Eagle Rock Loop is a 25.2 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Caddo Gap, AR that features a waterfall and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, fishing, and backpacking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
Directions from Glenwood area: There are 5 trailheads. (1.) Albert Pike Recreation Area off Highway 369. ( 2.) Little Missouri Falls on Forest Road 25. (3.) 4 miles west of Little Missouri Falls on Forest Road 25. (4. &5.) east of Bard Springs Recreation Area on Forest Road 106.
Wow, such an incredible trail. We went clockwise around the trail starting in the Northwestern corner. The trail is full of streams and water crossings. I only had to cross wet twice. Blazes are plentiful, just make sure you pay attention it's easy to get off trail on accident. We hiked the hard mountainous section last. Do not underestimate the difficulty of it. There are at least 5 significant climbs, we are both in good shape and had to take numerous breaks. Next time I may do the trail counterclockwise to knock out the hard part on day one. The rest of the trail is a breeze.
This trail is amazing! There is so much variety in scenery and surroundings. It is a challenge especially the Athens Big Fork section, but that is also what makes it fun. Finished the loop in 2 days. Hiked this the Friday/Sat. after Thanksgiving and the weather was perfect - mid 50s during day and low 40s at night. The only trouble we had was that some side trails were not clearly marked. Took a wrong turn on a trail that led to a parking lot, another wrong turn on an ATV trail, and one more wrong turn onto a side trail. I suppose if we were more meticulous about looking at the map, or had sinked up our phone with an AllTrails map, we may have avoided some of these issus. But either way, I don't know why the paths couldn't have been marked more clearly. All-in-all was a loving trip!
Just wondering if anyone has hiked this towards the end of December. If you have, and you could share your experience with me, I would really appreciate it!
Everything I've read about this loop says "Not for beginners" or "Experienced hikers only". I understand now what they meant. This was my first backpacking trip and I definitely chose a challenge. I was going to give myself 3 and a half days, but the rain on day 3 encouraged me to finish up the last 10 miles of the loop to avoid camping in the rain that night. Started at Albert Pike at 8:00am on 11/5 headed counter clockwise and finished at 2:30pm on 11/7. This was probably not the smartest trip I could've done not only as my first but solo as well. I do like a good challenge though. Day one was a very enjoyable 7.5 miles. i did end up pushing myself a little harder than I should've and found out the next morning I had done some minor damage to my left knee and hip. This inevitably made day 2 a beating going up and down the 6 climbs. I was going to stop at Blaylock after the 4th up and down but decided to barrel through to Eagle Rock Vista to camp for the night. I'm glad I did. I had the whole mountain to myself that night. Rain started about 3 or 4 in the morning so I had a wet camp breakdown and was already pretty wet by the time I hit the trail. It did not stop raining for the 6 hours I hiked that day. I was originally planning on breaking the last southside leg up into 2 days but decided to skip camping in the rain that night and hauled ass to the finish line back at Albert Pike. I did find a sweet cave around noon to dry off in for a second. My mom and aunt dropped me off and were coming to pick me up, but they weren't planning on being there till the next day, so I hitchhiked with a lovely older couple that was out driving around to Glenwood to stay in a motel that night. It was painful and scary at points but I'm glad I got to prove to myself that I could do this. I will definitely train a little better for next time and get my pack weight down as well.
Amazing trail. I think we let our egos overtake our bodies though. The 6 ridges are tough, and not for the easily discouraged. We left out on 11/8 @ 1:30pm going counterclockwise from Little Missouri Falls Trailhead. Got back 11/10 @ 3:30pm. Very Enjoyable trail, lots of campsites. Although not all were Hammock friendly. Plenty of good water sources. I will definitely give myself more time on the next hike here, and start at the ABF/LMT trailhead to get the ridges out of the way and to be able to camp at Eagle Rock Vista.
This was my first time on this trail (first time backpacking ever). My oldest son were invited by a good friend of mine and his son. The trails were marked pretty good (never got lost even though we started our hike after dark). Planning on a second trip soon. The scenery was beautiful!
