Womble Trail is a 32.4 mile point-to-point trail located near Oden, AR that features a great forest setting and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, and mountain biking and is accessible year-round.
The Womble Trail stretches over 37 miles from Northfork Lake to the Ouachita National Recreation Trail. This trail is considered one of the best single track trails in this area. Short segments of the trail meander along the bluffs of the Ouachita River providing breathtaking views. Hikers and mountain bikers can combine the Roundtop Trail with the Womble and Ouachita National Recreation Trail (west of Highway 27) to form an 8-mile loop. Note: The adjacent section of the Ouachita National Recreation Trail is open to mountain bikes from the Talimena Scenic Drive east of Queen Wilhelmena State Park east to the trailhead on Highway 7, north of Jessieville, Arkansas. See page 3 of 3 for an overview of the combined trails.
I ran a 6.4 mile stretch of this trail out and back, and had run portions of it other times, and let me tell you it is a wonderful trail. It has its climbs because you are running high in the hills of the Ouchita, but past the initial climb, it is a relatively flat/rolling trail, narrowly hugging the ridgeline of these scenic hills. I ran the section that starts from the Ouachita River. Highly recommended if in the area!
Loved this trail! Hiking west to east brings you by a low creek and up on a bluff overlooking Oachita River. We only hiked 2 miles in, but plan to go back and cover the full length. I'd rate it moderate with a few steep climbs.
The Womble is one of the better trails in Arkansas, obviously noted by the IMBA's Epic rating. And deservedly so. It stretches along some very nice ridges along the Ouachita River. Most of it is a moderate trail but you should be in shape and ready to do some serious climbing between Highways 88 and 27 as well as 27 and 298 if you are starting at 27. All in all, the entire thing has a total of 6000 feet of climbing. I highly recommend you go from West to East no matter what section you ride. If you can, shuttle cars as the only thing that keeps me from calling it the best trail in Arkansas is the lack of a loop (I usually ride alone). The 37 miles can be done in a day but it's a long tough ride. I recommend you do it in two days if possible to allow stops to enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery or stop for a swim in the Ouachita River. Lake North Fork to Highway 298 and 298 to Highway 27/88 are two great rides.
There are two shuttle options at either end, The Highway 27 Fish Camp at Lake Ouachita and Riverview Cabins and Canoes in Oden near Lake North Fork. Highway 27 charges about $40 to take you or your vehicle back to 298 or North Fork. Riverview Cabins will only charge you $20. Riverview offers incredible cabins on the Ouachita with full kitchens, fireplaces, very nice and very reasonable. Highway 27 Fish Camp also has cabins but they are much more primitive and basic. However, they are located on Lake Ouachita, another place not to miss if you are in the area. This past Sunday, I did not come across one other rider in the entire day. The trip before that, I met one group of 4 people. Even though it is a popular trail, you feel like you own it.
One note to keep in mind; while the days are very hot in Arkansas during peak summer months, it's better to ride in the day in my opinion unless someone is riding ahead of you or you can time it to be behind another group. Spiders and webs are serious issue for me on this trail in the mornings. Really big spiders build these VERY thick webs across the trail. I mean everywhere, especially in the lower sections of the trail. I turned around and went back, cutting a ride very short once because it greatly diminished the joy of the ride.
Awsome trail for mountain biking. I have seen a few trail runners on it as well. It is an out and back trail although it does not matter which direction. There are take out points and I recomend shuttling vehicles and doing the trail in its entirety. It is a moderate trail, but because of distance you might want to be conditioned better when you start.