Richland Creek Wilderness Area
This beautiful place gets 5 stars! Waterfalls, caves, and gorgeous hiking trails are everywhere here! There is so much to see! The Richland Creek Wilderness was created by the 1984 Arkansas Wilderness Act and contains 11,801 acres in the middle of the Boston Mountains. One of three wildernesses on the Buffalo Ranger District, it takes its name from the main creek running through the area with the rich, fertile soil along the lower creek portion near the Buffalo River. An unusual feature of the Ozark Mountains is that the “mountains” are actually plateaus, uplifted as a unit with few folds or faults. The ruggedness of these mountains is due to erosion of the plateaus caused by swift rivers flowing between them. Topography within 1/4 mile on either side of Richland and Long Devil’s Fork Creeks is quite rugged and scenic.There are no developed trails located in the wilderness, but hikers and backpackers have been blazing their own for years now. Laying the ground works for future developed trails. There is a system of old logging roads that run throughout the area and receive sporadic use. Kayakers float Richland Creek after rains have raised the creek water level. The wilderness area is known for its crystal clear creeks and waterfalls. Remember to take drinking water or a filtration device with you for your safety.
Richland Creek Falls
Set within the Boston Mountains, this Wilderness is a land of narrow valleys bordered by steep slopes and vertical limestone and sandstone bluffs rising as much as 100 feet above the drainages. Some of these stone formations contain fossilized remains of now extinct species. Richland Creek and Long Devil's Fork Creek meet near the very heart of this area on their eastward journey. Within one-quarter mile of these creeks, bluffs more than a mile long loom over Richland Creek. Beyond these bluffs lies land more typical of the Ozarks, an oak-hickory forest with scattered shortleaf pines and an understory of ferns, blueberries, dogwood, and blackhaw. The scenery is some of the finest in the state, especially the first four miles of the Ozark Highlands Trail (OHT) after it leaves Richland Creek Campground and skirts the southern and eastern boundaries of the Wilderness. Unfortunately, according to the Ozark Highlands Trail Guide, the OHT misses "perhaps the most scenic spot in the state." To reach this plum destination, hike up the creek from the campground to Devil's Fork, then bushwhack up that drainage to Twin Falls, a total hike of about three miles.
Richland Creek Wilderness campground has 11 family camping units. Because of very rough roads, visitors are not encouraged to take camping trailers to Richland Creek.
Directions: From Russellville take Arkansas 7 north for 37 miles to Pelsor, then turn right (east) on Arkansas 16 and go 10 miles, then turn left (north) on Forest Service Road 1205 (gravel)., which is located 1.5 miles south of Ben Hur. Take Forest Service Road 1205 (gravel) north 9 miles to Richland Creek.