Devil’s Canyon Special Interest Area is a couple miles southwest of Fern AR and features a canyon carved by tributaries of Mill Creek to a depth of 200+ feet and numerous waterfalls – one with a height of 63 feet. Shores Lake and White Rock Mountain are a few miles northeast of Fern.
I hiked through a part of it with a group from the Ozark Society. There are no trails so a topo map is useful if you’re not with somebody that knows where they’re going. A basic route is well-described in Tim Ernst’s waterfall book (page 245) though we did something a bit different. Instead of scrambling down over the huge boulders upstream of the small waterfall (“Junior”) we basically went through a tunnel (I think I’ll call it the Devil’s Butt!) under the boulders and came out downstream of the waterfall. Then up over the hill to the big waterfall, downstream to where the creek from the small waterfall joins, back up that creek to the Devil’s Butt, up through that and back onto the canyon rim. The day started with a bit of fog and drizzle so the rocks were pretty slick.
The sun made an appearance late in the day and it gave me hope that I might be able to get some nice sunset pictures from White Rock Mountain but as I drove up to within a couple hundred feet in elevation from the top, I ran into fog. By the time I got out to the west overlook the sun had just disappeared behind thick clouds.
It’s not a bad sight, but not the sunset I hoped for. Ah well. The Fern Gulley Special Interest Area is only a couple miles east of Devil’s Canyon and is reported to be well worth seeing. That one is still on the to-do list.