For some time, the local Sierra Club group has done an annual trip to the Blanchard Springs Recreation Area in north central Arkansas. The main attraction for me has been the 23-mile North Sylamore Creek Trail. During my first visit last year I hiked the Allison to Gunner Pool sections. This year I did the Cripple Turkey to Gunner Pool sections so I’ve now hiked the entire trail.
Backing up a bit, Blanchard Springs was closed this year, apparently due to recent flooding, so we stayed at the next campground to the west – Gunner Pool. On Friday 4 of us drove to the Barkshed trail head and hiked back to Gunner Pool.
We were planning to hike the Cripple Turkey to Barkshed sections on Saturday but for various reasons the others weren’t able to do it. One was kind enough to drive me to Cripple Turkey and drop me there so I could hike 13.5 miles back to Gunner Pool.
Besides being the western end of the North Sylamore Creek Trail, the Cripple Turkey trail head is also the intersection with the Sylamore section of the Ozark Highlands Trail.
The section between Cripple Turkey and Cole Fork Road was a nice walk in the woods but there was nothing particularly scenic about it. It’s a relatively new trail and needs more traffic to help keep grass from growing in the tread.
Between Cole Fork Road and Barkshed are some scenic areas.
Of course, the wildflowers were great. The bluffs were often draped in hydrangea, heuchera, columbine, and shooting star that grew from crevices.
Maybe next year I’ll try hiking the entire trail in one (long!) day.