Hiking From the War Eagle Trailhead
Leaving Eureka Springs, take Arkansas Highway 23 South for 20 miles to Withrow Springs State Park. The hiking trail is well marked and starts at the bridge near the southwest entrance to the park.
You will head out under the bridge and up some stairs to the ridge that follows War Eagle Creek for the majority of the trail. This part is pretty level. About 0.5 miles into your hike you will come to War Eagle Cave. You will not be able to enter the cave due to a problem that is impacting the bat population here in the state. The next portion of the trail requires caution as it follows along a rocky ridge that climbs about 150 feet to the top of a bluff overlooking the countryside. This is a very pretty part of the trail. You can return to the trailhead or head off toward the Dogwood Nature Trail. The Dogwood Nature Trail is named for the many flowering dogwood trees along it’s path.
The trail is 2 miles round trip and will take you approximately one hour. It is classified as Strenuous or Moderate depending upon the source. The trail is named for War Eagle Creek that is unique in that it flows north from the headwaters in the Boston Mountains instead of south.
Time for Food
When you get back to your car, you will have worked up an appetite. Drive five miles further to the town of Huntsville. Check out Granny’s Kitchen, one of those restaurants that everyone knows about for miles around. Open every day from 6:00AM-2:30PM. Southern home-cookin’—pot roast, fried chicken, ham & beans and chicken and dumplings. The experience won’t be complete without having a piece of Granny’s pie. If you have the pie, you may need to find another trail.
Most of our guests at The Peabody House and The Inn at Rose Hall know we own Lake Lucerne Cottages and the lake by the same name. The lake is a small 6-acre lake two miles south of downtown Eureka Springs.
Over the past five years our guests have watched the waterfowl change from time to time on the lake depending upon the season. Several years ago we became the owners of a flock of domestic geese that are noisy, territorial and possessive. In spite of all of that they are very entertaining and we all love to watch their antics.
This spring we had three Canadian Geese arrive and check out the lake as a possible home. The Domestic crew was not happy about their arrival and proceeded to force two of them to move on. One did not leave. She fell in love with one of the Domestic boys. They have been a couple for the entire summer. He has defended her time and time again.
Now we are waiting to see what happens in the fall. Is she going to break his heart? Will she stay or will she go?
Many people come to this area to walk in the woods and see the awesome bird life we have in this part of Arkansas. At breakfast the other morning our guests decided it wasn’t necessary to go anywhere but to just look out the windows of The Morning Room while they were having breakfast and watch the show. In less than an hour an incredible array of bird life arrived at the feeders in the back patio.
We saw the Tufted Titmouse, Carolina Chicadee White-breasted Nuthatch, Carolina Wren, Eastern Towhee (who passes through each year), Chipping Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, House Sparrow, House Finch, American Goldfinch, Northern Cardinal, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Blue Jay and Mourning Dove. All of these while they were having breakfast at The Inn at Rose Hall.
Each winter we feed a flock of about 30 American Goldfinch on the garden patio. Their coloring is rather drab all winter long. But around Easter time every year the males begin to put on their spring suits and the patches of bright yellow begin to show.
The entire patio is lined with Forsythia Bushes which is one of the first spring shrubs to bloom a vibrant yellow every year. Both the birds and the Forsythia reach their full color at about the same time. It looks like we have flying Forsythia in the garden patio for several weeks each spring. Then the Goldfinches move on to do their thing and return in the fall to settle in to spend their winter hiatus with us once again.
People are always asking me what to do when they visit Eureka Springs. There are always the fun shops, good restaurants and usual tourist attractions. But in the winter time it’s the simple things that can be so rewarding. Last week we had a major snow storm…ten inches…and it was breathtaking. I put on my boots and went exploring through a winter wonderland. I was less than a block away from The Inn at Rose Hall when I looked up into the woods and there were seven deer foraging. We both froze for a minute and then they went back to feeding. And I just watched. It’s one of the things that makes Eureka Springs magical all year.