Posted by Jessie K / Friday, February 20, 2015 / No comments / Buffalo River , Buffalo River Trail , Hiking , Kid Friendly , Lakes and Rivers , Ponca , Steel Creek Campground
Buffalo River Trail: Ponca to Steel Creek Section
On a beautiful and unseasonably warm February day, my mom and I took the boys hiking on the Ponca to Steel Creek section of the Buffalo River Trail. This is a beautiful trail that runs from the Ponca Low Water Bridge to Steel Creek Campgound.
|The beginning of the trail is located right by the Ponca Low Water Bridge. |
There's plenty of parking. Once you cross over the bridge, you'll see the trailhead on your left.
The trail is about 2 miles long one way so a 4 mile roundtrip. This was too much to ask for from my 3 and 6 year old so we hiked about a mile of this trail and then headed back.
This trail winds through the woods with some really pretty bluff overlooks of the Buffalo River. On the first half of the trail there's plenty of distance between the bluffs and the trail so we felt ok about the boys being on the trail at this point. There are also several other neat features such as small waterfall cascades and pools, a huge crevasse to explore between large rock columns, lots of soft mossy forest...it's really beautiful!
At about a mile in, after the huge crevasse in the rock (which we had fun going up and down), the trail narrows to just about single file and along some pretty steep bluffs. We decided this would be taking too much risk with the kids and we headed back the other way. This made the trail length perfect for the boys though at about 2 miles. With lots of caution, older kids would be able to manage the section we stopped at, but I felt very uneasy about the boys navigating it even if we were holding on to them tightly. You just never know. Plus, other people that we stopped and chatted with who were coming back from the end of the trail at Steel Creek told us that we weren't missing much along the rest of the trail.
All in all, I would recommend this trail as very family friendly up until about a mile in and then I would say that with extreme caution, only older children would be better suited for this trail. Perhaps i'm being overly cautious, but I don't think the beauty and ease of the rest of the trail is worth the risk of navigating little ones through the narrow and very steep section i'm referring to.
|We had fun carefully taking the boys up and down this crevasse. They loved it!|
|The lighting on parts of this trail was just absolutely magical!|
BRT: Ponca to Steel Creek Info
Length: 2 miles/ 4 miles there and back
Difficulty: Easy/Medium (Kid friendly until a mile in)
Location: In Ponca, park at the Ponca Low Water Bridge and cross the small bridge to the small lot on the other side. The trailhead is on your left. You'll be hiking under the highway bridge.