Buzzard Roost Rocks
February 5, 2005

I’ve told this story here before, and hope to tell it many times in the future, about the map of the Ozark National Forest I’ve had for almost 20 years now. Highlighted on the map are a dozen “special interest areas” that I’ve always been curious about, yet rarely made the effort to see for myself. Last winter Tim Ernst visited one of those sites, Buzzard Roost Rocks, and published some great photos on his Cloudland web site. Ever since then, the scenic spot has been high on my list.
Joey and I had plans to go mountain bike riding (Stacey and the boys got me a bike for my birthday) but when the weather forecast changed to mostly cloudy I talked Joey into adding a hiking/photography trip to the itinerary.
To get to the parking area, which is about 25 miles north of Russellville, we drove a complicated route that included over 9 miles of dirt road. On the way we pulled off Maupin Flat Road at a scenic overlook my topographic map names The Narrows. The enormous view included the horseshoe bend in Big Piney Creek just upstream from Longpool Campground, and Waldo Mountain rising above it.
Once at the parking area we hiked east a mile and a half down an unmarked logging road. The road forked once, then forked a second time, and just about the time we were thinking of turning around for lack of any signs telling us we were on the right path, we came to a brown plastic Forest Service sign that read “Foot Travel Welcome”. A faint trail went downhill to what was obviously the Buzzard Roost Rocks. This cluster of lichen-covered, weathered sandstone towers only covered a small area, but I still could have stayed all day and explored. We had to watch our step because one wrong move could have sent us falling at least 30 feet. We were running short on time so we didn’t venture to the bottom of the rocks.
North along the mountainside, maybe two hundred yards away, was another group of rock formations barely visible through the tress. We walked back uphill to the logging road then took the other fork which led to the other formations. I never told Joey there was a natural bridge here, and he was quite surprised.
I found one spot above the east end of the bridge where I was able to carefully slide down onto it. A cautious climb from there got me on top of the bridge. Just about the time I started to snap some photos from on top of the bridge, the sun emerged from behind the thin cloud cover to wreck my shots. The upwards scramble from the end of the bridge back on to the mountainside was the scarriest, and not something I would attempt if things were wet.
Back at the truck I snapped a picture of the parking area, for my own reference and anyone else’s. We took a different route going home; we drove the same dirt road north all the way to Highway 123, a distance of almost seven miles, then took the highway southwest to Clarksville where we got on the Interstate.
Since there are no published directions to Buzzard Roost Rocks that I know of, here are mine from the north:
1. Find the intersection of Forest Road 1802 with Highway 123. This intersection is approx. 4.6 miles west of Highway 7 at Sand Gap/Pelsor, or 6.3 miles east of the Big Piney Creek bridge at Fort Douglas.
2. Drive south on Forest road 1802 for 3.1 miles, where the road forks.
3. Take the left fork, which is Forest Road 1805, Maupin Flat Road.
4. Drive south on  Forest Road 1805, Maupin Flat Road for 3.5 miles. There will be a house on the right, and the logging road will be on the left. Next to the logging road is the gate and barn pictured below.
5. Park here and walk down the logging road approx. 1.5 miles. Buzzard Roost Rocks will be on the right side of the logging road. If you encounter any forks in the logging road, simply go right.