Hiking to Hemmed-In Hollow

Hiking to Hemmed-In Hollow

Last weekend, I went on a trip with our women’s ministry to Northern Arkansas to go hiking. I love this women’s outdoor ministry because it gives me (and other women) the opportunity to go outside and do things we wouldn’t normally do.  Of course I could go hiking with Tyler, but there’s something empowering about embarking on these journeys without a man to depend on.  I know I would have made Tyler carry the pack, and he would have navigated and helped me a lot while hiking.  So doing this without him made me feel like “I am woman, hear me roar.”  And not to mention, it’s a great way to make friends while being active.

We had a group of 14.  We met early in the morning and drove 2.5 hours away (which easily became 3+ after potty breaks) and ended up in Compton, AR at Hemmed-In Hollow.


We were told it was a 5 mile round trip hike.  And I came prepared.  I had real hiking shoes and a pack.  And I borrowed a walking pole, so I was legit.  And I’m so glad I had “real” hiking stuff…because this was one intense trip.


Hemmed-In Hollow is the largest waterfall between the Rockies and the Appalachan mountains coming in at 220 feet. It was a challenge to get to the falls, but totally worth it.

When we started, we knew we had a 2.5 mile trip downhill.  And it was STEEP.  As we descended, it would look like the trail just dropped off…but it was just a steep grade.


It was beautiful, and the weather was perfect.  As we hiked, there were a few scenicoverlooks….and we didn’t know at the time, but we were looking at the falls.  That light stone is the falls area.


We hiked downhill, and staying together as a group fo 14 meant we took our time so we didn’t leave anyone behind.  It took us almost 2 hours to get the 2.5 miles to the falls.  We took some breaks because our knees were hurting from the long downhill.

Once we got to the falls, we were happy to see even a little water coming off the top- so it was a real waterfall.  When there’s more rain, it’s more of a waterfall.

But either way, it was AWESOME to see such a cool bluff.  I mean at 220 feet, you hade to crane your neck back to see the top. You couldn’t tell from the pictures, but it sort of “bowled” and the top was hanging over the bottom of the bluff.  And it was just gorgeous.  Of course, pictures don’t do it justice.


We ate our lunch at the falls, which made for a lovely meal.


To give you some size perspective, I climbed back where the water was falling and struck a pose.  I’m the one with my hands in the air (in the ayer, ayer).  It was a HUGE rock formation.IMG_0748

The toughest part was turning around and climbing back up the 1000-foot elevation change we had just come down.  I was SO thankful for my walking pole.  We stopped for lots of water breaks, and it took us almost 3 hours to return to the van.

We were sweaty, tired, hungry…but we made it.  And it was a beautiful hike.

If you want to go explore Arkansas, check out this book by Tim Ernst.  It’s what we used to make sure were going to the right trailhead and going the right way on the trail.


Have you ever hiked Hemmed-In Hollow?  Where’s your favorite place to hike?  Even though this was TOUGH, I would go back in a heartbeat to see the falls again.


  1. I love Hemmed-in-Hollow! I’ve visited it from both the river side (a heck of a lot easier as long as you’re okay with canoeing to get there!) and the trail head side. It is a doozy of a hike for sure! Have you been to Hawksbill Crag and Glory Hole? Those are two other good (and easier?) hikes with pretty views at the end. The Goat Bluff is lovely too, but it also is a longer hike with some super steep parts.

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