FORUM — While the Buffalo River brings many tourists into North Central Arkansas, there is another river that offers a lot of the same amenities.
Getting its start in Madison County, the Kings River flows to Table Rock Lake. The pair meet just outside of Berryville and to the west of Arkansas Highway 221.
The river makes many turns on its way to Table Rock. One of the bends in the waterway can be found outside the town of Forum.
After traveling more than 6 miles of quality dirt road, the Kings River Overlook and Nature Trail provides hikers with some panoramic views of the river.
Under the care of the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission, the trail is about .67 miles in length one-way.
There are very few hills on the trail. After passing the trailhead gate, the major hill of the trail is located. It is about 20 steps down to the bottom with a total descent of about 20 feet.
At the bottom of the hill there is a small branch that crosses the path. There are three small streams that cross. In the heat of July, the branches were about three feet in width and only a couple inches deep. Each stream’s width was just big enough to make hikers use two steps to get through the cool water.
Around the .2 mark of the hike, there is a well worn path that leads to a bluff line. The .03 walk north leads to a nice view. There is also a cave in the bottom area of the bluffs.
During the spring time when the rain is heavy, water flows from this area and makes another stream to be crossed on the path to the overlook.
The bluff line runs to the right of the path when walking to the overlook. There are several volunteer trails that lead to views. Each trail ends with glimpses of the river. A wrong step could lead to a 100-foot fall to the trees and ground below the bluff.
When reaching the destination, a group of pine trees greet the visitors. There are several rocks in the bluff line that are stacked perfectly to allow sitting to absorb the view.
At this point in the river, there is a big bend in the river. The river is edged by a gravel bar that would be a perfect place for those canoeing to pull out of the river and take a break.
The hillsides are cloaked in hardwood and pine trees. They offer a solid background for photos.
Getting to the overlook requires a solid 75 minutes from Harrison.
Taking Highway 412 West, turn right on Arkansas 127. After traveling 5 miles, the road joins Highway 23 North.
From this intersection drive 3.5 miles north to turn on 1235. Just a quarter of a mile into the dirt road, bear right onto road 1250.
There are a couple more turns, but at this point there are Game and Fish Commission signs that will lead hikers to the final destination.
Before reaching a large parking lot by the entrance to the trail, there is a long hill that is just over a third of a mile. This hill will alert outdoorsmen of the upcoming trail.
Blue mushrooms are common
When hiking the trails of Arkansas, the natural hews of color are always visible.
When a pop of blue is seen, it stands out.
Lactarius indigo can be found in the Ozark hills. The mushrooms are commonly called blue milk mushrooms.
This species is part of the Russulaceae family of mushrooms. These mushrooms like the combination of leaf shedding trees along with cone-bearing seed plants.
The mushrooms are edible, but they spark controversy in the food world. Some mycologists consider the blue milk mushrooms to be very tasty. However, most consider the mushroom to have a mild to slightly acid taste.
Restaurants use the blue milk mushrooms to add additional color to the plate.