Buffalo River Chamber of Commerce
Directions:
The center is located in Ponca roughly opposite the Ponca Post Office. Very easy to find.  Parking south side of facility.
GPS:
36.02215, -93.36141

Printable Map
Fees:
None
Facilities:
Toilets, water.  Pavilion with picnic tables.
Nearest Gasoline:
Ponca at Lost Valley Canoe
Phone:
870-861-2432
Activities:
Education exhibits inside and out. Annual Color Fest.
Special Issues:
The Center is barrier free with handicap parking in front.

Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  Hours 10AM to 4:30 PM. Open year round.
Seasonal Opportunities:
The last weekend of October the Ponca Elk Education Center holds an annual Color Fest to coincide with peak fall color. The event is held the third weekend on Friday and Saturday. Includes artists, demonstrations and elk photography workshops. This year it is October 17 &18, 2014 10:00AM to 4:30PM   Color Fest Flyer
Emergency Numbers:
National Park Service  (870) 365-2700
Newton County Sheriff  (870) 446-5124
Relevant Offsite Links:
http://www.poncaeec.com  Official website for the Ponca Elk Education Center.

http://arkansaswildlifephotography.com  In-depth information on elk watching in Boxley Valley and the upper river area. Visitor guides, frequent updates, information. Many elk photo galleries and tutorials by pro nature photographer Michael Dougherty.
Buffalo National River
  Upper River Area

Ponca Elk Education Center

Ponca Elk Education Center


The award winning Ponca Elk Education Center is the highest attended AGFC education center in Arkansas. It recently received national recognition from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation as one of the 25 top conservacation spots. 

The Center is free of charge. It features nature exhibits, a small gift shop, and a knowledgeable staff that provide useful information about Ponca area attractions, especially the Arkansas elk herd. Fishing and hunting licenses can be purchased at the Center.

The Center is a popular destination with adults and children alike. No visit to the see the elk is complete without visiting the center to learn more about the elk herd and its habitat.

During peak color season of each October the Elk Education Center puts on an art show called Color Fest. It is timed to coincide with the peak fall color and the annual elk rut. The event features area artists, art demonstrations, and photography workshops.
AGFC's Ponca Elk Education Center

Schermerhorn Trailhead

      Directions   
GPS: 36.07326, -93.26404       (11.7 miles, 25 mins)

This is a popular trail round trip is around 2 miles. The trail leads to a falls and old bluff shelter. The bluffline is quite scenic with large boulders and pines. Many side trails to explore as well. Watch out for slippery rocks. The road to the trailhead can be hazardous in wet weather. The road past the trailhead into the park is 4WD only, and not maintained.

Compton Trailhead

      Directions   
GPS:  36.0817, -93.30536     (9.3 miles, 16 mins)

Another trailhead down to Hemmed In Hollow, Granny Hendersons, and Sneeds Creek. Very tough hike, over 1,000 ft. descent on switchback trails. Plan to take all day for this one. Don't go alone, and don't go if you are not reasonably fit. Popular with hikers and horsemen. HIH easier hike from parked canoe.

Centerpoint Trailhead

      Directions   
GPS:  36.06368, -93.36017    (3.6 miles, 5 mins)

This trailhead is popular with hikers and horsemen. It is one of two ways to famous Hemmed In Hollow, the dangerous Goat Trail, Sneeds Creek Trail, and Granny Henderson's cabin. Big elevation changes, not for out of shape hikers. 1,000 ft descent. For most, this is an all day hike requiring frequent rest stops.

Hawksbill Crag

      Directions
GPS:  35.88816, -93.4698  ( 13.1 miles,  37 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 (18.5 miles, 23 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

Smith Creek Preserve

   Directions    Web
GPS:  35.93548, -93.38612  ( 8.2 miles,  10 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.

Boxley Valley Elk Herd

  (Highway 43 & 21)    Directions    Web
GPS:  35.97717, -93.40219  ( 4.7 miles, 6 mins)

Home of Arkansas' famous elk herd, arguably the most viewable in the southern US. Mornings and evenings, fall rut exceptional.

Boxley Valley Mill Pond

    Directions  
GPS: 35.98829, -93.40081    ( 3.9 miles, 4 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.

Itinerary Builder -- Attractions Close to Ponca Elk Education Center

Lost Valley Hiking Trail

  (2 miles south of Ponca)   Directions
GPS:  36.00787, -93.36625  (1.3 miles, 2 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.
Ponca Elk Education Center, AGFC