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Pam’s Grotto leaves visitors in awe


PELSOR — The drive to the Haw Creek Recreation area is one that can leave visitors in love with the natural beauty of Arkansas.

There are many hikes in the area that can bring smiles to the face.

One of those hikes is called Pam’s Grotto. It is named after Tim Ernst’s wife. Ernst is a photographer that is world known for his photograph and books about waterfalls in Arkansas.

This adventure is not for the faint of heart of maybe those with serious heart conditions.

To start the hike, alpinest will travel up a hill for nearly a third of a mile. The climb is a slow one that doesn’t leave a visitor breathless.

Near the pinnacle of the hike, a decision will have to be made on which direction to travel. Turn left here.

After turning left, there is a large tree that has fallen across the path. Depending on the preference of the hiker, the tree can be crossed and become a memory.

Just after the tree, the path will pass a great rock format that will be a good place to stop and rest or to get photos.

After resting, the path will reach the bluff line. It will move along this area for the remainder of the hike.

There will be several areas to explore along the rock formations. There is a cave and there are other outlets that can lead to hidden gems.

One of the most interesting spots along the trip is an area that looks like it has had holes drilled into the mountain. This interesting sight will occupy time during the hike.

Just past this part of the mountain, the sound that all hikers love to hear — the sound of falling water.

After getting to the point that the waterfall can be spotted, the path seems to disappear. There are many ways to get to the bottom of the trail to see Pam’s Grotto.

The only problem with getting down to the bottom is that is a 50-foot drop on the climb down. A 50-foot drop means when leaving there is a 50-foot ascension to leave.

Once reaching the waterfall, there are plenty of areas that will allow one to sit and enjoy the beauty.

There are also several areas to take photos. The run-off of the waterfall creates a creek that runs down the hill. There are several large rocks that serve as solid backgrounds for photos.

Another aspect of this waterfall adventure is the large area that allows visitors to be behind the waterfall.

Pam’s Grotto is listed at 37-foot tall. It is a V-Slot waterfall.

After making the trip back down the mountain, there are still plenty of adventure that awaits visitors.

To get to Pam’s Grotto, turn west off of Highway 7 that travels between Jasper and Russellville. Take Highway 123. About 11 miles from Highway 7, there will be an one-lane bridge over Sugar Creek. When reaching this area, visitors are getting close to the waterfall parking area.

The parking area is a very small spot on the south side of the highway. It is about 1.5 miles from the bridge. The parking area is very close to a primitive camping area that has a very steep drive.

If visitors see a large dirt parking area, then they have traveled too far.

After finding the correct parking area, simply cross the highway to the path that is there.