Directions:
From Ponca head south on Highway 43. Elk will be in the farm fields, often by the Highway 43 and 21 intersection.
GPS:
35.97717, -93.40219 
Most reliable area, but entire Boxley Valley.is good.

Printable Map
Fees:
None
Facilities:
Toilets at Lost Valley Campground & the Ponca Buffalo River access.
Nearest Gasoline:
Ponca, Lost Valley Store
Photo Gallery:
See Arkansas Wildlfie Photogpraphy website.
Activities:
Elk watching and photography.
Special Issues:
Traffic safety, pull completely off the road and beware of gawking motorists. Also, stay out of the farm fields, elk are large dangerous wild animals.
Seasonal Opportunities:
Elk calving in June.

The annual elk rut, starting in mid-September and extending into November. Bugling and bull elk fights common.

Antlered elk visible until April 1
Emergency Numbers:
National Park Service  (870) 365-2700
Newton County Sheriff  (870) 446-5124
Relevant Offsite Links:
http://arkansaswildlifephotography.com  In-depth information on elk watching in Boxley Valley and the upper river area. Visitor guides, frequent updates, information. Very popular website with 15.000 visitors from 50 states and 33 countries.

http://arkansaswildifephotography.blogspot.com  In-depth coverage of elk herd locations. Periodic photos.  Huge archive of 400+ entries.  Daily reports and photos during the fall elk rut.

http://www.poncaeec.com  Official website for the Ponca Elk Education Center. No visit to the area is complete without visiting the award winning Ponca Elk Education Center. See their Annual Color Fest the end of October.
Buffalo National River
Upper River Area

Arkansas Elk Herd

Boxley Valley Elk Herd


Boxley Valley is the very best destination to see the Arkansas elk herd. The elk are a 12 month attraction. Visitors can witness the entire life cycle of elk from calving in the spring, to the popular annual mating season in the fall. The elk rut that extends roughly from mid-Septem-ber until mid-November.

Prospective elk viewers is to visit during the ends of the day, either early morning to around 8AM, or from about 5PM until dark are the best times (earlier and later in summer heat). In very hot weather viewing times compress, in cold winter weather elk might be visible all day long.

Antered elk are visible the majority of the year. Bull elk drop their antlers around April 1 and immediately begin to regrow them. Antler growth rate is very fast, and by June the big bulls are starting to look large again. Mid-August marks the beginning of scraping of "velvet", the soft antler covering in preparation for the annual rut just one month off.

June 1st is considered the peak date when elk give birth to their young, called calves. Newborn calf elk are seldom seen until they are a few weeks old.

September and October are the peak of the rut. During this period, bull elk bugle mornings and evenings, thrilling the thousands who make the annual pilgramage from many states.
Herd Bull Elk and Calf During Rut

Itinerary Builder -- Attractions Close to the Arkansas Elk Herd

Ponca Elk Education Center

(in Ponca)   Directions
GPS:  36.02215, -93.36141  (4.8 miles, 6 minutes
)
AGFC elk education center, nationally recognized facility.
Open daily 10 - 4:30 PM, Closed Tuesday and Wednesday
(870) 861-2432

Boxley Valley Mill Pond

    Directions  
GPS: 35.98829, -93.40081    (.6 miles, 2 mins)
The historic spring fed Boxley Valley Mill Pond is home to a population of trumpeter swans, many different waterbirds, bald eagles in season, as well as beaver, mink, otters and the occaional raccoon. Popular with photographers and wildlife watchers. Very near the best elk viewing areas.

Smith Creek Preserve

   Directions    Web
GPS:  35.93548, -93.38612  (3.4 miles, 4 minutes
)
Nature Conservency, hiking trail 500 ft. descent in 1 mile. Two track road, hiking trail, very scenic spring fed creek with outstanding spring wildflower show. Popular with photographers.  Remote, don't hike alone.

Hawksbill Crag

      Directions
GPS:  35.88816, -93.4698  (8.2 miles, 30 mins)

Popular 3 mile round trip with 200 ft elevation change. Most photographed Arkansas Landmark. Trail can be rough, a few seasonal creeks. Hazardous around bluff edges, children need to be watched closely. Bear sightings now and then.

Glory Hole

      Directions
GPS:  35.82595, -93.39737 (13.7 miles, 17 mins)

This is a popular short hike of moderate difficulty. The Glory Hole is a waterfall through the top of a cave. It is a popular destination with hikers and most serious outdoor photographers.  Fairly remote, probably best not hiked alone. NFS

Upper Buffalo Wilderness Trailhead

    Directions  
GPS:  35.94606, -93.3994  (2.5 miles, 3 mins)
The Upper Buffalo Wilderness trail travels south past the Whitely Cemetary up to an old roadbed then proceeds south into an area divided between the NPS and NFS. The uppermost Buffalo National River is called the "Hailstone".  Rugged and remote, popular with hosemen. Don't hike alone.

Lost Valley Hiking Trail

  (2 miles south of Ponca)   Directions
GPS:  36.00787, -93.36625  (3.5 miles, 5 mins)

NPS  The most popular hiking trail in the upper Buffalo River area. Barrier free stretch, suitable for families. Eden Falls, native american shelter, waterfall in cave, outstanding spring wildflowers.
Bull Elk and Calf in Boxley Valley