War Eagle – A Stream of Stories
Standing on the bridge and looking down on the stream you may not be aware of the history flowing beneath you. The stream starts at the top of a mountain and runs wild through the Ozark wilderness carrying stories and connecting generations. The stream is sacred to the locals. They know it as War Eagle Creek.
Painting of War Eagle bridge and mill by John Bell, used in the film "Bridge to War Eagle".
There are some Ozark folks who understand that War Eagle isn’t just a water source. It is a storyteller and one of the oldest stories it carries gives insight into its name. It is believed that the stream’s namesake was a young Cherokee
man who tragically lost his life while trying save the life of the women he loved after she had been kidnapped by a trapper. In a new documentary film, Bridge to War Eagle
, viewers discover meaningful stories carried by this beloved Ozark mountain stream. The film introduces the folks who use it and lovingly protect it intuitively knowing that viewers will fall in love the stream too. Created by the Emmy Award winning team of Larry Foley and Dale Carpenter, Bridge to War Eagle
is narrated by country music star Joe Nichols, who also has personal connections to War Eagle. It is an honest film that will leave you with a deeper understanding of the elements and stories that render the Ozark landscape and its people so endearing.
War Eagle Creek is a great float stream. Considered a Class 1 or easy level stream, a float trip six miles long will take about three to three and a half hours to paddle.
The creek is generally floatable from March to mid-June, depending on the amount of rain received in the region. Referred to as a “miniature version of the Buffalo National River” it is a scenic trip through unusual painted bluffs and flows north (other area creeks flow south).
Fishing is also great on War Eagle Creek with catfish, bream, perch and bass and stream-running walleye. The creek flows through Withrow Springs State Park which has three hiking trails, including the War Eagle trail, a trail that follows the bluff line and opens up to views of the surrounding valley and creek below. Near the trail is War Eagle Cave, which is home to several bat species. Deer and foxes, wild turkeys, groundhogs and bobcats, wood ducks, river otters, pileated and other woodpeckers and kingfishers are some of the wildlife that can be spotted near War Eagle Creek.
Stream of Stories-War Eagle Mill
War Eagle Mill
In 1832 the Blackburn family built a grist mill on War Eagle Creek. Enduring floods, a civil war and more than a century of challenges, War Eagle Mill secured its place in history
. Still in operation today, it is in fact the only working mill in Arkansas, and it is still powered by an eighteen-foot cypress waterwheel
which is believed to be the only undershot water wheel currently in operation in the United States.
Stream of Stories-War Eagle Bridge
The Little Golden Gate Bridge in the Town of Beaver, Arkansas. One of several historic bridges in Arkansas.
You can feel Ozark history come alive as you walk the wooden planks of a historic bridge and look out over the same views as people have done for more than a century. See War Eagle Creek for yourself. Just a short drive from the quaint mountain town of Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Take Highway 23 South. Visit the historic Town of Beaver.