May 2, 2016
After the big rainstorms this past weekend and knowing it could be one of the last waterfall excursions we could take this year, I really wanted to go see Whiskey Chute in all it’s glory. Tim Ernst’s picture in the book is breathtaking and I wanted to see this for myself! The entire trail with 4 named falls is about 7 miles; you have to park your car on one dirt road, go through a trail system and end up on a different dirt road and walk back to your car. Pops wasn’t down for a long hike, so we decided to start backwards on the trail and park our car on the dirt road closest to Whiskey Chute so we could backtrack and come back to the vehicle. After driving through Hector and hitting the backroads, it was clear we were in the backcountry of White Oak Mountain. Even the roadsigns did not make sense.
After parking the vehicle we started down a very well marked trail, as well as a dirt bike path, called Mountain Man Trail. It zigzagged alongside the Moccasin Hollow Creek. We crossed it several times as well as some fallen trees to get to Whiskey Chute and each creek crossing had a plethora of cascades leading downstream.
After about 2 miles, the trail takes a sharp left turn uphill. There is a slight Y to the right. If you take the Y to the right and head upstream following the orange flagging tape, it will take you directly to the 85 foot cascade, Whiskey Chute. The fall is surrounded by a beautiful bluff line making it a very serene spot. Arkansas has seen some crazy weather the past year, so the cascade bed was covered in fallen trees. Even if you hiked straight uphill to the right side of the cascade, there still wasn’t a good place to take a great shot. It’s definitely one of those places you just take in instead of take a picture.
Pictured above is the famous Whiskey Chute with fallen debris blocking the view upstream. We also assumed with the torrential rains we received the previous weekend that it would be flowing hard. This was obviously not the case. Also, with the trees in full bloom it blocks the view to the top which is hardly visible in the photo. Don’t get me wrong, it was worth the hike and experience, just not photo worthy at the moment. Had the fall been roaring and the trees not blocking the path, this would’ve looked exactly like Ernst’s picture from years before. I have however marked this fall to revisit in the Winter when the foliage is dead and the fall is visible. Tim Ernst has marked this trail system as a difficult bushwhack, and once you get off Mountain Man Trail to get to the falls, I can see why.