Ponca Wilderness – Centerpoint and Goat Trails

I went on a little day hike with a couple other members of the Northwest Arkansas Hiking Group.  We started at the Centerpoint trail head a couple miles north of Ponca, descended to the spur that leads out to Big Bluff and the Goat Trail, then back to the main trail and further down to Granny Henderson’s cabin.  Along the way, we lost about 1200′ of elevation, making for an invigorating hike out.

Big Bluff is about 560′ tall with a recessed ledge about 340′ above the river.  The Goat Trail traverses that ledge.  You’ll find great views of the river and surrounding valley, centuries-old Ashe’s junipers hugging the rocks, and alcoves with travertine formations, but the goats are long gone.  Here’s a picture I took last November of the bluff from below:

Big Bluff. There a a couple people on the Goat Trail just above the center of the picture.

Big Bluff. There a a couple people on the Goat Trail just above the center of the picture.

From the trail itself, things look more like this:

The Goat Trail in Big Bluff

The Goat Trail in Big Bluff

Looking downriver from the Goat Trail

Looking downriver from the Goat Trail

One of several travertine formations.

One of several travertine formations.

Ashe's Juniper

Ashe’s Juniper

Eva “Granny” Henderson lived alone in this cabin near the mouth of Sneed’s Creek until about 1978, when she was well into her eighties.  No running water, no electricity.  She must have been one tough chick.  The Park Service and volunteers stabilized the building and it feels like it should last a few more decades.

Granny Henderson's cabin

Granny Henderson’s cabin

From here, it’s not far to other popular destinations like Hemmed-in-Hollow and Jim Bluff.

 

 

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About Michael R

I enjoy hiking, landscaping with native plants, nature photography, dark chocolate, fine dining, good movies, and old jazz.
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