So this is my 5th Time to hike this trail... I have done it in 2 days, 3 days, and 4 days... This time we hiked it in 24 hours as a tribute to my good friend, Brian Head who died in the mountains of Arizona last year... This was an incredible experience that added an entirely new element of difficulty and danger. We started at Little Missouri Falls and hiked or (ran) counter clockwise. We met a lot of great people on the trail and enjoyed visiting in different campsites with people hiking the trail... One of them being Company Owner of Hungry Hikers food. Great food for backpacking ( www.hungryhikers.com) Also ran into Roger Meadows who has hiked all over the world! Roberto and his crew from Houston welcomed us into their camp for fire and snacks as well. Love the backpacking community! So we hiked 20 miles before laying our heads down on the ground (no tent or hammock). We slept from 3:30 am to 6am when we got up to finish the beast... We finished at 24 hours to the minute. Literally having to dig deep with everything in us to make it up to The Falls for the Finish!!! As always my phone number will be at the bottom feel free to text or call me with any questions about the trail... Also here is a video of our Tribute Hike...https://vimeo.com/190750588 you can copy and paste the link. Check out my other reviews below of other times. Chris Gee 405-201-5869 https://www.facebook.com/chrisgee28
Was definitely a challenging trail at points, especially the west section, but the scenery outweighed it in my opinion. We technically didn't stay true because we lost the trail between Little Missouri Falls and Albert Pike and had to take road 512 to Albert Pike and corrected from there. Going to try again in spring and stay true. Make it a three day to really enjoy it.
Just finished this trail with my buddy for the second time. First time started Friday at 5pm and finished Sunday at 2pm with my fourteen year old daughter. This weekend we finished in 17 hours. Started at 0815 and finished at 0100. We started at Upper Little Missouri Trailhead where the Athens Big Fork and Little Missouri Trail meet. We prefer getting the peaks out the way first, therefore leaving the Winding Stairs area and beautiful water crossings and smoother terrain for the second half. Winding Stairs and Little Missouri are gorgeous. Many hike in for a nice overnight with great star gazing opportunities at Winding Stairs. This trail is pretty difficult due to terrain. Even the open trails are fairly rocky with good stability needed. The peaks are up and down, no real switch backs like other mountain ranges (Snowmass, Co). There is plenty of water available. 1-2 liters will be plenty to carry with a filter. Water is clear with little to no sediment. White Blazes are plenty and easy to navigate. Look carefully at some river crossings. Recommend being in decent condition for pleasant experience.
I have hiked this trail four times now you can see my other reviews below. I just finished my fourth hike a few weeks ago it was absolutely incredible!!!! We did it in four days I've also done it in three days in the past but this time I wanted a personal challenge so a buddy and I are going to begin at little Missouri falls at 11am and complete the hike within 24 hours. Our plan is to hike until midnight sleep until about 4 AM then get up and finish by 11 AM. I will definitely post a review after we are finished with the 24 hour hike to let you know how it went. Again just like in my previous post I love helping people through the process of this hike so feel free to call me or text me for any tips 405-201-5869. Follow me on Facebook also chrisgee28
Beautiful trail. Did it back in early September. We went clockwise from a parking lot near Little Missouri Falls. Took two nights and really enjoyed ourselves. We started where we did because we were concerned about water levels at the time -- but we able to cross no problem with water shoes. There are some spots where the trail is difficult to find/follow when you cross water, so be aware of that. There are lots and lots of blazers along most of the trail, so make sure you are still seeing them! Around Albert Pike, there's a spot that it's really easy to lose the trail - you'll come out of the woods, cross a road, and naturally think you should directly head back into the woods. You'll do that and might not find the trail immediately -- but it is there! Head towards the left once you've crossed back into the woods after the road to find the blaze. Don't come back out/cross the bridge -- just keep looking for blazes.
Tick spray and make sure if you bring dogs they are treated for ticks! There were a lot when we went. All in all, a beautiful and challenging experience!
This trail is fabulous! We started Monday, 10/17/16, at the Upper Little Missouri trailhead going counterclockwise. This was a good call because we got the more rigorous climbs out of the way. Day one was short, we hiked 5 miles to the West Blaylock trailhead and camped. Next day we saw no people and made it to Albert Pike but the entire recreation area was closed, like a ghost town, camping not allowed, so we found a flat spot just outside the Albert Pike day use sites, right by the water, to camp...and hoped it didn't rain since the area has a history of deadly flash floods! Next day we finished the loop. This trail is gorgeous, lots of water available so we thankfully never had to carry more than 1 liter each. I noticed you never have to hike more than about a mile to get to a good camping spot...most of which have fire pits, if you're into that. The loop has a variety of terrain, lots of water crossings/rock hopping (water shoes are nice but we crossed most in bare feet), strenuous climbs, spiders, squirrels, deer, frogs, and one black snake! Damn, we did not meet the Beagle!! We encountered fallen trees blocking parts of the trail but scanning for blazes in the direction you're traveling will keep you on track. This trail was a lot harder than I expected but well worth it!
