right, and Matt is barely visible to the right. Such a cool trail!

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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

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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.

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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.

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And now back to the bluff… There are a few “caves” where the bluff overhangs. Inside them are nice spots for some shade.

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This crazy formation is inside one of the overhangs. It almost looks like a beehive.

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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!

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These trees growing along the bluff are junipers and some of them have been dated back to over 800 years! How cool is that?!

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Taking in a panoramic view while getting some shade!

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Buzzards frequent this area and you’ll find feathers along the trail.

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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.

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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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15 Comments

  • Reply
    Amandas_Wanderlust
    November 28, 2016 at 3:00 pm

    This looks like a great hike to do, but I’m really not great with heights so I’m not sure how I’d feel about some of the narrow ledges and paths. Well done to your Mum for doing this! It sure looks like it was worth it for those stunning views though. Awesome.

  • Reply
    wyldfamilytravel
    November 28, 2016 at 11:44 pm

    Looks like a great place to hike and some amazing views for your rewards. The views look outstanding in the sun shine and your pictures really bring the images to life as they jump off the page at me

  • Reply
    TalesOfABackpacker (@clairesturz)
    November 29, 2016 at 1:40 pm

    Wow, such beautiful views! It’s great to see something you can do with the whole family too – even if your mum was scared stiff! Looks like a great hike 🙂

  • Reply
    Sarah Kim
    November 29, 2016 at 3:47 pm

    I bet going in the summer or fall is just as beautiful as each other. I’d love to visit this place twice so it’ll be hard to choose even when to go once. Great photos!

  • Reply
    mappingmegan
    November 29, 2016 at 11:55 pm

    Such beautiful views – reminds me a lot of the hikes we do on the NSW South Coast of Australia – very similar views. It’s funny how the world replicates it’s landscapes over on the other sides of the world!! I would love to get to Arkansas 🙂

  • Reply
    Jen Morrow
    November 30, 2016 at 6:22 am

    Fantastic scenery! Round trip 6.5 miles is a good morning hike, and I like the option to add on. I love hiking and exploring new trails.

  • Reply
    eatlivetraveldrink
    November 30, 2016 at 8:02 am

    I have never been big into hiking but the more I see these photos, the more I want to get out there and do it full on. I have been experimenting with easy hikes lately and I love being in nature. Your photos are stunning by the way! 🙂

  • Reply
    Jo
    November 30, 2016 at 9:23 am

    6.5 mile roundtrip and gorgeous views – this looks like my kinda hike hehe. I like to do “Easy/moderate” hikes admist stunning natural beauty, ozarks looks just ideal!

  • Reply
    carmyy
    November 30, 2016 at 3:46 pm

    Looks like such a lovely hike!! I love hiking – the view is always worth the trek! 6.5 miles sounds like the perfect distance for a day trip 🙂

  • Reply
    The Soul of Seoul
    November 30, 2016 at 6:54 pm

    Had no idea you could see such beauty in Arkansas. Good for your mom for getting up and out there, I’m sure she liked the views once she got there, even if they were a little scary. Where were the goats though?? Just saying.. am I the only one wondering that? haha

  • Reply
    Abigail
    December 2, 2016 at 12:34 am

    What a beautiful spot for hiking. Those views are incredible and definitely (I would assume) worth the hike!

  • Reply
    Rima Gor
    December 2, 2016 at 2:51 am

    Incredible photography! Truly awesome place for hiking. I love hoking & camping. I have added this place in my bucket list. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    Rochelle | Adventuresfromelle
    March 10, 2017 at 7:14 pm

    The differences between your fall and summer pics are so stunning! That’s the downside of being from a tropical country haha.. never getting to see changes of season at home

  • Reply
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