Ouachita National Forest

Hiking - Ouachita National Recreation Trail

This is the longest trail in the Ouachita National Forest spanning 236 miles across its entire length. In the west, the trail begins at Talimena State Park on U.S. Hwy. 271 near Talihina, Oklahoma. The eastern boundary is south of Perryville, Arkansas on Hwy. 9. Another 32 miles of trail, located on private and other public lands, extends to Pinnacle Mountain State Park, 15 miles west of Little Rock, Arkansas. Elevations range from 600 to 2,600 feet as the trail passes through forested mountains, across sweeping valleys and near clear-running streams. Spur trails connect to various recreation areas and points of interest. Numerous road crossings and access points provide opportunities for point to point hikes of various distances. For more information, you may purchase a detailed map at all Ouachita National Forest offices.

The 50+ mile section from US Hwy 71 east to State Hwy 27 is opened to mountain bikes and hikers. All other sections are hiking only. After much input and consideration, the Forest Service decided to open this 50+ mile stretch and evaluate user interaction and trail effect for 2 years, beginning August 1997.

Other Opportunities: Recreation areas adjoining the trail are: Horsethief Springs Picnic Area, Winding Stair Campground, Queen Wilhelmina State Park, Big Brushy, Iron Springs Recreation Area and Lake Sylvia Recreation Area.

Length: 192 miles.

Directions: There are many developed and undeveloped access points across the forest. These are identified on the Ouachita National Recreation Trail map.

Trail Information: The trail is unsurfaced. Water is scarce on many portions of the trail during dry periods.

Site Amenities: Recreation areas are located along the trail. Facilities may include drinking water, campgrounds, swimming areas, picnic areas, and other trails. Trail shelters are available for overnight use along the segment between Highway 7 and Highway 27.

Difficulty Level: Various.

Safety: Treat water from lakes and streams before drinking. Bear are present in some areas, use precautions.

Requirements: Pack It in, pack it out. This trail is open to foot traffic only. Horses, pack animals, mountain bikes and vehicles are prohibited. Portions of the trail that cross wilderness areas have special qualities and restrictions. To preserve the trail's beauty, please camp at least 100 feet from the trail.

Recommended Seasons: The trail is open year round but is exceptionally pleasant during the spring, fall, and winter.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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