BOXLEY — Better take two cars if hiking the Ponca to Boxley Valley portion of the Buffalo River Trail.

This hike is an 11.1 mile one-way excursion that leads visits to beautiful areas in Newton County.

The hike takes visitors through the Smith Creek Preserve and through the mountainous areas at the beginning of the Buffalo River.

There are services that will transport visitors from the beginning of the trail so that the transportation will be waiting after completing the trail. Check with the Ponca area stores for this service.

Starting the hike at Boxley, there are several neat things in the Whiteley Homestead on the west side of Highway 21.

There are several old buildings, including a cellar that was used for storing of canned items for the family.

One of the fun things about the hike is the spring that is just up the road from the root cellar. This spring has a hose connected to it and a sign that says “hang hose.”

When the hose is hung, there is a small stream coming from the spring. However, if the hose is being used the water pressure is amazing. It does a great job cleaning off sweat or is there for a nice drink.

From this parking area, which is located 2.0 miles from the junction of Highway 21 and 43, start by crossing the highway.

Smith Creek will be the first path that will be crossed. In the spring time and until early summer, this creek will have plenty of running water. There are several streams to be crossed on this trip, so a good pair of shoes that can handle the water would be great.

After following the creek for a period of time, there will be a climb up a hill. This is an Arkansas hill and it is up hill.

There are some nice rocks along the climb that offer a place to rest.

About 2 miles into the hike there is a field. After completing the walk through the field, the path will join a county road. The Buffalo River Trail joins several roads throughout the entire hike. So, there is no actual trail in some areas, while the path is the road.

About .45 of a mile down the road, the path will come into view and alpinist should turn on to it, This will lead to another creek. During spring, the water can get deep, but it also offers several little trails of water that slides down the mountain. This creek area is about 3.25 miles into the hike.

The trail takes several turns. The halfway point offers one of the best views of the trip.

A couple of miles past this area is a spring that is a source of water for a lot of animals in the area.

Past the spring is another creek that can be very deep in the spring. After crossing this creek, there is only a mile to go. Luckily, that mile is a downhill descent.

Jeff Dezort, Newton County Times editor, has worked at the newspaper since 2001. Before that he was a reporter, photographer and assistant editor of the Harrison Daily Times.

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