A Hike Along Richland Creek
I heard a knock at the door. It was Adventure Bill, asking if I wanted to go hiking. It took all of 15 minutes for me to get my backpack ready. We jumped in my Blazer, and drove off, looking at my Arkansas Gazetteer for ideas. We decided to drive down to Richland Creek Wilderness Area, and hike the creek. It was a very warm springlike day, with the temperature right around 70 degrees. We had gotten some rain the previous day, and were hoping that the water would be up.
We started at the Richland Creek campground, and decided to follow the creek to the west (upstream). We followed the trail for a brief period, then decided to try and walk as close to the creek as possible. The warm sun felt good. Adventure Bill and I made our way along the creek, walking on large rocks or alongside the creek. After awhile, we made a turn in the creek and saw something in the middle of Richland Creek. As we approached, we could see it was a very large rock, which had fallen smack dab in the middle of the creek. There was a small waterfall off to the right, and a broader run off on the left. We decided we needed lunch, and spent quite a bit of time here. The water was running really good at this spot, it was quite relaxing just to sit and listen.
After resting, we advanced on our westward journey. The sun was in our face as we worked our way up the creek. We found several springs that fed this creek, as well as some nice rapids. Richland Creek is full of rapids and sharp turning bends, making this a premier spring canoeing spot. As we continued our hike, I enjoyed the late afternoon. Walking in the wilderness, hearing only the sounds that mother nature makes, and feeling the fresh, clean air, man it doesn't get any better than this!
After walking for several miles, we decided to head back to the truck. We took off overland heading up into the woods. We came across a dirt road, and decided to follow it back down to the campground. This hike took about 4 1/2 hours. We did not follow the trail system, so it made it a bit more difficult, and slow going, but we were rewarded with a wonderful afternoon, and have decided to come back to the Richland Creek Wilderness Area. We want to find the twin falls at Devil's Fork, but that is another story.
If you enjoy the opportunity to be in a pristine wilderness area, check out Richland Creek. There are established trails, as well as the ability to go off on your own. There is camping sites available, along with toilets. Springtime is the best time for kayaking or canoeing this creek. Be careful, it can get quite wild if the water comes up. The best hiking times for the trails along the ridges would be fall, when the colors in the hardwood forest are spectacular. My favorite time for hiking the creeks is late winter and early spring. It's the best time to see waterfalls and white water. Take a chance, get out, catch some rays and some of the finest scenery in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas.