White Rock Loop Trail is a 12.7 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Ozark, Arkansas that features a lake and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
This loop trail connects two of the more popular Forest Service rec. areas: Shores Lake and White Rock Mountain. It offers an excellent weekend hike up a beautiful creek drainage to the top of spectacular White Rock Mountain, and returns via another creek drainage. Camping is open along the trail.
First, this is supposed to be the White Rock SHORE Loop trail. The White Rock RIM trail has signs pointing to it starting at the bottom of the mountain labelled White Rock and White Rock Loop Trail. If you follow the signs, you will end up at the wrong trailhead, and you better have a paper map to follow because you won't have the data service to double check the location online This trail starts at the (GIANT) primitive camp near the recreation area, not 10 miles up the road by the cabins. Sorry for being dumb about that, but I'm used to much clearer signage for trailheads.
Second, this was not a lightly trafficked trail. It might have just been that we chose a busy weekend, but despite only hiking about a quarter of the trail we encountered about 2 dozen people on it including 2 families with small children and a tour group.
Trail fee was unexpected and $3 per vehicle. This would probably be a much better hike in the spring when there is water coming down the mountain and a lake rather than mud puddles. The scenery was promising enough that we're thinking of returning in the spring to see if it's actually nice, but we'll see......
It was VERY VERY hard and very dangerous in spots.
First half of the loop was nice. Second half was not scenic and very rugged. I would not recommend this trip.
This was a nice trail even in mid January. Well marked trail. No office near trail head. There is a rim trail on White Rock Mtn. It is in the Ozark National forest. Made a night out of the trail, hiking the east side the first evening, up to White Rock Mountain, then camping on the west side. The previously used camp sites on the west side are a little better, more level, and more common. The west side has more creek crossings and is a more gradual climb, versus the varied east side until a mile from White Rock mtn, it gets steep. Can be done as a day hike. Self pay, park is open 10-6, $5 a night if on the trail, $8-12 a night for primitive sights
I'm not sure where my link in the previous comment went, so here is it again for the 1080P videos of the waterfall on the west loop. I also want to add that it would probably be considered strenuous for most people, so don't just go in recklessly. You can see my review below for more information on the trail itself.
I posted a link to an HD (1080P) video of the waterfall on the west side of the loop. We were there on Labor Day weekend of 2015 so it was about 90 degrees and it hadn't rained in a few days (beggers can't be choosers). There were some great views all around, but that trail is really steep for the temperatures we were trying to do it at and the horse flies were insane (probably because we were sweating so much). Every five feet of some of the trail had a spider webs that were impassible without taking them down (we used trekking poles - also we were the first out in the morning try to avoid the heat). I would definitely recommend this on a cold to cool day after some rain.
A friend and I did this trail in late November. We hiked to White Rock on the east side which is a terrible hike in my opinion. Not much scenery and some pretty tough uphill towards the end of the 7 or so mile hike to White Rock. I'd recommend taking the shorter, more scenic, west side of the loop and plan to spend some time at White Rock and the rim trail. The west side has more than its fair share of uphill but it seemed to mostly be gradual.
Backpacked up to White Rock Mtn. via the west side loop in mid-October. This side very scenic and had several nice stream crossings. After crossing the stream just below the first major falls, keep those wading shoes on as the you will be crossing the stream again several hundred yards up the trail. You might have to venture off a trail a little to find best place to ford stream depending on water level and flow. Trail gets very steep for quite a while. Trail opened into a small meadow which was entirely underwater and about 8" deep due to heavy rains day before. Had to route to the right through a thick thicket of young oak trees to get around meadow. Shortly after, there is a nice open view through the trees and you can see a shelter up on the rim of WRM. Took me 4 hours to reach the top of White Rock Mtn. If you are primitive camping on top, the CG is top notch. Very scenic, clean and well kept. Lots of trees and each site has lots of room. Water and bathroom nearby. Must hike the 2.1 mile rim trail and be sure to view the sunrise and sunset from here. The views on top are the finest you will see in the Ozarks. Backpacked back down to Shores lake via OHT/ East Loop. It is a long 7.4 miles and took me 5 hours. Lots of overgrowth for first several miles until you leave the OHT for the right forked East Side Loop. Plenty of deer in the woods and on the trail. Large Buck crossed trail in front of me. No significant stream crossings on east loop as they are very small. The west side is the more scenic of the two and is shorter. If I had to do again, I would hike up and down via the West Side Loop and only hike in late fall and winter. Too many weeds, flower plants, etc. encroaching/ leaning over on trail and the beggar lice plant was a real issue as those little green seeds will stick on your pants by the hundreds. It just best to wait until the cold knocks all that stuff back as well as insects, snakes, etc.
I did this as a two day backpacking trip. Nice place.
The view from White Rock was outstanding! The lake was nonexistent when we went and not sure that the whole loop is worth such a hike. Last couple of things; the fee to park is a couple dollars, the trail was very overgrown in places, the tics were crazy this time of year, be sure to do the east loop first and bring a LOT of water.