Every year, the U.S. National Park Service offers free park entrance days at America’s National Parks. Today was a free day, and I’ve missed the boat for that one. The next free days are April 15-16 & April 22-23: National Park Week Weekends.
I was recently inspired by Cotopaxi to celebrate the Centennial for America’s National Parks. Cotopaxi is a benefits corporation that sells hiking backpacks and other bag-type gear to support organizations involved in helping alleviate world poverty. It’s been a really long time since I’ve visited any of the national parks, so I decided to share our hike to the King’s River hiking trail to join in the celebration of the Centennial.
America’s National Parks
Free Admissions for Veterans
Rob is retired from the USAF and one of his benefits is free admission to all of America’s National Parks. One of our bucket list items is to visit them all. Maybe that’s “several” of our bucket list items!
But it would be with mixed feelings if we do actually get to make the rounds to all of the parks. From what I’ve seen in the news, America’s National Parks are severely over-trafficked.
I don’t see how we can keep them beautiful and wild with so many feet tromping through them. And if we visited, that would just be four more feet added to the milieu.
Anyway, our local parks are maybe not so majestic as say, Yosemite or Glacier National Parks, but we have nature and beauty in plenty supply.
Kings River Falls
On the last Sunday in January 2016 I went hiking with my two oldest children and their children, one of my daughter’s friends and her children, and my parents to the Kings River Falls.
This trail is a little north and east of Fallsville, AR in Madison county. Here’s a link the Arkansas Natural Heritage website for the trail.
The Kings River Falls trail is a relatively short one at about a mile. It’s not a loop, so you’ll come back out the same way you went in, making the total trip about two miles. It’s not a hard hike because there’s no hills, but a lot of it is very rocky. It is not handicap accessible.
I’m Always Falling Behind
We started out in one big group. Everyone quickly got ahead of me, but I managed to get a couple of pictures of a few who straggled around the parking lot for a little while.
I’m the slow one on trails when I bring a camera because I’m always stopping to take pictures of things like leaves, flowers, bird nests, etc.
Here you can see my son, the last straggler, finally pulling far ahead of me.
I dare say my exercise workout from hiking is still sufficient, though, because all those things need a lot of stooping, bending, and near yoga postures to get good pics sometimes. (If you click the photos they should enlarge).
A little bird’s nest I spotted just a little off-trail.
Probably a hideout for small critters.
Maybe a sycamore seedball, not sure what it was, but I thought it would make a good picture.
Bright green moss enjoying the seep moisture.
Moss above and moss below a lichen covered rock.
Little things, like this tuft of grass, catch my eye and demand a photograph. it’s no wonder I can’t keep up.
Remnants of yesteryear. A chunk of old fencepost suspended on the barbed wire.
Dried flowers from last year, probably asters.
Patterns in nature intrigue me and I’m always attracted to the circular ones most.
Curled beech leaves.
Most of the trail was rocky. It didn’t seem to bother the younger folks, but it could be a bit of an ankle twister for others. Some stretches were relatively smooth. And there was hardly any change in elevation the whole way.
This trail is near the headwaters of Kings River. I’m not sure exactly how many miles upstream is the source, though. Even alongside this one mile trail you can see the many personalities of this river. The bottom is most often tumbled with rocks, both large and small. But there are some stretches with interesting sandstone formations.
Upstream on the Kings River
Rocks and more tumbled rocks.
Sandstone formations on the Kings River.
Other rocky bottom formations of the Kings River bed.
One of the first falls along the trail.
A long shot showing the flat rock bottoms.
Eventually, near the end of the trail, I almost caught up with my party. But as soon as I came into sight they jumped up and ran off. This is why I usually stick to photographing plants and rocks. They don’t move when I’m trying to get pictures. Unless the wind is blowing.
But finally I did catch up at the end of the trail. I always bring water on hikes, but since we had left around lunch time and I hadn’t eaten yet, I wished I had brought some lunch, too. Besides, it’s always a good idea to carry at least a snack in case there’s a delay on the trail for whatever reason.
End of the trail
I took these while the kids were playing on the rocks and near the water’s edge and everyone was resting and getting ready for the hike back out. My card was full by now, so I was able to keep up on the way out since I could no longer take any pictures.
Momma, Karter, and Daddy.
My dad in classic pose.
One of my granddaughters who went with us to hike.
Keigan striking a pose on the rocks alongside the river.
Keigan and Chloe sharing a snack and a drink of water.
I spent a fair amount of time trying to get a perfect photo of a drop of water falling from some lush moss at the base of the falls running into the river. But I never did get a good one. Here’s a so-so attempt.
Oh. And here’s a few of the destination falls.
Falls in Kings River
Falls running into Kings River
From the tributary falls
Hope you enjoyed this “virtual” hike to the Kings River Falls Natural area in Madison county Arkansas! Here’s another blog post from someone else about this hiking trail. His pics are from summer 2014.