Yellow Rock trail at Devil’s Den

View to campsite A from the Devil's Den trail

This weekend was absolutely wonderful, especially for February.  We had a warm Saturday night, so we decided to camp at Devil’s Den State Park near West Fork, Arkansas.  Stuart’s brother Tracy joined us on our camping adventure.  We arrived at the campground about 11 a.m. and set up our tents.  We were at campsite A, which was perfect because it was so close to Yellow Rock trail, which is the one we were headed for. 

Our home away from home for a night.

This was the first time I had ever gone camping and I was very happy to see the bathrooms, which seems to be the one thing I was the most worried about.  (And awesome bathrooms they were, there were even showers!…nice job Devil’s Den!)

We brought the dogs, Buster and Katie, with us and they were not sure at all about this adventure.  Not only was this their first camping trip too, but it was the first time they’d actually ever spent the night outside.

Buster and Katie taking a break

I took the dogs around the campground a bit to get them used to the idea that this was a good place for walks, then we headed out to hike the Yellow Rock trail.

Two of my facebook friends recommended this trail, and I was excited to get going.  It is by far one of the best trails we have been on so far because of the scenery and views.  The trail is 3 miles long and is ranked as moderate.  It climbs about 300 feet to an overlook of the Lee Creek Valley and has a loop that goes to the Yellow Rock that offers some great views. 

Tracy, Shelley, Buster and Katie take a second to check out the rock formations

The beginning of the trail had some wonderful rock formations that were awe inspiring.  It’s hard to get a picture that really does them justice.  I took the dogs (or they took me) and Stuart took the pictures at the beginning. 

At the fork in the trail, we took the left hand side and travelled up the hill through a ceder glade.  It looked like a good place to take a quick break and let some of the other hikers get ahead of us.  The trail was fairly busy on Saturday and Buster is way too interested in everyone to get very close to anyone else.

Pavilion at Yellow Rock Overlook

At the top of the hill we reached the Yellow Rock Overlook, which has the first structure built in the park in the 1930’s by the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC). 

The view was impressive and the pavilion had several other people hanging about.  The overlook is also accessible by car (which would be cheating!), so it’s a popular spot to congregate.

View from Yellow Rock Overlook

After taking in the scenery, we headed back down the hill.  Tracy spotted the left fork we wanted to take to head toward Yellow Rock.  We had seen the outcropping during our hike up and were excited to head down there. 

The site of Katie's misadventure

We came across a stream to cross and Katie had an unfortunate dunking in the creek, falling between two big rock slabs into a deep stream.  I was able to successfully rescue her, but she was not too keen on continuing, so we stopped just past the stream and snacked a bit. 

The water was running down the hill in a stream and while the puppies were recouping, I decided to see what was at the bottom of the hill.

The hidden waterfall

  It turned out to be one of the nice surprises of the hike, with a hidden waterfall and pool, far enough from the trail that we would have never seen it without being a bit adventurous.  At this point, I was out of water, having shared with the dogs, so we tested out the new water filter with the pool at the bottom of the waterfall.

Yellow Rock

We started back up again and it wasn’t too far to make it to the Yellow Rock.  This was another popular spot and we met up with a Great Dane for which Buster had taken an immediate disliking.  We didn’t linger too long, for fear of starting a doggie war, but we did manage to get some great shots of the view.

Stuart and Tracy discuss our next move

Tracy conquers Yellow Rock

Stuart, Tracy, Buster and Katie making the hike down

We made it back to camp after about 3 hours.  For some reason, my parents were excessively concerned about hiking and camping, and requested a phone call after we returned from our hike…so being the ever respectful daughter, I went in search of a cell phone signal.  On my way to the visitor center (where there was at least a pay phone), our friend, Craig found me.  He knew of our plans to hike at Devil’s Den and decided to try to find where we were and join us for a hike.  I directed him to our campsite and reported in to the home front, then after a short break, we were off again to the Devil’s Den trail.  Check out my next post for the awesome sights we saw along it!
For more information about the trail, visit the state park website at http://www.arkansasstateparks.com/things-to-do/trails/yellow-rock-trail-171/
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