About High Banks Twin Falls
High Banks Twin Falls provided us with one of our more tranquil waterfalling experiences during our little road trip to the South Central states of Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Oklahoma in March 2016. While almost all the other waterfalls were established reserves with lots of people, this was the only waterfall where we had it all to ourselves. And as you can see from the photo above, this was quite a nice waterfall to be alone with as it featured a pair of waterfalls plunging side by side (which its name suggested) in a secluded grotto that was well-hidden from the nearest road (which probably explained its obscurity). The falls gave us a taste of the Ozarks, which we were well aware was kind of the main Nature getaway for folks who are from or reside in this part of the country, and we could totally see why.
We began our excursion by parking at the High Banks Canoe Launch (see directions below) then walked back towards the main road. Once we were on the main road, we followed it to the east for a couple of minutes to a small bridge. On the far (east) side of the bridge, we saw an unsigned trail-of-use, which we took upstream alongside the creek we had just crossed over. The trail was pretty obvious at first as we meandered amongst a grove of tall thin trees still yet to have fully regrown their leaves. Along the way, we encountered another stream to our right that yielded a tiny cascade. The trail eventually became a little rougher as it was directly besides (or in some cases within) the stream. And after maybe 15-20 minutes, we arrived at the High Banks Twin Falls.
Our visit happened to follow about a week’s worth of rains in the South Central States, but its flow seemed to be quite constrained despite the influx of precipitation. So that led us to believe that this waterfall probably wouldn’t last very long (maybe give it a few weeks without rain before it would start trickling or going dry). Perhaps this short time flow further added to the falls’ obscurity. I’d imagine that in order to see this waterfall in its highest flow, we would’ve had to have been here immediate after or during heavy rain. The flip side to making a visit under such conditions would be that the rougher parts of the trail could be a bit on the hazardous side due to the possibility of high water along with the presence of mud and slippery rocks.
We returned to the car after about an hour away from it. A good chunk of that time was spent letting Tahia chuck rocks into the plunge pool when we weren’t trying to take family photos with our tripod. Overall, I believe that length wise, the hike was probably on the order of a quarter-mile in each direction. Perhaps most of the time spent on this excursion had to do with driving to (and from) this part of the Ozarks from Clarksville, where we were staying for the night.
Since we visited the High Banks Twin Falls from Clarksville, we’ll describe how we managed to make our drive from there. There were actually two different ways to go (the east approach and the west approach), and we’ll describe both of them here.
For the east approach, we drove towards the northern end of Clarksville along Hwy 64 (Main St) before heading north (left if coming from the west or right if coming from the east) onto Route 103 (College Ave). From the west side of Clarksville (the direction we came from), there was a little bit of a shortcut along Ray Rd before rejoining Route 103 and turning left onto it. We then followed Route 103 for about 18 miles (or 20 miles from the Hwy 64/Route 103 intersection) as the road road became twistier and slower the further north into the Ozark National Forest it went. Then, we turned left onto the Route 215 and followed this road for a little over 5.5 miles to the well-signed High Banks Canoe Launch, where we then turned left to go to its established car park. This drive took us around 30 minutes.
For the west approach (which we did in reverse when we left the fall for Clarksville), we would take the I-40 west to its exit at Hwy 23 in the town of Ozark (about 20 miles west of the Hwy 64 exit along the I-40). We’d then head north along Hwy 23 for about 14.5 miles to the junction with Hwy 215 (near the town of Cass). Turning right onto Route 215, we’d then follow this road for just under 9 miles, where the High Banks Canoe Launch turnoff was on our right. This drive took also took us on the order of 30 minutes or so (maybe a little slower since we had to follow a caravan of slow vehicles while on the Hwy 23).
To give you some context, Clarksville, Arkansas was 103 miles (90 minutes drive) northwest of Little Rock, Arkansas, 239 miles (3.5 hours drive) east of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and 335 miles (5 hours drive) northeast of Dallas, Texas.
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