Directions to the Friends Trail Loop Trailhead
The Friends Trail Loop is a popular 1.5-mile hike at Beavers Bend State Park in Broken Bow. From Highway 259, you will turn onto 259A. The trailhead begins from a parking lot just beyond the dam. You will turn right on Beavers Bend road just before you go over the dam and will see the parking lot about a 0.1 mile down the road on the right.
Parking near the Friends Trail Loop Trailhead
Parking is $10 and can be paid by phone – if you have service. As a heads up, most of us had very sporadic service while we were there. If you are concerned, you can purchase parking in advance from the Beavers Bend State Park website.
Note that there are no bathrooms at the trailhead nor along the way.
Further, there was no overview map at the trailhead which was a first for me. There were both orange and blue markers at the beginning and along the way, we sometimes saw orange and sometimes blue. The trail was straightforward, but I was very surprised at how sparse the trail makers were along the way.
For this article, I tried to find the correct trail marker color for you, and I cannot even find the trail on any Beavers Bend State Park map, let alone color Suffice it to say, it’s not well-
I have AllTrails Pro, but I had trouble downloading the map in advance, and no service when we got there. Fortunately, Bill was able to use Google Maps on his phone.
As you begin, you cross a small footbridge and can go to the left or to the right. The trail is a loop, so there is no wrong decision.
If you start to the left, you will get quickly to the water and walk along that. If you go to the right, you will go up a very steep hill and do the first half of the hike in the woods.
We went to the left, and after about a quarter of a mile, arrived to the Mountain Fork River where the water rushed over large boulders in a series of mini-waterfalls. It is very scenic and beautiful.
The trail is well-traversed, but you will have ample opportunities to take photos along the river without people in them.
Continuing along the river, you will eventually get to a narrow path that can be slick. Make sure to watch your step over tree roots, rocks, and mud if it’s recently rained as it had when we took our hike.
You will start to ascend along the river and eventually get to the top of the hill where you will have the best view of the hike. Looking down from the cliff, you will see a waterfall below you. If you are lucky enough, you can sit on a bench overlooking the view.
As you walk from the river, you have a steep climb up a hill through the woods. The rest of the hike is a pretty walk through the trees. You will descend partially down the hill and then arrive to more flat terrain and then descend once again to the eventual footbridge and parking lot.
AllTrails estimated this at about 43 minutes, but with a large group with ages 7 to 77, we found that it took closer to an hour and a half. We stopped and took pictures several times along the river and then when we took several rest breaks as we ascended the hill from the river.