Hawksbill Crag, also known as Whitaker Point, is one of Arkansas’ must-see outdoor attractions. The natural formation, located in Ozark National Forest, juts out from the bluff, some 150 feet above the forested valley floor below.
Whitaker Point is a popular natural area near the Upper Buffalo Wilderness Area, just inside Ozark National Forest.
The iconic formation is one of the most photographed points in Arkansas and has been featured in many publications. The stunning view over the river valley is particularly affecting in spring and fall.
Getting to Whitaker Point Trailhead
Whitaker Point Trailhead is located near Ponca, about an hour and a half east of Fayetteville, AR. See a map of the location.
Take Highway 43 south from Ponca toward Boxley. Continue south on to Boxley when Highway 43 merges into Highway 21. Keep an eye out for Cave Mountain Road on the right, a gravel road located just before Boxley Bridge over the Buffalo River.
Cave Mountain Road starts out very steep and unpaved track. Your 2-wheel vehicle should be fine if the weather is dry. The road also levels out soon enough – and the scenery is gorgeous. Follow this road for about 6 miles, until you come to a small “Wilderness Access” parking area. The Whitaker Point trailhead is located across the road from the parking lot.
Park your car and stretch your legs – you’ve made it!
Whitaker Point Trail
Whitaker Point Trail is a moderate, clearly marked, 3-mile, there-and-back trail. Hiking boots or other sensible, outdoor shoes are recommended. Hawksbill Crag, also makes for an excellent picnic spot. Consider packing in a few goodies (along with a camera and plenty of water) if that idea appeals to you.
The hike is mostly a pleasant one, with plenty of to savor and enjoy prior to reaching the Crag. Plan at least half a day for a full experience.
The trail crosses a small stream around the 1-mile mark that, when flowing, creates a waterfall over the bluff to the right – Haley Falls. The trail forks just after this stream, with both options leading to the Crag. While both tracks are pleasant, the right includes interesting rock formations and some stunning views. Many take one fork to the Crag, and the other back down.
Hawksbill Crag is located just an easy half mile after the trail fork. The views are simply incredible, with lots of excellent vantage points to shoot pictures of the Point from. Soak up the eye-popping, expansive views, enjoy that picnic lunch, if you brought one, and have fun.
Do be very careful, however. Many people have fallen from Whitaker Point over the years – often with tragic results. The drop is over 150 feet and it can take rescue crews over three hours to reach the base of the bluff below. Exercise caution while approaching or near the edge.
Ticks, snakes, poison ivy, and dehydration are your other considerations. Don’t set yourself up to be unprepared. Take the proper gear and precautions to ensure a truly fun hike to and from Hawksbill Crag.
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