Ouachita National Recreation Trail

MODERATE 16 reviews

Ouachita National Recreation Trail is a 217.1 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Roland, AR that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible year-round.

217.1 miles 36500 feet Point to Point

birding

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

rocky

Ouachita Trail is a point-to-point trail located near Roland, Arkansas. The trail is rated as moderate and primarily used for hiking.

17 days ago

I have done smaller sections around lake Maumelle and also the section between highway 7 and highway 298. I generally have the trail to myself which is a bonus for me (I ran into a pair of mountain bikers one time through the roughly 40 miles I have hiked). The majority of people, both in and out of Arkansas, are going to flock to the Ozarks in northern Arkansas which is a reason why you have the area to yourself quite often. It is also a clean trail as I have very rarely seen trash in it.

I enjoy the lake Maumelle section (east terminus is at the Pinnacle Mountain state park visitor center and runs around 22 miles along the north shore of the lake until it hits highway 10 before heading west to highway 9). The lake is the Little Rock water supply, so it has quite a few rules about what goes on around the lake. The water company owns it plus 9,000 more acres surrounding it (totaling 17,900 acres). Due to the rules, the land surrounding can be secluded and is a great place to see waterfowl including Eagles. There is no camping on the land surrounding the lake. There is a spur off the land to where a family has set up a campsite (Penny lane campsite). The spillway section is also neat when the lake is overflowing. There is also a neat beaver pond on the west side off highway 113.

Lake Ouachita is also a beautiful place. The section just north of the lake has several lookout points where you get good views of the lake. You can sometimes see the lake covered in fog with the tips of some islands poking through.

When you start at the highway trailheads, it is amazing how quickly the trees muffle out the roar of the cars. There are neat sections of forest all throughout the trail; too many to list! Where the trail intersects highway 300 the second time has the biggest pine tree I have ever seen. You will also find wildlife ponds in the middle of nowhere. Several areas will also have no cell service.

Several long sections of the trail will spend a lot of time on ridges so you get good views across the valleys to the next set of ridges (the Ouachitas are unique as they run east to west and are the highest points between the Rockies and Appalachians). There are several areas where you look up and down the mountain and do not see the top or bottom (trees night have something to do with this

backpacking
5 months ago

Very over growing in places, lots of trees on the trail. A few new cabins which is nice. Needs water tanks on trail in the summer, some parts you can't get water for 20 miles. Beautiful, difficult, and secluded. I didn't pass anyone and I hiked parts of it for 4 days.

6 months ago

My brother and I are about 1/3 of the way through our goal of completing the whole trail in 23 mile segments. Started in Talimena State Park and headed East. It has been an awesome experience with varied terrain so far. I would definitely recommend this trail.

7 months ago

Pretty gnarly trail! My dog and I loved it!

7 months ago

hiked from highway 9 to highway 7. around 32 miles in 3 days taking it easy. its a tough trail but the views are amazing. if your new to backpacking and want a trail worth the walk this is a great start.

hiking
10 months ago

The Old Military Road / Boardstand Path/ Ouachita Mountain Trail collectively form a looped hike of about 23 miles, overlapping with many other routes such as the Choctaw Nation Trail and Panorama Vista, through Talimena State Park—and is argued to be the best hike through the hills of Oklahoma. There are a couple instances towards the end that can be confusing: during the final decent to Talihina State Park, there are intermittent yellow blazes because the INT criss-crosses the Ouachita trail several times, but will close on its self where the Ouachita Trail intersects the Old Military Trail. All state park offices were closed except for central location; we saw no water sources on the route, mostly overcast and cold with strong winds in more open areas/higher elevation. Took us about 10 hours to complete. Not the best scenery in the winter, of course, but still very enjoyable.

camping
1 year ago

I went with my youngest teenage son and one of his friends on a three-day, 12 mile round trip hike with two nights of camping. They loved it. The boys hammock camped and I did the tent. The weather was warm during the day but fine in the evening. The trail quality was marginal, but enjoyable enough with the frequently creeks and waterfalls to keep the boys interested. We parked the car at the lot at Foran Gap. Hiked three miles east and camped. Next day three miles back to the car for a lunch and refuel. Then hiked three miles east and camped in a grove of pine trees. And then 3 miles back the following day. The wind was ferocious the second night but caused no issue.

hiking
1 year ago

I have hiked this trail within the boundaries of Pinnacle Mtn State Park. I cannot locate the trailhead once I leave the Park and end up at Hwy 300. I have tried the area of Natural Steps. What is the landmark or building I need to locate to find trailhead from state park. If I could avoid walking alongside the not so pedestrian friendly HWY 300, pls provide.

