Explore Backpacking Squad - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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hiking
4 days ago

Went with two buddies. Added some extra stuff to make a total of 38 miles in 1.5 days. Was definitely a mental test. Numerous water crossings. Beautiful views. Very rocky terrain. If you aren’t experienced and/or want to enjoy it then take 2-3 days to do. Plenty of options for water refill/filtration. Bring water crossing shoes. Great weekend hike!!

backpacking
5 days ago

One of the best loop trails in the country. Close to thirty miles and very challenging. I only suggest this trail for experienced backpackers. If you are up for it, you will be rewarded with beautiful Arkansas scenery, wildlife, and experiences for a lifetime. Numerous creek crossings, very cold in the winter. Spot your trail across the creek before crossing. Pack river crossing shoes. Most creeks are wet year round. Pack maps with accurate narratives. Tim Ernst's narrative is spot on. The Athens Big Fork section is one of the toughest trails in Arkansas. You will scale 6 mountains. Girlfriend and I hiked this trail in March in three days and set aside an entire day for the ABF section. Took us about an hour per mountain and we are in shape. Plenty of campsites along the trail. I do not suggest camping in low spots near the creeks because these creeks are prone to flooding and are known to claim lives in the process. If you are up for the challenge and prepared, you will have the time of your life!

backpacking
10 days ago

Great trail, well marked and kept. Rained all weekend but did not detract from our enjoyment. The climbs are no joke, and there is a lot of water crossings, so be prepared

backpacking
12 days ago

So fun! Went when it was rainy and 65 degrees. Watch out for poison oak on the trails though. We went along the Little Missouri Falls trails.

19 days ago

Easter weekend ‘18. Suggest doing the west portion first to get the mountains out of the way, as I much regret not doing. Started Fri 10am, finished Sat 2pm. Take the short 3 minute walk side trail at the top of the mountain closest to the NW corner of the loop, amazing views on the huge boulders. The ERL makes me want to move to Ark.

backpacking
19 days ago

Backpacked this loop over the past two days. Started around noon on Friday, hiked 8 miles. Hiked 12 miles yesterday. And another 8 this morning, finished around noon. Really enjoyable and challenging trip. Would 100% recommend starting at the trail head on the app but going in the opposite direction so you can do the bigger climbs sooner.

on Eagle Rock Loop

backpacking
19 days ago

I did the loop with my three sons about two weeks ago. We started at the north west corner and went counter clockwise. The trail was very well marked and we had no trouble staying on course.

This was our first backpacking trip and had a great time. I really can’t offer any advice as far as gear/equipment, however, I can recommend taking trekking poles. Those things are lifesavers for the ridges and water crossings.

One thing we found odd was the lack of wildlife. I don’t know if it was too cold or wrong time of the year. We saw a group of 3 deer, a squirrel, a lizard, and a handful of birds, that’s it. Very quiet, almost eerie.

hiking
20 days ago

Great trail. Two friends and I decided to challenge ourselves and we completed it in a day and a half. Definitely was a test of the mind and body. Very rocky terrain with great views! Will definitely go back one day.

backpacking
24 days ago

Well marked trail with abundant water even in August. Great views and plenty of campsites to choose from. Perfect hike for a weekend if your ready for two good days of hiking.

hiking
26 days ago

GPS tracked this exact loop around 28.25 miles.. nice hike.. not overly challenging.

backpacking
26 days ago

Great Trails. Well maintained. They had a controlled burn last week which left a good section on the west side of the of the loop scorched. We were able to find some water on the east side but did not see a big source until Brazil Creek.

hiking
27 days ago

Completed last weekend. Clockwise from Trinity Falls
Weather was great. There are many large campsites. Active springs lots of water. Lots of hikers on the north end. Very enjoyable.

Great trail. I used the fork trail to train for Mt. Rainier.

