Sam’s Throne and Goat Trail to Big Bluff

Hello there, today we’re going to go back to the post we held off on in favor of the Texas update last week. At this point it’s been about a month since we were in Arkansas, but there are a few places we visited that we think are too incredible not to show you, even if the pictures we got don’t quite do them justice.

Our first few nights in Arkansas we camped by the Buffalo National River and absolutely fell in love with the area. We left Massachusetts with the intention of driving to New Mexico or Arizona as fast as reasonably possible within the constraints of our work schedules, but the Buffalo River area and the Ozarks put a stop to that. 

The first night there we arrived after dark so we didn’t see much around our campsite. When we woke up the following morning though, even with the stress of the flat tire we now needed to replace (not yet knowing we’d be replacing all four) and having to get back to the main road on the spare, we were awestruck at the beauty of the river and the bluffs around it. Driving back into town and seeing everything we’d missed on the dark drive in was the final push for us to take our time there before continuing south. 

A quiet morning before our drive to town on the spare
Further along the river

I won’t go into too much detail about the first two campsites, we showed you those in a previous post. Instead, I want to show you all a site we ended up staying at for a few days, as well as what is by far one of the coolest hikes we’ve been lucky enough to explore since hitting the road.

Since moving into the van we’ve been relying on a few apps to find places to spend the night. These apps have everything from parking lots and established campgrounds, to boondocking spots on various types of public land. They include info on cell service for different providers too, so finding campsites we can work from has been fairly easy. It was about a week into our drive south that we found a site called Sam’s Throne through one of these apps.

It turns out, Sam’s Throne is a popular climbing spot, heavily used in warmer months. In the middle of January, though? Not so much. We stayed there for a few nights and had it nearly to ourselves the entire time. The solitude, the views, and the cell service (we were there during work days) sold us on finally slowing down and staying in one spot for more than a single night; a welcome change of pace after a week of long days and late nights spent driving.

We managed to get in a bit of exploring after work here, and the milder weather meant we could really enjoy the several good sunset viewing vantage points.

I think it was the day we left Sam’s Throne, we ended up working at the Centerpoint Trail trailhead, a hike I had seen on a map and wanted to check out. Thankfully, between working on an eastern time schedule and both of us being fairly fast hikers, we’ve been able to get in some solid trail time after work.

There’s a spur off the Centerpoint Trail called Goat Trail, which leads to Big Bluff, a bluff over 500 ft tall and considered the tallest bluff along the Buffalo River. This trail was incredible! Because we were getting such a late start heading out after work, we ended up running most of the Centerpoint trail out to the Goat Trail spur (this burning daylight excuse might also be how I’ve gotten Matt more into trail running with me…).

Most of the first trail was through a forest that kind of just felt like New England in the spring, but almost as soon as we were on the Goat Trail it felt like we were in a totally different place. This is where pictures are worth more than any way I can try to describe this trail though, so let’s get you plenty of those instead of my ramblings!

Not far onto the Goat Trail spur
Absolutely not for anyone afraid of heights
The classic photo spot
The trail was a bit narrow in places
Can you spot Matt?
Not a bad view for a post work run/hike mid-week

At the end of the Goat Trail there was a narrow path up to the top of the bluff, where there were several primitive campsites. Had we known about them ahead of time we might have spent the night there. The trail would have been the perfect spot to watch the sunset, and the campsites above looked like they all would have been great for watching the sunrise.

We did get a bit of the sunset on the way back to the van at least, and we’ve had plenty of opportunities to catch some good ones since then. That’s a post for another day, though. So here’s a picture of the sunset we did get to close this one out, and we’ll get you all updated on some of our more recent adventures shortly.

2 thoughts on “Sam’s Throne and Goat Trail to Big Bluff

  1. The Goat Path name certainly speaks for itself. Reminds me too much of the Knife Edge and I’m guessing that’s nothing compared to this hike. Keep the blog posts coming……..


    1. This didn’t feel quite as bad as the Knife Edge, though there wasn’t much wind to speak of while we were there. More blog posts on the way, I suppose the difficulty finding a balance between actually doing things and taking the time to write about them is a good problem to have.


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