Ouachita National Forest
This trail provides several glimpses of the spectacular Little Missouri River, a designated wild and scenic river. Cascading waterfalls, stately hardwoods, old-growth pine stands, wildlife, and seasonal leaf colors are just a few of the natural delights awaiting hikers. The section of trail that travels downstream (4.0 miles) through an area known as Winding Stairs, features breathtaking views of the forest, river, and large novaculite rock outcrops. This segment of the trail is probably the most popular trail on the Ouachita National Forest. It is rated "most difficult" and includes a river crossing.
The segment of the trail which travels upstream to the Little Missouri Falls (6.3 miles) is also very popular. This section is fairly level and includes two river crossings.
Use caution when crossing streams during periods of high water. This trail has many water crossings. There is only one footbridge, which is located over Blaylock Creek.
This trail is fairly level with a few steep inclines. It crosses the Little Missouri River eight times and Crooked, Brier, Long, and Blaylock creeks once. Hikers should be careful when crossing streams. Rocks in streams can be slick and high water is dangerous after rain storms.
Surrounding Areas: Camp, picnic and swim at Albert Pike Recreation Area. Enjoy the solitude and the hunting opportunities of Caney Creek Wildlife Management Area. For more trail adventure try Athens-Big Fork or Eagle Rock Loop hiking trails.
Length: 16 miles, one way.
Directions: The trail can be accessed at the Little Missouri Falls Recreation Area and Albert Pike Recreation Area. Developed trailheads are located at Forest Service Road 25 or 106.
Trail Information: The trail is unsurfaced with a few steep changes in grade. Drinking water available at Albert Pike Recreation Area. Travel time is about 10-12 hours one-way. The trail is marked with white rectangles.
Difficulty Level: More difficult.
Recommended Season: Summer, fall and winter.
Safety: Treat all stream water before drinking.
Restrictions: This trail is restricted to hiking and nonmotorized vehicles. Horses are welcome on the Viles Branch Equestrian Trail.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication