Lake Leatherwood Trail
The Lake Leatherwood Trail is located near Eureka Springs. The trail features include a dam made of cut limestone rocks and an old quarry from which that limestone was gathered. Lake Leatherwood also serves as a park of sorts so you will find some pavilions and cabins when you first enter in. The trail itself tapers off from all of this though and you can count on a more rustic feel as you move along. To prove this, the trailhead has a sign that warns of wild hogs that are in the woods. I did not see any when I hiked this one but I did see where they had been bedding down behind the dam. Don’t be deceived by the thought of wild hogs. They should not be messed with.
To get to the trailhead go north on Highway 62 from Eureka Springs. You will pass the Thorncrown Chapel (if you aren’t familiar with the area this is an easy marker). Once past the chapel go down to the bottom of the hill and turn right after the baseball filed. As you enter into the park the paved road will end. Follow the road into the lower campground and look for the signs to the Meadow Trailhead which is your starting point.
This lake is a favorite for trail bikes so you will likely see some tracks. From the trail head the path is a small dirt road at first and soon turns into a narrow path. There are trees on both sides of the path and by the time you see the lake you will know that you are nearing the dam.
I hiked this one afternoon after the area got some snow. Head over to the photo gallery to see some photos of the trail and also of the dam area. It was especially nice with a little frost of snow on the rocks.
When you get to the dam the trail actually goes across the dam to the other side of the lake but I recommend taking a slight detour first down to the foot of the back side of the dam. It is a really nice structure and the water rolling down the lime stone walls is awfully pretty.
Back on the trail you will walk across the top of the dam to the other side and you are almost halfway through with the hike. You will soon come to a flat rock area. This is the site of the quarry where the dam walls were drawn from. It is a neat little area and also has some spots that make for a good location to nap down by the lake.
The trail stays along the lake for the bulk of the remainder of the trail. There is a little uphill climb near the end but not bad. I hit this one on a Friday afternoon and came across only one other hiker going the other direction, two kayakers in the water and that was all.