January 4th, 2017
For Pop’s birthday he wanted to hike up to the Arkansas Sphinx on Hess Knob. We have driven past it several times; our first visit we didn’t attempt the hike and our second visit was in the middle of Summer when the trail looked all snakey and chiggery. This time we were determined to make it up. The trail used to be marked by a cairn. We knew where it was but the rock stack has been replaced by two giant “S” spray painted on trees that straddled the trail.
We could see the beginning of the trail looked steep. We underestimated the steepness. It not once leveled out. We bear crawled up the loose dirt path and reached the base of the Sphinx in less than 15 minutes (we took several breathers from our cardio/leg day workout).
The Arkansas Sphinx is a thing of wonder. That’s for sure! It sits on one of the highest peaks of the Arkansas Ozarks at 1800 ft. The base of the Sphinx has an arch that you can crawl in (carefully!) and see through the valley. The views include Hagarville, Pilot Rock Mountain, Mt. Magazine, Mt. Nebo, Petit Jean Mountain and Russellville. On the top of Hess Knob are several hoodoos. One being a lookout point in the Civil War days. Of course Pops and I had to take our photos on the lookout rock. There is also a hoodoo we referred to as “The Fort”, but the trail didn’t seem very friendly. A lot of walking across a slope. We decided to head down and call it an early day since a light snow flurry was starting to kick up. The trail down was much easier. Some places I had to slide my way down but for the most part it was walkable in a sense.
Directions – From Russellville: Head North on Scenic Hwy 7 towards Jasper. Turn left of Hwy 123. After the Fort Douglas bridge look for CR 4840 on your left. Take it about 1 mile and park at the curve across from the “S” on the trees. Be sure to park off the road quite a bit. This is a logging road and semis pulling large equipment do come through and you are on a curve!