AS FOR the part of Ouchaita trail within the state park, the trail sometimes has slight feel of entering a slight forested area (need to finish complete to understand). GOOD PAIR OF HIKING SHOES AND STRONG ANKLES NEEDED.

1 year ago

Did a short section of this beautiful trail from hwy 9 to the Nancy mountain shelter. Great trek! Going to do from mena to lake sylvia this fall cant wait. If the rest of the trail is like this section it's going to be great!

hiking
1 year ago

My son and I started at the westernmost point on the trail in oklahoma and hiked 45 miles in 3 days to the state line where we had arranged for someone to pick us up and take us back to our car. Very rugged. Very remote. Not much water, but what a great adventure.

1 year ago

My friends and I did three days on this trail And covered 22 miles. We got caught in a rainstorm on top of one of the Bluffs. However upon reaching the shelter we were very much safe from the storm. We also had quite a bit of fog during the hike. Made us all feel like we were walking through a enchanted Forest. definitely look for water holes on a map before hand and plan accordingly. Fantastic trail without very much traffic. We did not see another person the entire time.

2 years ago

My wife and I and another couple attempted a small portion of this trail in the fall. I do not recommend doing this trail when there are a lot of leaves on the ground. The trail has A LOT of rocks that are spaced out just far enough to cause a lot of ankle twisting. This is probably easy enough to manage during the spring and summer but during the fall the leaves completely cover the rocks, making it impossible to know exactly where they are. It wasn't so bad for me and my size 13 feet, however the others in my party had issues.

There were not a lot of watering holes when we went, though it was a dry summer for the region and this may not always be an issue. We found water once a day, luckily at our campsite.

We called the hike short by a night due to the general fatigue and sourness of managing the rocks and ankle twisting.

The link I provided from Backpacker.com, I believe is the section we hiked.

camping
3 years ago

It's been a while but the camping and hiking are a must do for anyone who loves the outdoors.

hiking
3 years ago

i have done sections of this trail and plan on doing more. the first section i did was from pinnical MT to 300 then on another trip i did 300 to 113. i want to out and do the 113 to 9. there are a large number of geocaches on this stretch and have gotten approval to add more for the next 70 miles of trail. cant wait to get out and do an overnight on the section from 9 to a cache called a view from the top.

hiking
4 years ago

Arkansas' longest trail, it spills 50 miles into Oklahoma. Runs east west along ridges of the Ouachita (wash-it-taw).
The trail can be hiked over several week ends or day hikes. A schedule to do this can be found at the Ozark Society website.
Get Tim Ernst's trail guide for planning your hikes.

hiking
5 years ago

Hiking the 10 miles on the Ouachita National Recreation Trail in the hot Arkansas heat with really only 3 hours of water is not a smart thing to do. But it was quiet and no one was on the trail except for one lone runner I encounter on the way back. the Ouachita just kept luring me to go "just a bit further."

From Pinnacle Mountain State Park, it's fairly easy to pick up the trail off the road (Arkansas Hwy 300) off to the left after crossing 2 bridges. But it was a pleasant hike that I would've liked to have last longer had I taken more water and had more time - two of the most common challenges. Now having a Camelbak Fourteener hydration pack, with more than twice the water-carrying capacity of my previous pack, I would love to be able to return just to put in some distance. Fortunately, there is a reservoir close by and so I was able to sink my hydrated body into its waiting arms on the way back. Not really enough to do anything about hydration, but it felt awfully good.