Arkansas Wildlife Blog and Gallery
Buffalo National River and NW Arkansas
If I had to choose one place to live out my life as a photographer, Boxley Valley in the Buffalo National River would be on the short list. It is a literal paradise of possibilities, and a visual treasure. This entry is about Boxley Valley in general so that you might get a feel for the place. Many other entries here are about Boxley Valley, but they deal with a narrow focus. This is about the global opportunity that Boxley Valley presents to a photographer or nature lover.

Boxley Valley and the Upper Wilderness Area are on the western end of the Buffalo National River. The valley itself is sandwiched between two federal wilderness areas, the Upper Wilderness, and the Ponca Wilderness. What this means is that it is between thousands of acres of uninhabited land. There are very few people, and there are many animals. It is a wild place even though there are many farms.

Boxley Valley, as a whole, is also on the National Register of Historic Places. There are severe restrictions on changes to the land and buildings, so the valley appears much as it did in the early 20th century. If you like to take pictures of barns and old homes in a historic setting, this is an excellent place to do so. The Boxley Baptist Church is a popular photographic subject.

The Buffalo River is gin clear, and when the light is right the color of the water is an amazing aquamarine. Add reflections of the rock formations, bluffs, and foliage, and you have a multitude of possible river landscapes. In these same settings, you will find animals crossing the river and occasionally coming down to drink. During the canoe season, you can float the whole valley and spend the day exploring along the river.

The park in the valley contains two hand hewn log cabins from Beaver Joe Villines that date from 1830. I have shot these a few times. (The Buffalo National River park contains many such cabins. These are near Ponca.

You can hike the Buffalo River Trail that skirts the Valley on the east. This trail offers many possibilities for side trips to explore the hollows and caves along the river. Take care to know when you are on private or public land, but it is a beautiful journey with many points of interest.

Lost Valley Campground in the middle of the valley is a wonderful place to camp, and to take photos. It features Eden Falls, lush spring wildflowers, and interesting geology. The hiking trail in Lost Valley is not very difficult at all. It alone would make a nice day trip and picnic for your photo shoot. The campground is located directly across from some of the more active elk fields during the rut. Lost Valley Campground is a great base of operations if you like to camp. If not, the nearby cabins are very affordable and just a short drive from the valley.

If you stay in Ponca or in the campground, there is a small store in Ponca at Lost Valley Canoe. Locals call it the Ponca Store. It has basic food items and beverages, ice and the like. They also sell gasoline.

The national trend now in a tightening economy are staycations. People are watching their dollars and vacationing more simply. Few places rival the Buffalo National River and the Boxley Valley area for an affordable vacation and a fantastic place to to take pictures. There is something here for every season.
My Other Links
Shameless Self-Promotion Department
My framed wildlife prints are on display and for sale at a number of locations:

Boardwalk Cafe/Arkansas House
Cliff House Inn
Point of View Restaurant
Jasper Chamber Gift Shop

Lost Valley Canoe Store
Villines Store (Boxley Valley)

Low Gap
Low Gap Store

Compton One Stop

Uncommon Grounds Coffee Shop
Notes to Entry:

Boxley Valley Seasons:

Early Spring
Wildflowers in Lost Valley
Canoe season
Seasonal waterfalls
Elk shed antlers

Elk calving season to June
Deer birthing, tiny fawns
Canoe Season
Swans at mill pond

Late Spring
Elk calves moving around
Deer fawns moving
Canoe Season
Bird Migrations

Elk in fields on cool days
Bull elk in velvet

Summer (Dog Days)
Bull elk in final velvet
Elk retreat in hot weather

Fall color late September
Elk rut, bugling, fights
Hiking season
Bird migrations

Prime hiking season
Elk segregate by gender
Geology pictures
Bald eagles mill pond

Year Round
Landscape photos
River landscape photos

Boxley Valley Overview