One of the most well-known hikes in Arkansas is Whitaker Point Trail. This area is also referred to as aka Hawksbill Crag. (A crag is a rugged cliff face, and this one juts out just like the beak of a bird.)
Getting There: Whitaker Point
Whitaker Point Trail is a bit off the beaten path. It is about six miles up (literally) a dirt road off AR Highway 21. Unfortunately, I broke my own rule of always bringing a paper map, and we had no cell signal on any device. Luckily, we spotted a small brown sign pointing towards a dirt road that led to the trail.
I highly recommend that you bring a paper map or printout with you! We’ve frequently had a problem with cell signal in this area. This National Geographic Buffalo National River West map includes Whitaker Point Trail.
After the 6 mile climb up County Road 5, you’ll come to a parking area.
A small brown sign marks the start of the trail.
Whitaker Point Trail is moderate in difficulty. While there is some elevation gain, I found the uneven terrain to be the most challenging part of the trail. The trail itself is covered with rocks and roots. So, plan to keep an eye on your footing to avoid a sprained ankle.
As you might expect, Whitaker Point Trail includes high cliffs with steep drop-offs. There is plenty of space to stay clear of the edge. But, there have been deaths here, so be careful, and keep small children close!
Before you arrive at Whitaker Point, you’ll reach a smaller rock outcropping. It looks similar to pictures of Whitaker Point, but it is much smaller. Don’t be fooled (we almost were) and turn around here. The main event is not too far away.
You’ll likely know that you’ve arrived when you see people standing out on the point and posing for photos. The best view of the point is before you get there.
Whitaker Point looked very different from the top than I expected. I assumed it would be scary to walk out on it, but the point much larger than it looks from from a distance.
The Arkansas Elk Herd
As a bonus, Whitaker Point is in elk country. Arkansas is home to around 800 elk roaming free near the Buffalo National River and near the town of Ponca. We spotted elk on Highway 21.
Whitaker Point Trail and the surrounding area is a great place to explore. This trail is very popular, so it is best to avoid holidays and weekends if possible. Regardless of when you visit, you’ll understand why this scenic trek is such a crowd-pleaser.