The scenery was awesome!!! One spot around winding stairs we had a little trouble finding the blazes due to some recent flooding... camped on eagle rock... perfect campsite... really had a blast... started Friday morning and ended Saturday night.... we were super tired, I would advise to have water shoes to change into on a couple of spots so you can keep dry feet... the water was low in most spots but where it was up it was tough to cross
Great trail. Beautiful scenery. Total carthisis while on the trail.
Despite not having been backpacking or camping in over 25 years, a close friend and I decided that the Eagle Rock Loop was a great place to get back into it.
We drove up from Houston on Friday and arrived about 3pm. We had been watching the forecast carefully and had initial plans to go counter clockwise starting at the Little Missouri Falls Trailhead. Unfortunately rain, possibly heavy rain had been forecast and we decided that it might be best to do the deeper crossings before rain came in, so we started at the Winding Stairs trailhead and went clockwise.
Between the trailhead and winding stairs there had been a lot of high water recently with the trail heavily obscured in run of from the high water. Add that to our VERY rusty map reading skills and we decided to cross over the river too early and follow the other bank. Prior to the bend before winding stairs we got straightened out and crossed back over to the proper side of the river and found the path again. Winding stairs was absolutely beautiful late in the day. We made the crossing at the end of winding stairs and set up camp for the night. Lots of well developed sites, we chose on that was clear and had a nice fire ring near the water. As the sun set the warmth was sucked out of the world and it dropped into the low 30s. We took some time starting a fire as there had been snow a few days before and everything was very wet. Regardless this first night had us feeling very elated and alive.
The second day started off with clouds slowly coming in. We progressed down the trail often having areas covered with runoff material from the prior high water, sometimes piles of timber that were over 8 feet tall. Just prior to the crossing at Viles branch we stopped at about 10am and caught several trout though we released everything due to bad timing to stop and eat or stay longer. There was a lot of overgrowth initially starting up Viles Branch. As we progressed up the valley it began to rain steadily. With the numerous little creek crossings we were often rock hopping rather than switching to water shoes. About the third one I took a little jump, slipped and landed full force on the corner of a rock directly with my full body weight. The point of impact was my left shin bone, almost exactly where I had fractured it a year and a half prior. Needless to say I was a lot more careful and in a fair bit of pain.
As the day wore on the rain grew heavier, and the turn up the Athens Big Fork and the climbs were brutal. Cloud cover came in very low and we quickly found ourselves in the clouds, with rain, fogginess and dropping temperatures. After climbing several ridges and passing Eagle Rock Vista we had begun shivering and having real trouble, and settled into the next valley with a creek to camp by 4pm. As we set up camp we both huddled in our tents trying to warm up. After 2.5 hours we were warmed up and in dry clothes, but realized that between the weather, temperature and my painful and heavily swollen left leg we were needing to finish the trip. No fire this night either, rain all night long with everything obscured by clouds.
Wake up on days 3 we agreed to hump it out, we estimated about 16-17 miles to get to the truck. After eating we began climbing and descending ridges in ankle deep mud with temps still in the 40s to low 50s. Our gear had soaked massive amounts of water and packs were extremely heavy.
Over the next 8 hours we operated in a numb state of mind just pushing forward with everything we had, my left leg had swollen to the point that I knew I had fractured my tibia again. While the crossings on the Little Missouri were not deep, they were very treacherous with huge amounts of rapidly flowing water. We managed the ~16 miles to Albert Pike, with most water crossings just done in our boots/trail shoes rather than changing to water shoes.
I recall sitting down, and eating a large piece of summer sausage like an apple with my buddy. I had taken the lead and pushed him hard, he was having a lot more trouble than I was. Fortunately another gentleman was heading out and my buddy flagged him down for a ride to our truck to cover the last mile or so.
The lessons learned from this is be wary of over confidence. We were in good to great shape but we got our butts kicked. Doing about 25 miles in mixed terrain, adverse weather, and carrying too much in 16 hours of hiking time was a bit much for amateurs. I carried too much, and being 230+ and 6'+ i had to carry larger sleeping bag an tent, but even then I carried too much. I had a 42lb pack to start, and after water soak was about 70lbs. Doing that on a fractured leg for 16 miles was torture. Future trips have had less clothing, no cotton clothing, more calorie dense food, and some gear left out that was less essential.
All this being said, this was one of the greatest vacations of my life. I am eager to return, not to do the whole loop, but I want