The Dogwood Overlook Trail is at the Beaver Dam State Park, close to Eureka Springs, AR. The trail is only two miles long, but it is a steep two miles and a little more difficult than the length would indicate. We headed out with the dogs today to check it out. It was a perfect spring day, with blue skies and just a few clouds here and there. Because it was such a short hike, I opted to go without my backpack, thinking we would not be out very long.
The trail head is at the overlook by Beaver Dam and there is a long flight of stairs going straight up. Buster was headed up the stairs full steam, while Katie was resistant to climbing any of the stairs. I handed Katie off to Stuart and Buster and I started up. About a third of the way up the stairs, Buster decided that the stairs were not that interesting, so he jumped off to find a different route. Unfortunately, the stairs are there because there isn’t a way up without them. So…I dropped the leash and headed back down the stairs, calling him back down the hill. We got to the bottom of the stairs, and started back up again. This time he made it about two thirds of the way before he decided to jump off the stairs and find another way. I was really glad we were able to call to him and get him back on the stairs this time.
After leaving the stairs, the trail heads up slightly to a nice bench and an overlook. We were a couple of weeks early for the dogwood blooms, but the view was nice. We carried on and came to the quarry where the stone for the dam was taken from. It was a little confusing which way to go next, but we followed what looked like an old service road that was going slightly uphill.
As we were headed up the hill, we met up with two other hikers coming back the other way. (They had also witnessed our previous challenges navigating the stairs.) They said that they trail just appeared to end at the highway. We decided to keep going and check it out. When we got to the highway, we spotted a trail marker on the other side, so this made our first highway crossing while hiking. It was a little difficult to see where the trail was, but after some hunting around, we found a marker. After a bit of hiking, we came to another bench that looked out over the lake…because of the erosion around the bench, it was way off of the ground. We both took a seat and I felt like a little kid swinging my legs off of the bench.
From here the trail travelled uphill more, some parts were pretty steep. There were some interesting rock formations, then we came to a set of steps that led up to one of the longest bluff overhangs I’ve seen. Because of recent rains, there were rivulets of water dripping from the top of the overhang and the path was a little muddy, but it was such a nice day it didn’t matter. From the overhang, there were some nice views of the lake as well, since the leaves haven’t come out on the trees yet.
After leaving the overhang, we climbed up more and came to our second highway crossing. Here, the trail became really hard to follow and we meandered around for quite a while looking for the trail. We started going downhill, and it looked like this trail had not really been used for some time. At the bottom of the hill, Stuart discovered he had lost his sunglasses. We could have turned back around at that point and tried to find them, but we abandoned them and kept going. Unfortunately, we missed a trail marker sometime about this point as well, so we circled back around looking for the trail again. Once we found it, we headed out and it wasn’t too far until we came up to the old service road that serves as the remainder of the trail. Of course, since I’d left my backpack at the car, I did not have a map…or my water. I really started thinking that may not have been such a great idea. We managed to make it back to the car without further incident, so no one met with an untimely end on the two mile trail. I’d like to come back in a couple of weeks when the dogwoods are blooming. Who knows? Maybe we’ll find a pair of sunglasses!