BUFFALO NATIONAL RIVER, ARKANSAS
At 550 feet tall, Big Bluff is one of the tallest natural features between the Appalachian Mountains and the Rocky Mountains, serving as a sort of exclamation point in Middle America. The Goat Trail runs along its face, following a 5-foot-wide lip in the rock, hundreds of feet above the Buffalo River. Get there near mile 2.5 of a 9.7mile loop. Follow the Centerpoint Trail east for 2.5 easy miles to the Goat Trail, where you’ll crawl through a natural tunnel (an “eye” in the rock) before continuing onto the cliffy bit, which soars 350 feet above a perfect U-bend in the Buffalo. Glance down at the oaks and hickories (which turn in October), then continue negotiating the gnarled, old-growth junipers sprouting out of the cliff face to the Old River Trail at mile 3.2. Follow it across the Buffalo (camp here with a view of Big Bluff if you overnight) and west to the Chimney Rock Trail, which wends north to the trailhead.
Trailhead Centerpoint (36.0640, -93.3604) Season Year-round, but September to November is best for cool temps and fall foliage. Permit None Contact nps.gov/buff
Hardwoods smother the Buffalo River beneath Big Bluff.