The Hideout Hollow Trail in the Buffalo National River is a great way to explore the beauty of the Ozarks with not a lot of effort. This short 2-mile, out-and-back trail showcases the best features that make this region so interesting. With an overlook of sweeping views of the mountains, a 50-foot waterfall, and a historical backstory, it doesn’t get much more “Ozark.”
Finding the trailhead
The trailhead for the Hideout Hollow Trail is at the Schermerhorn Trailhead. To find the Schermerhorn Trailhead, turn at Compton onto County Road 121. Drive for a very short way and turn right onto County Road 19. You then drive 3.3 miles until you see a small parking lot (only big enough for about four or five vehicles) on your left. This road is also called Erbie Road.
The parking lot isn’t very big, but not many people hike this trail. It’s kind of a hidden jewel off the beaten path on the Buffalo. This makes it a great trail to avoid the crowds.
Hiking the Hideout Hollow Trail
The Hideout Hollow Trail begins heading almost due north high up at the top of the plateau. But don’t worry, it doesn’t drop too much in elevation so you don’t have to climb a lot on your return trip. The trail only has about 400 feet of total elevation gain.
The trail drops a little in elevation for the first 0.2 miles. It then follows the top of the Ozark Plateau for a little way before dropping just a little more to the edge of the cliffs that surround a beautiful box canyon at mile 0.75. Here you are treated to spectacular views of the Cecil Creek Valley.
The next 0.25 miles the trail follows the bluff line to the crook of the canyon. Once you reach the end of the trail you are treated to a 50-foot waterfall that tumbles over the rocks into the box canyon. It’s easy to see how water carves out the mountains in the Ozarks.
History of the Area
The waterfall creates an overhang and almost cave-like area at the bottom. This natural shelter and canyon was home to the Slacker Gang, who found the deep valleys and dense forests of the Ozarks a great place to hide from what many Americans called “Britain’s War.”
To avoid being drafted and fight during World War I, they took refuge in Hideout Hollow. The Slacker Gang consisted of nine young men from the Cecil Cove area along the Buffalo River. They were able to hold for months but eventually succumbed to the draft in 1918.
It’s interesting to hike through this beautiful area and imagine what it would be like to live in it full time.
Hideout Hollow Trail
The Hideout Hollow Trail might be short and relatively easy, but it’s not a trail to discredit. The views, the waterfall, and the history make it a great hike in the Buffalo National River. Also, because it’s off the beaten path, it’s a great trail to beat the crowds.
- 2 miles out and back
- Elevation gain and loss 400 feet
- Dogs not allowed