Section: Boston Mountains
Counties: Newton, Searcy
Manager: Ozark National Forest (link)
The Richland Creek Wilderness was created by the 1984 Arkansas Wilderness Act and contains 11,801 acres in the middle of the Boston Mountains. One of three wildernesses on the Buffalo Ranger District, it takes its name from the main creek running through the area with the rich, fertile soil along the lower creek portion near the Buffalo River. An unusual feature of the Ozark Mountains is that the “mountains” are actually plateaus, uplifted as a unit with few folds or faults. The ruggedness of these mountains is due to erosion of the plateaus caused by swift rivers flowing between them. Topography within 1/4 mile on either side of Richland and Long Devil’s Fork Creeks is quite rugged and scenic. Rock bluffs over 100 feet high and extending over a mile along each side of Richland Creek graphically reveal the earth’s development. The forest cover is mostly second and third growth oak-hickory. Some scattered stands of shortleaf pine in old fields exist from when the Forest Service purchased the land in the 1930s and 1940s. There are no developed trails located in the wilderness. There is a system of old logging roads that run throughout the area and receive sporadic use. Kayakers float Richland Creek after rains have raised the creek water level. The wilderness area is known for its crystal clear creeks and waterfalls. Remember to take drinking water or a filtration device with you for your safety.