The 20 Best Waterfalls In Arkansas: Local Favorites, Celebrated Natural Wonders, And Hidden Gems
By Sarah McCosham|Updated on January 20, 2023(Originally published January 14, 2023)
I write like it's my job - because it is! I have a Master's in English and love words: crossword puzzles, Scrabble games, Wordle, and, of course, good, old-fashioned books.
I'm a writer and editor at OnlyInYourState, and a contributing writer at Cincinnati Magazine. I love the Great Outdoors and am endlessly awestruck by this beautiful country of ours. Coffee keeps me going, yoga keeps me sane, my kids keep me grounded, and my writing keeps me inspired.
The Natural State certainly lives up to its nickname, as you can easily tell from all the waterfalls in Arkansas.
The state is home to majestic mountains (White Rock Mountain is an ancient wonder more beautiful than anything you could imagine), commanding canyons and gorges (the Arkansas Grand Canyon offers a 180-degree view of the Ozarks, one of the most beautiful wonders in the country), and resplendent rivers (established in 1972 as America’s First National River, the Buffalo River is beautiful body of water that’s one of the last remaining undammed rivers in the Lower 48).
But there’s so much more to discover in Arkansas. As you’ll soon see, the Natural State can boast more than 200 spectacular waterfalls and cascades!
And that’s only the year-round cascades; there are many, many more seasonal and unnamed waterfalls to discover in Arkansas. Today, we’re going to indulge our waterfall chasing wanderlust and explore the best waterfalls in Arkansas.
From beautiful waterfall hikes and superlative cascades to clear-blue waterfall swimming holes and double (and triple!) falls, waterfall chasing is a celebrated pastime in Arkansas, with these falls offering the most enchanting experience of the Natural State.
Here at OnlyInYourState, our insatiable appetite for wanderlust keeps us going, and waterfall chasing is perhaps our most favorite way to satisfy our adventure-seeking souls.
And in Arkansas, unlimited adventures – and waterfalls – await. Here are the best waterfalls in Arkansas that belong on every adventurer’s bucket list.
Tallest Waterfalls in Arkansas
While we adore all Arkansas falls, even the most diminutive, there is something undeniably alluring about tall falls. These are immense and commanding cascades sure to render you speechless and fully immersed in a beautiful moment of complete awe and wonder.
If you’re into superlatives, you’ll want to check out these show-stopping falls in the Natural State; they are some of the tallest waterfalls in Arkansas — and, in some cases, the country.
Best Waterfall Hikes in Arkansas
While the Natural State is home to some bucket-list-worthy hikes, there is nothing quite like a waterfall hike.
The experience of encountering one of these natural wonders along the trails is just that — an experience. It’s something magical and transformative for which pictures cannot convey.
Arkansas is positively teeming with waterfalls; and, by extension, waterfall hikes. While it would take a lifetime to explore them all, we’ve compiled the following best waterfall hikes in Arkansas to get you started on your waterfall-chasing adventures in the Natural State.
Easy Waterfall Hikes in Arkansas
Waterfall chasing shouldn’t be limited to elite hikers and gung-ho outdoorsy types — and it isn’t in the Natural State.
Happily, there are many, many easy waterfall hikes in Arkansas perfect for beginners, families, and those with limited mobility.
“Ease” and “accessibility” are the name of the game with the following treks, but don’t let that fool you: these easy waterfall hikes in Arkansas are some of the best waterfall hikes in the state, period.
No Hike Waterfalls in Arkansas
Sometimes, an escape in nature is all we really need. A relaxing, restorative escape. No hiking or effort — just us and the wonders of nature.
For those who wish to chase some waterfalls minus the chase, leave your hiking shoes at home and let the following no-hike waterfalls in Arkansas fuel your wanderlust.
Waterfall Swimming Holes in Arkansas
The only thing better than happening upon a waterfall while out in the wilds of Arkansas, is happening upon a waterfall swimming hole while out in the wilds of Arkansas.
Because, let’s face it: spring, summer, fall, and even winter, can often be quite oppressively hot and sticky here in the Natural State.
While there are plenty of easy-access and/or no-hike waterfalls in Arkansas, some falls require a bit more of a chase. These elusive, hidden gem waterfalls in Arkansas are the ultimate adventure for waterfall chasers, with the reward being immense and wondrous!
Below are a few such hidden gem waterfalls in Arkansas. In many cases, these elusive falls are so hidden, not many have seen them in person! So let the following images whet your waterfall chasing appetite and encourage you to go forth and find these fantastic falls.
Map of Arkansas Waterfalls
The Natural State is positively teeming with natural wonders, from the summit of its Grand Canyon to the basin of its Natural River. In between, lush forests, valleys, caves, and streams are home to myriad waterfalls: enchanting, beguiling, breathtaking waterfalls in Arkansas.
Whether you’re an advanced hiker, new outdoorsman, or somewhere in between, the waterfall chasing adventures in Arkansas are numerous and varied, with these natural wonders just waiting to be explored, experienced, and admired.
With so many Arkansas waterfalls, it may be difficult to decide where to begin. Here are some ideas to get you pointed in the right direction - and even some suggestions for some Natural State hikes without waterfalls.
When you find yourself asking, "What are some waterfalls near me in Arkansas?" check out our handy-dandy map of Arkansas waterfalls. That may spark some ideas and help you find a starting point for your next Natural State waterfall adventure. Or, you can just make it easy on yourself and visit Newton County, which is home to more than 100 waterfalls - or about half of all the waterfalls in the state of Arkansas.
There’s something about hiking to a cascade that makes the payoff just that much sweeter, which is why we recommend a few fantastic waterfall hikes in Arkansas, some of which will even lead you to multiple waterfalls. One such hike is the trail to Compton's and Amber Falls, where you'll encounter both a double waterfall and a waterfall with a swimming hole. Some of the best such hikes are when the payoff for an afternoon of bushwhacking is a hidden waterfall or two.
The Natural State is home to some fantastic hiking, and some of the best hiking trails in Arkansas don’t even lead to a waterfall. Those looking for a big, multi-day adventure should head for the iconic, 200-plus mile Ouachita Trail, which spans almost the entire state. Not to worry, though. Day hikers and those wishing to hike distances less than 200 miles will find plenty of shorter hiking trails in Arkansas, as well. Many even lead to spectacular views.