Indian Rockhouse, Marion County, Arkansas
Photos by Jay Wilbur
NABSQNO 15S-537900-3994310. Indian Rockhouse is a major attraction of the Buffalo Point area in the Buffalo National River complex. This huge rock shelter, located on a south-facing bank of Panther Creek, must have been the luxury abode for the Paleo-Indians that apparently inhabited it as much as 10,000 years ago. In addition to providing a large, cool, flat area for their camps, there is a natural spring with significant flow in the back of the cave. Indoor running water!
The geology of Indian Rockhouse is equally interesting. The shelter comprises three different middle Ordovician formations. The base of the cave is St. Peter sandstone and the roof is Plattin limestone. The layer of softer Joachim dolomite between these two formations has been almost completely eroded away to form the cavity. Remnants of the Joachim layer still cover the floor of the recess. At the edge of the shelter a cave natural arch has formed in the Plattin limestone. It has a span of about 35 feet.
Access to this remarkable landform is via a well maintained loop trail about 4 miles in length. Many other points of interest are found along this trail, including another cave natural arch, NABSQNO 15S-538741-3993963, which is called "small cave" on the trail maps.