Richland Creek Wilderness
Richland Creek in Richland Creek Wilderness
Richland Creek Wilderness is an 11,801-acre property in Ozark-St. Francis National Forest in Arkansas. The centerpiece of the wilderness is, of course, Richland Creek, a stream that drops through a V-shaped valley, narrow, heavily-treed, steep slopes with 100' vertical sandstone and limestone bluffs in places. The forest is mostly second- and third-growth oak and hickory with an understory of dogwood, blackhaw, blueberry and fern. While there are no maintained or developed trails in the wilderness, it has been completely logged once or twice and the old logging traces are still visible.
Most folks access the wilderness via the Richland Creek Campground: trailhead for the Ozark Highlands Trail. However, the trail skirts the southern and eastern edges of the wilderness and never actually penetrates it. According to many folks, the most scenic place in Arkansas is at Twin Falls on Long Devil's Fork Creek. To get there: leave the campground and hike upstream along the creek to the confluence with the Long Devil's Fork Creek. Then bushwhack upstream alongside that creek until you reach the falls. The falls are about 3 miles from the campground.
Upper left photo courtesy of Chris Seagle, USDA Forest Service