Bushwhacking in the Woods

Steve and I love to hike in the woods to a destination and our favorite destination is a waterfall.  Cascades and waterfalls are fascinating and we love their different sizes and volumes. We have hiked to several on rustic or paved paths.  We recently learned about bushwhacking in the woods which leads us to many more hidden waterfalls. 


Bushwhacking is when you travel back in the wilderness or backcountry.  There are no trails or roads to follow.  It is more difficult to bushwhack, more time consuming and requires more physical exertion.

Recently, we purchased Arkansas Waterfalls, How to Find 200+ Spectacular Waterfalls and Cascades in “The Natural State” by Tim Ernst. We live in the Kansas City area and are only 3 ½ to 4 hours from the Buffalo River Region.  We drive “Alice”, our Sprinter Van, down to Arkansas 1-2 times a month. 

Waterfall Hikes

We have done a few of the backcountry waterfalls and are learning on the fly.  Alice is 24 feet long, finding the right place to park her is sometimes challenging.  Many of the directions say something like drive 2.3 miles out of a tiny town and look for the gully.  Park alongside the road and start your hike! 

On one hike, we found a safe flat area to back Alice into and walked about 200 yards to where we thought the directions were leading us.  Our first challenge was to hike (or slide) down a 100-foot extremely steep slope.  Hiking deep into the woods we found the stream and rock ledge markers.  All of this was extremely steep and physically challenging.  Luckily, we stopped for a drink and looked back in the direction we had just taken.  We were definitely in a remote area.  We could barely see the tree that we had used for a landmark. 

Getting lost was a concern. We did not have GPS or a compass with us and no service on our phones. Needless to say, we turned around and climbed our way up and out and back to Alice.  That hike was definitely over our experience level.  We will stick with the easy and medium bushwhacks for now.  The difficult ones are very DIFFICULT and potentially hazardous!

High water is the best time to look at waterfalls. The rainy season of fall and spring are the best.  Summer is not inviting with the lush ground cover.  We are excited spring is here. We have already been on a couple adventures in late February and early March. More trips are planned with more waterfalls to discover. 

For information on Alice, our Sprinter Van, refer to my blog on Van Life By Design.

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