Cadron Creek: “Looking Back”

Reprinted here by special permission of the author, Cindy Beckman, a retired Conway High School history teacher who writes local history.

Living in the center of the Natural State, Arkansans have a variety of opportunities to experience the great outdoors. Here in Faulkner County, there were many places to camp, hike, canoe, fish and swim in the summers of yesteryear as well as today.

The Cadron Creek has always been an outdoor destination for Faulkner County residents. The multiple forks and tributaries provided bathing and drinking water for early settlers.

Generations have swum in it, fished in it and camped by it. Others have paddled it in boats or canoes. And in the 1880s, residents in northern Faulkner County said there were healing properties in the springs that ran into the creek there.

When I was growing up, I would often beg to go on a summer vacation somewhere. Summers were a very busy time at work for my parents, so we didn’t go on vacation very often.

Instead, my Dad responded to my pleas by jokingly offering to take us to Pinnacle Springs located west of Guy.

We went there once when I was younger and it wasn’t much more than a swimming hole next to an old bridge. I was not impressed.

But apparently in the 1880s, Pinnacle Springs was a booming, thriving place. It was thought that the springs coming out of the rocks above the Cadron Creek there had properties that would heal all sorts of ailments. A booming town with hotels and businesses grew up at Pinnacle Springs to cater to a growing number of people who came there to swim in the water or drink it.

The boom only lasted about a decade as it was eventually realized that maybe the waters didn’t exactly live up to the promises. People moved away and most of the buildings either burned or were torn down so the material could be used to build elsewhere. There are a few remnants of the town still there if you know where to look.

Pinnacle Springs later got a reputation for being a great place to “put in” if you wanted to float the Cadron. The Cadron is considered to be one of the better canoeing streams in Arkansas.

The three-mile section between Pinnacle Springs and the Highway 65 Bridge has some of the most beautiful scenery you will ever come across in Arkansas.

On one particular trip through this section, my husband said he saw a golden colored mountain lion perched high on the bluffs.

This was said to be a very rare sighting since these animals reportedly aren’t found around this area! (By the way, a few years later, we saw another one chase some deer through a field across from the church parking lot while we were standing there after Easter services.)

This section of the Cadron can also give you a ride you will remember for the rest of your life. More than once, I have heard stories of people who tried to float this part of the Cadron in the spring, only to end up walking out because they capsized. The waters run very fast after the spring rains and the winding creek can end up overflowing its banks and flowing through the trees.

My husband and I got married on Memorial Day weekend in 1989. A couple of weeks before our wedding, he and his friend, Tim, decided to float the Cadron.

They put in at Pinnacle Springs but soon realized that the water was running way too fast. It took them through the trees and their canoe wrapped around a tree. They finally made it out of the rushing waters to land but encountered a bit of wildlife (snakes) on the way.

From Gravesville to the Arkansas River, the Cadron runs about sixty-six miles. Another good place to “put in” besides Pinnacle is the Highway 65 Bridge. This float to the Highway 285 Bridge is nearly ten miles and is also a popular place for fishermen. There are some good rapids and swimming holes in this section.

The Cadron has provided for Faulkner County residents since the first settlers came here. It has been a source of water and a place for recreation for generations. While it did not prove to have significant healing properties, it still provides many with rest and relaxation after a long week.

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