Alum Cove and (some of?) Sam’s Throne
Alum Cove was probably my favorite hike of those we did in the Ozarks. The natural bridge is something like 125 feet long – an impressive span – and 30 feet wide. We started this short hike with a quick descent from the trailhead and then walked over the natural bridge before descending to the level of it’s base. Here we spent about 10 minutes inspecting the soaring rock from multiple angles and attempting to photograph the magnificent formation. We then continued on into the forest and crossed a stream en route to the other side of the hollow where we spent quite a bit of time gazing at the water dripping off the bluffs and exploring the tunnel-like limestone formations reminiscent of slot canyons. All this packed into just over a mile of trail made it a true delight to hike, but the absence of other people was especially nice too: Allie really got to burn off some energy during our visit here.
The hike to Sam’s Throne, being located on top of a mountain, was quite different in character than Alum Cove. Famous for the Chickenhead Wall rock climbing face, the Sam’s Throne area was a delight to hike – and maybe more of a delight than we know since we don’t think we ever found the loop trail.
After parking at the furthest point to the bluffs we followed what may or may not have been the trail along the bluff line. There were spectacular views up to and past Chickenhead Wall but too soon we found ourselves returned to the campground area adjacent to where we had parked. Since I was pretty sure the trail was something like 3 miles we set off in the other direction looking for signs or a trailhead and then returned to the bluff area where we found another footpath … that turned out to be a climber’s trail that abruptly ended not too far away. So I’m not sure we did any of the actual trail, possibly just walking climbers’ access routes, but oh my were the views spectacular. The checkerboard fracturing of limestone was also quite unique and definitely beautiful as well. Overall, it was a wonderful failure.