Scouting Fall Color at Eden Falls in the Arkansas Ozark's - Part 1

August 12, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

It is hard to believe that is mid-August already and time to start doing some scouting for fall colors in the Ozark Mountains. On the trip today, I am headed to the Buffalo River Region in Northwestern Arkansas to hike Lost Valley Trail and photograph the canyons, cliffs, and waterfall at Eden Falls.  I am hiking with my 4x5 large format camera today because this is the first time to hike this location.  If the location is worth the extra effort, I will return with my 8x10 large format camera during prime fall colors.  

Lost Valley Trail is located in the heart of the Ozark Mountains, near the Boxley Valley Historic District on Hwy. 43 and is one of the most popular trails within the Buffalo National River area. It is a beautiful hike along a creek bed. It has cliffs, waterfalls, a natural bridge, and a small cave at the top of the trail. Trailhead coordinates are Lat:36.0101739, Long:-93.3745693. 

Tip - bring a headlamp if you intend to go into the cave, and wear clothes that you won't mind getting dirty so you can explore the waterfall inside the cave!


This is my first fall season scouting hike this year, so I am excited.  It is still summertime in the Ozarks, so I wanted to pick a day when it would be overcast, and even a chance for light showers.  I use the Weather Underground application on my iPhone to research local weather conditions (temperature, humidity, dew point, cloud cover, etc.).  

I am hiking with my Chamonix 4x5 large format camera, and I am taking two lenses with me.  Based on research and experience, I decided to hike with my 72mm F5.6 Schnieder Super-Angulon XL and my 150mm Rodenstock APO Sironar F5.6 lenses.  The 72mm lens with a 35mm focal length equivalent of about 21mm will provide me with the wide angle perspective that I plan on using, and the 150mm lens is close to a normal perspective, which I like to keep with me at all times.  I will be using a polarizing filter for the waterfall and I plan to expose a couple sheets of Kodak Ektar color negative film and a couple sheets of Fuji Provia 100 slide film.  I expect the Ektar to perform really well in this location, but I will have to wait and see how the film looks after I develop them.  

My Burton backpack weighed in at 19.5 lbs (8.84kg) fully loaded.  This is a very manageable weight for any type of hike, thanks to the lightweight of my Chamonix 45-F1 view camera (3.4 lbs/1550 g).  

In the second article, I will share more details about my experience, and I will show you the films that I exposed and developed.  


Lost Valley Trail leaves the parking area and gently winds up the box canyon passing beneath groves of American beech trees. The trail leads you to an emerald-blue pool of water with an 8-ft waterfall flowing out of a small opening in the bluff, known as the Natural Bridge. The trail continues up stone steps, winding along the Clark Creek drainage giving way to a massive 200-ft bluff shelter, known as Cob Cave.

The gem of the hike is Eden Falls. The picturesque Eden Falls cascade's 53 ft over towering cliffs offering visitors a firsthand view of what the Ozark Mountains have to offer. Visitors can either loop back around to the main trail or continue on a spur trail to the peak of Eden Falls. The trail leading to the peak of Eden falls is rugged and steep; visitors should use extreme caution when taking this route. The trail winds up the bluff line to a 200-ft cave and then gives way to a 25-ft waterfall inside. A flashlight and some agility will be needed to view the waterfall in the cave. The trail ends here at the mouth of the cave.

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