Sweden Falls is a fairly high waterfall located in the Sweden Creek Natural Area near Kingston, AR. The falls are 80 feet in height. This makes it the 8th highest waterfall in Arkansas.
To reach Sweden Falls you take County Road 9 to the south off of State Highway 21 between Kingston and Ponca. The road to the area is fairly rough so a high clearance vehicle is recommended. No need for four wheel drive on this road. Just be aware that in this rocky terrain the roads are extremely bumpy slow speeds are the order of the day when trying to reach the trailhead.
It was a pleasant surprise to find a new gravel parking area marked with cables just a few hundred feet further up the road from the gate where people started the hike in the past. This lot is level and is in great shape. The trail is well marked from this spot and is fairly well used so it shouldn’t be a problem staying on the trail.
Once you leave the parking lot the trail is downhill for the most part. The first thing you will encounter is that the trail intersects the old trail coming down from the gate you passed on the road in. Stay to the left here and continue downhill. After a short distance you will encounter and old home place that is in fairly decent condition for abandoned buildings. Below are a few photos of what you’ll see there.
After exploring here continue down the trail a short distance and the trail will fork. The trail to the left leads to the top of the falls and the trail to the right descends to the bottom of the falls along the bluff line. We took the trail to the bottom of the falls first. You will have to scramble over and around some rocks, and the water seeping from the side of the bluff will be dripping down from above. In spite of this the trail is not difficult and you won’t get too wet. Below are a few photos from the lower trail.
The trail ends at the falls and you are looking up 80′ to where the water flows over the rock ledge at the top and crashes onto the rocks below. You can walk behind the waterfall under a rock overhang that was almost certainly used by Native Americans for shelter when they inhabited this area.
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After you explore around the bottom of the falls you can now head out the way you came. Follow the trail back up to where the trail splits off. You can continue out to the parking area. However, I highly recommend you hike the trail along the top of the bluff to the top of the falls. There are some amazing views of the surrounding area and the bluffs that run along beside Sweden Creek.
Once you get to the top you will be treated to amazing views of Sweden Falls. Below are a few shots for the top area of the falls.
Please be careful in this area as the rocks can be slick if they are wet from a rain. The bottom of the creek is very slick when the water is running too. There are no safety rails so be sure and keep a close eye on children.
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Now you can start the hike back to the parking area. Just follow the trail back along the bluff line until you intersect with the main trail then start your hike uphill back to the parking area. The trail from the parking area to the falls is around 1.5 miles. Hiking to the top of the falls will add around 1/2 mile to that. My GPS said 2.3 miles but there was some walking around exploring so I’m going to say 2 miles total. Below I have added the GPS track and elevation graph from my GPS to give you an idea of the track and elevation change associated with this hike.
I would recommend this hike for those looking for a fairly easy hike to see a waterfall. We saw several people with children on the hike and I would say it is kid-friendly.
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