This is a unique, mostly unmanaged class-4 out-and-back trail that follows a stream bed with slick and loose footing for most of the way. Rock scrambling and climbing is required after the first mile. The trail gets progressively harder the further you go. Serious injuries can occur due to wet, slick, and loose footing. No pets or children.
No cell service at any point.
The beginning of the trail starts at Kyle's Landing campground by sharing Buffalo River Trail
, Old River Trail, and Steele Creek Trail.
This route starts by following the ORT which cuts the corner off the BRT trail. Both options are similar. The BRT may be a bit more rocky and less used.
Once you get to the creek bed, the trails split with a post to mark the trails. From here the trail follows the creek generally staying to one side or the other for a while. But you'll cross the creek multiple times and eventually end up walking up the creek bed in many places.
There are many small waterfalls in the creek bed. And two distinct shallow caves.
After a while, you'll come to a large rock wall 40-70 feet tall that curves around and forms the left side of the creek bed for 40 yards or more. After this, the trail becomes less defined and gets more technical. In many places, rock scrambling and class-4 edging around rock features are required to make progress. The surfaces are all slime-covered and extremely slick.
At one point you'll come to a dead-end to the creek bed and be facing a very large rock wall on all three sides. This is where you should stop and turn back if you have had any problems up to this point.
Facing the dead-end, to your right, there is a set of ropes tied to trees that go straight up 80 feet or so to the impressive cave feature above. If you notice you haven't seen the eye of the needle yet. The trail follows the ropes up to the cave and then around the edge over the creek bed to a square hole about 4 feet tall and 10 feet wide exiting out the south side of the dead-end a few dozen feet over the creek bed. From here the trail goes down to the creek and after one more bend of rock scrambling and hopping boulders, the eye of the needle will reveal itself.
On the return, there is a tendency to stay high on the creek bed. This is not a good option. Stay low near the creek bed and avoid the loose dirt and the dangerous down climbing rock wall.