Today we drove an hour and a bit away from our home in Fayetteville, Arkansas, to a place called Whitaker Point. We’re usually pretty good with directions, but getting to the start of this trail was frustrating. The area is not signposted very well, and so we had to double back a couple times to get to the dirt road that leads up to the trail.
Once we parked three different families were wandering about trying to find the start of the trail. The maps are pretty useless, and unless you watch out for other people exiting the trail you’ll likely have to wander about too. Finally we saw a giant rock that had some words carved on it. None of these words hinted that this was the starting point of the trail but it was, and so we followed the beaten path down a steepish hill.
Despite the bumpy start we were happy to start hiking the 1.5 miles it would start to get to Whitaker Point, a famous rock that juts out of a cliffside in the Buffalo National River. It was made famous by a scene from the 2002 Disney film Tuck Everlasting.
It was a nice day for a hike. Sunday afternoon, a cool 75 degrees, with clear, blue skies. Quite a few other people had the same idea so we had to share the trail with other hikers but it wasn’t too distracting from the serenity.
We were surprised at how rocky the terrain was, and the 3 mile roundtrip journey was very tiring for inexperienced hikers like us. We also brought Addam’s 10 year old daughter Geneviette who did a great job keeping up. (And even led us on the way back after we tired adults were feeling the heat.)
Some words of wisdom for future Whitaker Point Trail Hikers: 3 miles hiking is NOT like 3 miles of walking or running. Many families on the trail were hauling around toddlers, and small children who had no business hiking a 3 mile trail without being carried the entire way by their parents. It’s steep, occasionally wet and slippery, and very rocky. It also gets hot, even in mild weather, we drank several bottles of water. Come prepared!
We stopped to take some photos along the way, and it took us about 50 minutes to get to the point. Then we took a ton of photos on Whitaker Point. It took another 40 minutes to get back.
Whitaker Point Highlights
- A pretty 3 mile walk with rocks that get bigger and bigger
- Standing on Whitaker Point rock to look out over the forest. Shockingly it wasn’t really scary to stand on this rock. (This opinion comes from a person who has a fear of heights.) It looks far more imposing from afar. When you’re standing on it you can’t really “see” the significance of the drop. The tall trees make you feel like you’re just standing a few feet above the ground. But we were careful not to get too close to the edge. It IS dangerous after all
- Awesome photo ops. This was one of the most beautiful views I’ve ever seen in Arkansas. (How have we not been here before?!) Don’t just take photos of the big rock. There’s lots of other good photos ops on this trail too.
- Great workout. My Garmin Fenix 3 sports watch said we did 10,000 steps
Whitaker Point Lowlights
- Douchebags who disobey the rules and sit on the nook at the end of the rock and destroy all cool photo ops for everybody else by sitting there for hours on their “date”.
- Short spiked trees that have been severed to a waist height stump (sometimes shorter) that pose the risk of accidentally impaling oneself if you trip and happen to land on one of these random things in the middle of the trail. The National Park really should get rid of these :/
Absolutely! Despite some of the hiccups we had a great time. Now we’re just nursing some very sore muscles. But I’m sure we will be back again. I hear the best time to see the view is at sunrise. Check out this awesome photo from the National Park website! And if you’re like me and LOVE researching before you head out there’s some reviews here from other hikers.