01/08/14 Make a trip to Sam’s Throne and enjoy the new Campground
This actually happened in Mid 2013, but I never got around to writing about it. They finally finished the improvements and created a formal campground status for Sam’s Throne. This spot is a climbers paradise and for me a photographic wonder. I work this area year round and love to work the bluffs of Sam’s after dark. If you have not ever been here, it’s worth the trip up Hwy 7 to the Hwy 123 Junction. Take Hwy 123 for about 10 miles north and then start looking for this sign. You won’t find a bunch of RV steps here, and it’s a very informal campground, but it now has facilities and that’s a big improvement. Sam’s Throne is one of the most famous climbing spots in Arkansas and is featured by a over 1 mile long bluff line made from primarily sandstone. You can also look off the bluff to to the rock prominence that is the actual throne. The road down to the bluffs has been dramatically improved since the early day’s when it was just a logging road. Sam’s throne campground is pretty much on top of the bluff and you can get a great nighttime sky from there. Once you get down to the bluff line looking northward you get a great shot of Red Rock and the valley of Big Creek. Looking south towards the throne gives you a great view of the rolling hills moving off into the distance.
I have photographed Sam’s in pretty much all types of weather and as I mentioned above love to work it at night. It’s not a bad compromise as you won’t be too far out from your car. This area does get some rough folks driving by at times during the week, and I would not consider leaving a car alone at the trail head after dark unless there are some folks camping near by. During the summer months and peak climbing season you can expect to have people there. At the Bluff line you can walk along the top of the bluff in either direction and find great subject matter for your photography.
This shot is one taken during the night after the moon had set at the campground. There was a group that had started a huge bonfire and the way it was lighting up the trees really caught my eye. This shot was taken as single long exposure for about 30 minutes and during the time I had the shutter open a group of people walked by with head lamps on, and I really liked the effect they created.
Sam’s is a great spot to take the family and spend the entire day, be aware that there are sharp drop offs everywhere so if you are taking young children be careful.