Franklin County Highpoint Trip Report

three Areas on Hare Mtn, one area on Whiting Mtn, and two areas near Mountain Crest (2,400+ ft)

Dates: February 17-18, 2008
Author: Hans Haustein

After discussions online questioning the highpoint of Franklin County Arkansas being over 2,440 feet, I looked into it myself. Using the Digital Elevation Model (DEM) information for the Ozark National Forest that I downloaded from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies (CAST), I have located 6 areas in Franklin County that are 2,400 feet and above. These 6 areas are all shown the quad sheets of St Paul and Delaney.

Remembering my past trip to the presumed Highpoint on Hare Mountain, the area on top is relatively flat with no (40-foot) rise to the highpoint. I didn't really think of that fact when I visited the first time, so until it was brought up with a recent post I thought I had been to the highest point in Franklin County. On a Sunday afternoon and Monday I went on my quest to finish Franklin County armed with my new found points of interest.

The first area I visited was the largest of the 2400-foot contours in Franklin County, on Whiting Mountain. To reach the area, drive north from Cass on Highway 23 to Fly Gap and go west on West Fly Gap Road. The road was in really bad shape from recent rains so I parked just east of a natural gas pumping station and walked the rest of the way along roads to the highpoint. During good weather, it should be no problem to drive all the way to this highpoint. It is 2.3 miles from Highway 23 to Burrell Mountain Road that goes north off of West Fly Gap Road, then 0.8 mile on Burrell Mountain Road to where it crests and bisects the highpoint area. The area has had recent timbering activity. I did not have my hand-level with me but the southeast lobe of the highpoint area seemed the highest. This contour is the largest of all the Franklin County 2400 foot contours and seemed to have the most relief within the contour. The latitude and longitude for this area are WGS84 (35.7625° N, 93.9092° W).

The two western most areas are near Mountain Crest. There are several ways to reach Mountain Crest depending upon road conditions. From Mountain Crest, drive west 1.4 miles crossing into Crawford County and then back into Franklin County until you come to a crest with pullouts/roads on both sides. This is the northern of the two highpoints with latitude and longitude of WGS84 (35.7625° N, 93.9092° W). The other area is reached by going south along an old road to a fenced field with a gentle rise to the highpoint area, latitude and longitude of WGS84 (35.7602° N, 93.9105° W). I hand-leveled between the areas and the highpoint near the road crest is higher. There is still need to visit this contour, for the southern edge is in Crawford County and is one of its highpoint areas (there is also another liner for Crawford County just to the southwest of this contour). When I did Crawford County back in 2001, I had parked in the same place.

On Monday, I went and revisited the 1 original area plus the two new ones on Hare Mountain. I parked at the point where the Ozark Highlands Trail (OHT) Crosses East Fly Gap Road at Fly Gap, about 2.5 miles east of Highway 23. I hiked the OHT east for about 2.5 miles to where it crosses the southern end of Hare Mountain. There are some nice views to the South; you can see Mount Magazine on a clear day. I then bushwhacked north along the ridge line to the southern of the three areas at WGS84 (35.7596° N, 93.7571° W). It was relatively flat with little rise within the 2,400 foot contour. The next area to the north was much like the first area flat with little rise, WGS84 (35.7655° N, 93.7532° W). The northern most (the original area) is much like the other two areas, so there is definitely not a 40 foot rise within the 2,400 foot contour, WGS84 (35.7699° N, 93.7528° W). It is about 1.5 miles of bushwhacking from the OHT to the northern 2,400 foot area on Hare Mountain.

From my observations, I would bet that the area on Whiting Mountain is the actual highpoint of Franklin County. It definitely seemed to have the most rise within the 2,400 foot contour. So Arkansas is now complete for me once again.