07/16/12 Featured Arkansas Photography–Jigsaw Blocks in Lost Valley on Clark Creek, Buffalo National River
Taken with a Phase One P45+, Mamiya 35mm lens @ F14, iso 50, Exposure 2 seconds. The Lost Vally part of the Buffalo National River has to be one of the most scenic areas in the entire state. I have been hiking, camping, and photographing Lost Valley since around 1970. I can remember Lost Valley when it was still only a small state park and the logging had just been stopped with a injunction. This photograph was taken during the huge rain even in 2010 during late April and May. For over 3 weeks Clark Creek ran close to full capacity and some features that almost never have any water in them were available for photographic capture.
Now Lost Valley probably gets close to 250 visitors a day during the week and 3x of that at times on the weekends. Now there is no campground as the National Park service is totally unwilling to replace the wonderful campground that used to be on the far side of the creek. There was a heavy rain in 2011 that caused a flood and the rest is history. At least they reopened the area to hiking.
Lost Valley features as many as 6 named waterfalls, the most famous being the Eden Falls area. This is at the very back of Lost Valley and takes about 1 mile of hiking to get there. Make sure you hike along the creek as some of the best photography is here, before you get to the named spots. I prefer to hike the creek on the way up and then take the main trail on the way out. Most times even on busy days, you won’t find another person on the creek (something that always amazes me, but I am happy for). Plan on spending at least 1 hour around the Eden falls area. Lost Valley can be reached easiest by driving to Ponca Arkansas, then taking about a 1 1/2 mile drive west on Hwy 43 to the entrance.