Known as a rock climbing site, Sam's Throne, near Mount Judea, Arkansas is a popular hiking, camping and photography destination. Overlooking the Big Creek valley below, the scenic views will show you why this is such a popular place.
The area has been popular with rock climbers for many years, and numerous routes along the bluff offer challenges for everyone from beginning through experienced climbers. The climbs range from short bouldering up to 75' pitches. Top roping is popular here, and the Atoka sandstone has numerous solution pockets, knobs and crack systems. The Atoka sandstone caprock that forms the cliffs at Sam's Throne can be found within about a three mile radius of the area.
When you first pull into the recreation area, there is a parking area just before the road goes through a gate. This is the main parking area. You can also pull through the gate and follow the road a little way to a turn around and small area with additional parking near the primitive camping areas. From here, there are three short trails that lead down to the bluff edge and viewing area, offering views of Sam's Throne and Big Creek valley below.
There is also a nice loop hiking trail that begins back up near the main parking area, and accesses below the bluff and on over to the base of Sam's Throne. From the main parking area, head through the gate and follow the road a few hundred yards to a small trail that leads off to your right. It passes by a small camping area, then turns right. It quickly comes to an area called the Dog Walk, which is a break in the bluff that steeply leads down below. Once at the bottom, turn left and follow the bluffline, eventually coming below the viewing area where the bluff makes a point. From the trailhead to here, it is approx. 1 mile.
From this spot, the trail continues across a ridge and on over to the base of Sam's Throne. The trail circles around the base of the mountain, passing by an access on the back side where you can scramble up to the top of Sam's Throne for even more impressive views.
Once back down on the trail, continue to follow it around until you come back to where you first began. Follow the trail back towards the main bluff. Just before you get back to the bluff, you will notice a trail off to your right that follows an old road. You can turn right here, or head back up to the bluff and follow along the base of it to the right for a ways. If you follow the old road, it will follow the main bluff as well, just more off into the woods. After about a ½ mile or so, the old road will swing back to the right and start heading uphill. It will then swing back to the left and continue uphill, through a break in the bluff. Once near the top, the old road will swing back to the right again, but we want to leave the road to the left, on a normal hiking trail again. This trail follows along the top of the bluff that you were just hiking below, and eventually works its way back to the viewing area and the camping area, with many scenic views along the way. The total loop is approx. 2.5 miles.
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