My wife and I just completed this Trail 2 days ago and we loved it! We are relatively newbies when it comes to hiking alone so we bought a map and a suunto m3 compass, which both definitely came in handy several times throughout the hike. Watched a couple YouTube videos on orienteering and we were good to go. Although the trail is marked really well with white blazes, the south end of the trail requires you to follow the yellow blazes, which is marked on the map. Also, there were several times where the trail forked without blazes and we weren't sure which way to go and the compass helped a lot with that. We started off at around 11 a.m. at the Little Missouri trailhead on the northwest corner of the trail. We hiked counter-clockwise like several on here recommended and I am so happy we did because the six mountains will wear you out quick and it's better to get them out of the way first when you have all the energy. We stop on top of the last Mountain and set up tent at Eagle Rock Vista and enjoyed the view to ourselves all night long. I would definitely recommend camping here if possible. On the second day we made it past Albert Pike campsite and called in the woods about 5 miles away from our car. Overall, we couldn't have asked for better weather or a better Trail. We also saw one deer and two snakes. There are plenty of water sources along the way so bring your Sawyer water filter to fill up. One more important thing, bring water shoes to cross at a few below the knee river crossings and if you think you can Riverstone hop, just switch to River shoes and don't chance it. I made that mistake and cut my shin open on a rock and embraced wet boots the rest of my hike. My shin is still extremely swollen and cut open, so again, just switch to water shoes.

A friend and I backpacked this trail (Buffalo River Trail with connecting trails to the Old River Trail) earlier this week. We actually began at the trail’s beginning at the Boxley trailhead, which is 11 miles southwest of the Ponca trailhead, and we hiked to the trail’s conclusion at Pruitt, some 37 miles from Boxley; we took four days to hike and camped three nights. Past Steel Creek, we took a connecting trail (marked “Primitive Trail”) down from the BRT in the mountains to the ORT along the river. We followed the ORT to Jim’s Bluff, where we spent our second of three nights. The next day, we followed this old and poorly-marked horse trail to Hemmed-In Hollow, which is a box canyon containing the tallest waterfall between the Appalachians and Rockies; from there, we trekked along the ORT for three more miles in our water shoes to reconnect with the BRT at Kyle’s Landing.

We fell in love with this trail—what a wild, beautiful and unforgiving terrain with incredible views, ozark glades, waterfalls, wildlife and homestead ruins around every bend. Something to consider, though: while we found many backcountry campsites with water sources toward the beginning of the trail, we found very few toward the end. Past Kyle’s Landing, the trail stayed high above the river, and with little remaining light, we were forced to stealth-camp past Erbie at one of the only sections of trail with river access. (We could have camped at Erbie campground if we’d carried more cash and less pride.)

hiking
1 month ago

Excellent trail for Arkansas. Not for beginners. We clocked in a little over 31 miles over 3 days at a leisurely pace. I would recommend travelling clockwise on the loop however. The south sides of the ridges were far more forgiving that the steed, straight north side trails. All in all a great hike.

hiking
1 month ago

Awesome trail in every aspect. Water level at little Missouri was 3.8 feet and all crossings were manageable, took boots off once really by choice rather than need. Athens-Big fork section...just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Water everywhere! Heavy traffic but everyone was just neat hiker folk. 10/10, would recommend.
Partner and I were not in hiking shape what so ever, we cut the trail at forest road 106, this worked perfect for us as we only had three days to hike. Ran into many other hikers doing the same. Heard that 5th (or 2nd, depending your direction around) is brutal. Cant wait to get up it next time!

We hiked from Barkshed to Gunner Pool and back. It was beautiful. Both recreation areas are a great place to bbq and relax after a rigorous hike

backpacking
1 month ago

Excellent and tough. The lack of switchbacks made me ache. My quads complained on the ascents and my ankles on the descents. Me and my nephew went with our hammocks and had a very pleasant and chilly night. Dropped into the low 30’s, but no complaints here. Everything was crossable. Overall, it was a very nice three days. We’ll be back.

