PHOTOS/VIDEOS: Autumn stroll to waterfalls

NWA Democrat-Gazette/FLIP PUTTHOFF 
Pinion Creek waterfall as seen Oct. 29 2019 from the foot bridge along the Back 40 trail system in Bella Vista.
NWA Democrat-Gazette/FLIP PUTTHOFF Pinion Creek waterfall as seen Oct. 29 2019 from the foot bridge along the Back 40 trail system in Bella Vista.

Waterfalls are the silver lining when dawn breaks after a rainy night. The lining shines even brighter when it's an easy walk to see the cascades.

Waterfalls by the hundreds spill through the Ozarks after a heavy rain. Two waterfalls in Bella Vista are a sight to behold and easy to access. Waterfall wanderers can drive right up to one.

Hikers and mountain bikers on the Back 40 trail system in Bella Vista marvel at the Pinion Creek waterfall if they trek along the trails near Lake Ann. Car travelers can see this plunging wonder, too.

The waterfall is a double-dipper of sorts. It plunges about 3 feet before its grand finale, a 15-foot tumble over a rock ledge that creates a roaring waterfall and blanket of mist at the base.

The Pinion Creek waterfall is easy to find. Turn east on Pinion Drive one-quarter mile north of Trafalgar Road. At Pinion Drive, there's a sign that directs people to the Lake Ann fishing dock.

Follow the road to the left a short distance around a lumber yard and start uphill near the Lake Ann dam. Pull off the road where the Back 40 trail crosses the pavement. If it's going strong, the waterfall can be heard to the left beside the road.

The Pinion Creek cascade is born where the creek pours from the Lake Ann spillway. Hiking up the creek from the waterfall reveals more white-water wonders.

A foot and bicycle bridge at the cascade lets visitors enjoy the view from both sides of the waterfall.

No telling how many hikers have swooned while viewing the mighty Tanyard Creek waterfall along the Tanyard Creek Nature Trail in Bella Vista.

This 15-footer roars just downstream from the spillway at Lake Windsor. From the waterfall, Tanyard Creek flows in a frothy show of fast white-water, over stair-step ledges twisting and turning toward a foot bridge over the rushing stream. From here it meanders through the forest, close to the Tanyard Creek Nature Trail.

To see the waterfall, travel Bella Vista Way in Bella Vista, also known as U.S. 71, to Lancashire Drive. Go west on Lancashire for one mile to Tanyard Creek Park. The trail and parking are to the left.

Go directly to the waterfall by crossing a foot bridge 100 yards or so beyond the picnic pavilion at the trailhead. Walk left and follow the sign to the waterfall. It's about a one-half mile hike from the parking area.

Waterfall explorers are missing out if they don't hike the entire 2-mile loop. Tanyard Creek Nature Trail is a gem that is a microcosm of all that is Ozark. There's a spring, bluffs, wildflowers, native trees and a clear mountain stream.

Sunshine Creek is its name, also known as Avalon Creek. The clear stream flows through the woods and rock along the trail. The watery jewel joins Tanyard Creek downstream from the waterfall.

Visitors who enjoy the scenic walk to the waterfall and along the creek can thank the platoon of Bella Vista volunteers who take care of the Tanyard Creek Nature Trail all year.

The group is 14 volunteers strong, said Randy Hamm, a member. They walk the trail at least once a week all year, picking up any litter and checking on trail conditions.

They maintain and paint bridges along the route. Sometimes they fill in low spots that open up after heavy rain with gravel.

The Bella Vista Property Owners Association provides money for maintenance when needed, but the volunteers provide the labor, Hamm said.

The trail is for hiking. Bikes and horses aren't permitted. It's an easy trail to hike, mostly level with some modest uphill walking. The public is welcome to the trail. Bella Vista POA membership isn't required.

On safari for waterfalls

Waterfalls abound in the Ozarks, but only after ample rainfall.

The Buffalo National River area is home to dozens, if not hundreds of waterfalls. The three-tiered waterfall at Lost Valley is easy to access via a 2-mile round-trip hike on a trail.

Madison County Wildlife Management Area and Devil’s Den State Park are other good waterfall destinations.

Source: Staff report

Sports on 11/05/2019

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