The United States Congress designated the Hurricane Creek Wilderness (map
) in 1984 and it now has a total of 15,214 acres
All of this wilderness is located in Arkansas
and is managed by the Forest Service.
In the middle of the Boston Mountains, Hurricane Creek tumbles along its boulder-strewn way, sparkling in pool after pool, through the center of this Wilderness. Limestone and sandstone bluffs, some over 100 feet high, loom above the rippling water. Second- and third-growth upland hardwoods, primarily oak and hickory, forest the surrounding lands, growing among narrow, V-shaped valleys. Dogwood, redbud, serviceberry, and witch hazel form the understory. Side drainages into the creek offer rugged traveling. Elevations surpass 2,200 feet on the high ridges. At the turn of the century, as many as 70 families inhabited Hurricane Creek Valley. While they're long gone, their homes, farms, cemeteries, and roads live on, although nature is gradually reclaiming ground. The Ozark Highlands Trail (OHT), partly an old pioneer road, crosses the Wilderness in a 19.5-mile, southwest-northeast path, bookended by parking lots. The Ozark Highlands Trail Guide rates this section as "one of the most scenic spots in Arkansas." Among the scenery is a huge natural rock bridge that spans Hurricane Creek. A high-water bypass on the OHT allows year-round access but eliminates some of the best scenery. All during the year you'll have to wade across the shallow but slick-bottomed creek, and black bears have been known to raid camps, and some of the land within the boundaries is private . . . none of which should deter you from this pristine slice of Arkansas Wilderness.