hiking
1 month ago

Did the Loop 1st week in March 2018 right after a bunch of rain had swamped most of Arkansas. We arrived late Thursday night and decided to hit trail going Counter Clockwise from Little Missouri Falls. We made a quick camp along the river around 2:30 am about a mile from the start. My friend and I both went with Hammock's this trip and got COLD on this short night. We basically just set up our hammocks without tarps or under quilts and we paid the price on this chilly damp night. We got up early and hit the trail towards the Mountains. We stopped at Spirit Rock to take in the view and ran into a couple guys who had camped at top of the Mountain. They said they got cold as well that night. We took our time going up and over each Mountain and rested when it was needed. Our destination for our camp this night was Eagle Rock Mountain. We ran into another group of guys who were going clockwise and warned us about the River crossing around Winding Stairs. They had made it across but said it was kind of iffy. They asked if we were going to cross it today and told them not till tomorrow. We all agreed that we thought we water would be lower the next day, our hope anyway. We stopped for extra water before making our final climb to Eagle Rock. We made it to the top of Eagle Rock around 4:00 pm and set up our camp. It was a beautiful night with a Clear Cold night and a Full Moon out. Had a nice fire to keep us warm and listened to the Coyotes throughout the night. My chocolate Lab had her own little tent which I had packed for her and she paid no mine to the coyotes that only got closer as the night worn on. We all slept much better this night with tarps and quilts added to the Hammocks. Got up, enjoyed a beautiful Sunrise, ate breakfast,and then came off Mountain headed towards Viles Branch. Starting running into a few more folks and all said the River was low enough now for a safe crossing. Made our way through Winding Stairs and then onto Albert Pike Mountain. We detoured to the top to look for Window Rock, which we did not find. Turns out we were right on top of it but never took the trail down to access it. Next time I will find it! Came off Mountain and walked through Albert Pike area and made camp along the Little Missouri River and Long creek intersection. Had another great Warm night in our Hammocks with a million stars out this night as well. Got up early the next morning and hiked the final 6 miles to the truck at LMF. This was my 3rd time to do the Loop. It does not get any easier, suppose age might have something to do with it. But, can't wait to do it again next year. Awesome trail!

Awesome hike! Lots of water to tred through along the way, beautiful sights, and good swimming hole spots!

South side of this loop was super quiet and beautiful. Lots of water throughout the whole trail. I went slow and alone. Spent 4 days on this trail. Well worth it.

backpacking
1 month ago

Me and a buddy arrived on a cold Sunday night at about nine after being unable to find each other's cars. We parked in a very secluded part of Albert pike where by some miracle there were no "no parking" signs. Through light snow flurries we hiked for about four hours the first night. Sticking to the white blazes is a major key, and be sure to spot the white blaze on the other side of the water crossing before traversing....because there are a lot of crossings. We finished in about 50 hours powering through, but I suggest taking more time to enjoy this beautiful stretch. Keep an eye out for a hot spring bubbling alongside the trail :)

We hiked the Eagle Rock Loop last year...It Is an incredible hike. Surrounded by mountains and cold, clear, rushing water the Eagle Rock is both very challenging and breathtakingly beautiful.
We finished the Loop in 3 1/2 days last year and are going again this year.

backpacking
2 months ago

Fantastic trail with great water crossings. The western part of the loop has some really great climbs that can get the heart rate up.

hiking
3 months ago

Beautiful. Plenty of water access. Really good hills. Loved it.

on Berryman Trail

hiking
3 months ago

a well maintained and easy trail. Did an early February overnight camp at the spring and took the long hike out. 22.5 miles total for the loop (Ozark trail to Berryman). Relatively dull scenery that time of year but no bugs and cool air. would definitely recommend it for an easy overnight stroll.

I love this place!....I can't get enough of the campground or the trails....The only thing that makes me sad is that they've poured tons of gravel on the campsites....

backpacking
3 months ago

Great backpacking trail.

backpacking
3 months ago

Amazing trail! Definitely a challenge. My fiance and I did it in about two and a half days but we took several breaks to play in the river. Lots of good campsites near water. There are several river crossings so bring river shoes!

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