Lost Valley Trail is one of my favorite hikes in Arkansas. This is the trail that I make sure to walk every time I am in the Ozark Mountains, and the one that I know will impress visitors to our beautiful state.

It is a magical place that should not be missed.

Eden Falls on Lost Valley Trail in the Ozark Mountains of ArkansasPin

We hiked this time in the month of May. Participants were both of the writers of this blog – the mother daughter team of Karen and Emily along with Emily’s husband, Daniel and their young daughter. Some of the photos of the caves are from a previous hike when Karen hiked with her husband Kevin and some young cousins.

Hiking Lost Valley Trail

Why is Lost Valley so enchanting?

I think that it is because this area is not only beautiful but also because it has a little bit of everything! There is a creek, a natural bridge, giant tumbled down boulders, a HUGE bluff shelter, waterfalls, and a wild cave..

It truly is one of the most spectacular locations in the Ozark Mountains!

Here are some more amazing Arkansas hikes that you might be interested in!

How to get to Lost Valley Trail

This one is easy to find! It is located between Ponca, Arkansas and the wonderful mountain town of Jasper, Arkansas.

You will turn off of Highway 43 onto Lost Valley Road.

Lost Valley Road quickly becomes a well maintained gravel road and will lead to a nice parking area.

NOTE: Our GPS says Lost Valley State Park and although this is not a state park it will take you to the correct location.

All About the Hike

NOTE: The trail is just over a mile long one way so about 2.3 miles round trip.

It is flat for about the first 3/4 of the hike.

A sign that says Lost Valley Buffalo National River. The sign is to the right of a trail that leads into the woods. Pin

Once you park your car will easily see the sign and the trail.

For most of the hike the trail is wide and flat.

You will first pass a picnic area and bathrooms.

A small brown building along a trail in the woods. Pin

Just beyond the bathrooms you will cross Clark Creek. There used to be a bridge here, but it is now gone. We easily crossed on rocks on our last visit to the area.

After you cross the creek follow the trail upstream. It will remain nice and wide and flat for a while and there are a couple of benches to sit and take in the views.

If you see a trail go off to the left skip it and stay to the right.

Eventually you will pass a pile of gigantic boulders on your right. These are called Jigsaw blocks and they are gorgeous. You can just imagine them falling from the cliff side. I have even heard that perhaps they were once part of a natural bridge.

Huge boulders alongside a creek in the woods. These are called Jigsaw Blocks along the Lost Valley Trail in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. Pin

Just past jigsaw blocks you will see a sign that will lead you to either the natural bridge or to Eden Falls.

Start by going to the Natural Bridge. It is just beyond the boulder that you see on the right of the photo below. This is an area that you are not going to want to miss.

A small sign along a trail in the woods and a large boulder. The sign reads Natural Bridge with an arrow to the right. And Eden Falls that points straight ahead. Pin

Although they call this a bridge I would say that it is more like a short tunnel. The waters of the creek run through a hole that is big enough to walk through and come out the other side.

Do be aware that there will be a climb up into the hole and down on the other side and that it can be slippery.

Although in my photo below it may appear that the tunnel would be dark in the tunnel it is actually short enough that you can see light from both sides.

A small waterfall pouring out of a hole in the rock.Pin

After you see the stunning natural bridge you will now head to Eden Falls! The hike heads up some stairs, around a cliff side, and then down again.

A girl walking up a set of stone stairs alongside a trail in the woods.Pin

Do know that at some points during this section there will be a drop off on your right. It isn’t too narrow or scary, but we were hiking with a toddler so we were definitely aware. .

A couple in the distance walking along a trail in the woods. Pin

You will come to another sign that will point the way to either Eden Falls or the cave. Start by going to Eden Falls.

A wooden sign pointing the way on a trail in the woods. The sign points on down a trail and says Eden Falls. It points up a set of stone stairs and says Eden Falls Cave. This is at Lost Valley Trail in the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas. Pin

As you make the curve in the trail to the falls you will first see Cobb Cave. This is a GIGANTIC bluff shelter. The photos simply can’t do it justice.

It is a deep and dry shelter that, according to the artifacts that have been found here, was used by people native to this area as far back as 2,000 years ago!

If you are hiking with older kids they will love scrambling around on the rocks in the shelter!

A huge stone bluff overhang. A young girl is walking on some stones at the overhang. Pin

To the left of the shelter you will discover that you are at the base of Eden Falls! From this vantage point you can enjoy the lower section of the waterfall.

A young man and woman with a small girl in front of a pretty waterfall. Pin

If you go up to the cave you will see the middle section which is caused by water coming from the cave.

There is even an upper Eden Falls which is in a gorge upstream but is quite a climb and I have never been up there.

Eden Falls Cave

After seeing the falls the more adventurous among you will want to head up the steep section of trail to Eden Falls Cave.

Do be aware that not only is this section of trail steep, but there is also a serious drop off. Be careful! It is not suitable for younger children. We obviously did NOT take the baby up to the cave area.

I have been in the cave many times so this time I stayed back with her this time and played in the water.

This trail will lead to the cave entrance. And, yes, you can actually go into the cave.

Once inside there is a chamber with a 30 foot waterfall. To get there will involve maneuvering through a very small space before it opens up. Don’t forget to bring a flashlight!

For those who are claustrophobic: The route to get to the chamber is tight and low and there will be water potentially splashing in your face.

Emily pretty much hated going back in the cave but she did it!

Personally, I find the most difficult bit to be the entrance. The water falls off of a ledge just at the mouth of the cave water falls and you have to do a bit of clamboring to get past that section and head further back inside. The height scares me every time.

In other words – know yourself and decide whether or not a visit inside the cave is worth it to you.

More Things to Know about Hiking Lost Valley

  • This is NOT a “hidden gem.” In fact it is one of the most traveled hikes in the area. You will almost certainly have other people on the trail especially if you go on a pretty weekend.
  • Almost all waterfalls in Arkansas are seasonal. If it has been dry for a while the water might not be flowing.
  • That said…if you don’t see water in Clark Creek…don’t panic. This area is riddled with limestone and caves. Clark Creek often goes underground. On our most recent trip the creek bed was completely dry until we got to Jigsaw Blocks.
  • The hike up to the cave is steep and not suitable for young children. The climb into the cave is also not suitable for young children.
  • Don’t forget to bring a flashlight if you plan to go in the cave!
  • Although the GPS may say Lost Valley State Park this is actually not one of the Arkansas State Parks. It is part of the Buffalo National River and is managed by the National Park System.

I hope that you enjoy Lost Valley Trail!

Let me know what you think and if we have missed anything important in this post!

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