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March 18, 2022 Comments Off on When water takes a tumble: Management Area alive with sound of waterfalls Featured, Hiking, Latest

When water takes a tumble: Management Area alive with sound of waterfalls

Flip Putthoff
NWA Democrat-Gazette

Waterfalls are the silver lining of a rainy day.

When showers bathe the hill country or mounds of snow melt away, little creeks and streams start to flow. Tiny rivulets join larger currents to create treasured cascades where water pours from low and high bluffs.

A rainy night in mid-February was the siren song that sparked a hike to one of the waterfalls the next morning.

Alan Bland of Rogers steered his pickup along the twisting gravel road through the wildlife management area. The destination was a cascade that drops 20 feet over the lip of a bluff deep in the forest.

It’s a waterfall of many names. Years ago a gaggle of hikers visited the waterfall on a cold January day to find curtains of icicles adding to clear-water beauty. The group christened this place Icicle Falls.

In the second edition of his book, “Arkansas Waterfalls,” author and wilderness photographer Tim Ernst calls the watery chute Road 299 Falls.

To reach this waterfall from Huntsville, drive north on Arkansas 23 from to the management area entrance and sign. There’s also a sign here that points to the Ozark Natural Science Center.

At the management area headquarters, turn left to Madison 1425. Stay on this road for 5 miles to private road 1150. Do not turn down this private road. There is a smaller road next to it on the right. This is the road to Icicle Falls.

It’s a decent two-track road suitable for most cars, but a high-clearance vehicle might be best. Drive one-half mile downhill on this road. Where the road levels out, there’s a wide spot suitable for parking. Off to the left is a grassy area that looks like it’s been roughed up by livestock hoofs.

Walk into this grassy area and keep to the left. About 30 yards in is a fallen cedar tree. Crawl over the cedar tree and you’ll see the creek that creates Icicle Falls. Just a few steps downstream is the top of the waterfall.

Exploring around the top is picturesque, but better views await at the base of the waterfall. Backtrack toward the parking spot and you’ll see an old foundation of some type. Here a faint trail is seen that goes straight and then veers right. It’s maybe 30 yards to the bluff where it’s easy to scramble downhill a few yards to the creek. Follow the creek upstream a short way to the waterfall.

Back at his pickup, Bland looked long and hard around that old foundation. Was it a mill of some type? He could only guess.

“I think I’m going to name this Foundation Falls,” Bland said.

Whatever the name, it’s a lovely spot for basking in nature and the soothing sound of falling water. Best to visit after sufficient rain. Otherwise it might be a waterfall drip.

Next week we’ll visit another tumbling cascade in the Madison County Wildlife Management Area that’s a sight to behold and offers ease of access. 

Hike to the overlook

Kings River Overlook is another attraction that’s close to Icicle Falls in the Madison County Wildlife Management Area.

From management area headquarters, follow Madison 1425 to the left and watch for signs that direct travelers to the overlook. From the parking area, hike one-half mile to Kings River Overlook. The site offers scenic views of the river and Ozarks countryside.

Source: staff report