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

Ozark Highlands Trail Map

Trail should be rated difficult. Trail planning is suspect as it doesn't follow contour of land often. This has a compound effect because the straight up and downs has caused the trail to wash badly. In many places it's like hiking a creek bed due to all the loose rocks. But if you keep your pace slow, it's a very nice hike. It's very pretty, just plan for a more difficult trail than the rating suggests.

An amazing hike. Tough but well worth the reward at white rock. After hurricane creek be ready for an up hill trek.
Nice camping spot at 12.1 miles.

Beautiful trail for fall colors!

1 month ago

Beautiful trail. Hiked from White Rick Mountain to Spirits Creek. Camped the night. Hiked back to Salt Fork Creek. Camped the night again. Then, returned to White Rock Mountain the next morning. Both Salt Fork Creek and Spirits Creek were flowing well as were many small streams along the way. Excellent time!

On July 28, 2018, I drove to the trail. The trail head Was not located at the point to which AllTrails brought me. I found it about a half mile down the road. Great! After a fairly steep to send it down to a creek bed (about .3 mile), I lost the trail. The OHT? It must have been me. After looking for about 20–30 minutes, I decided to head back. I came across a rattlesnake that was a little testy about my presence. Even though my hike was aborted, the trail gets one star because I saw my first rattlesnake in the wild. Plus, a trail familiar to me, Spyrock, was nearby and provided a suitable adventure.

Awesome place!

Every time I hike a little part of the OHT, I think "what a lovely stretch of trail." This portion is no exception. The views as you head up the mountain just get more spectacular. On the Spring day when I visited, the wildflowers and butterflies were going like gangbusters. The old chimney and well at the homesite are neat, and worth the very short detour to check them out.
You do go UP, though fairly gradually. And then it's all downhill to get back to the trailhead!

Just a spot on the OHT, with a nice creek.

Hiked this trail in early April with my wife and 3 kids (10, 8, and 7 years old). hiked about 6-7 miles a day. The kids carried all their own stuff and had no problems keeping up. Awesome trip. The trail is well marked and plenty of campsites. The creeks are pretty and require getting your feet wet to cross. And the elevation changes aren't too extreme. White Rock is a great place to end a long hike. Beautiful view!

Great trail along the lake that has a nice loop back to the visitors center at the park.

When you get to the trail, you will park on the side of the street with the sign marking the OHT. However, the trail actually starts ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD. There is another trail that starts in the same side as where you park, but that is not this trail. It’s well maintained and not terribly challenging. You will be up in the mountains, but there wasn’t a ton of stuff to see. Still I nice walk though.

9 months ago

Hiked section 1 from Lake Ft. Smith to Dockery's Gap and loved it. We did the 9 or so mile stretch in a little over 4 hours but didn't stop much. It was fairly cold so we didn't go through too much water, i carried about half a gallon and had some left over but there was plenty of running water to treat and drink if needed. Frog Bayou was about knee high and freezing but luckily i had a towel so i crossed bare foot and dried off before putting my socks and boots back on. Lots of up and downs but nothing too arduous until the last mile or so when there is a good climb back up to Old Locke Road (FR 1007). Overall it was a great hike with lots to see and I can't wait to get back out there and hike the rest of the OHT.

Thru hiked 125 miles of this trail. From fort smith to Fairview mountain what a journey. So beautiful although very secluded which is what makes it so great but also sucks when you forget important things or need to shower but we made it work! Never saw another hiker on the trail but the campsites were an awesome tool. Definitely recommend a map that has the campsites on it. We went at the end of September and first week of October, weather was perfect with only one day of rain!

9 months ago

Spent the night after doing first 7 miles of section 1 from Lake Fort Smith State Park at end of January 2018. The trail was in good shape and the short part I did was not too hard. Got up early and drove from OKC (easily doable as weekend trip) and finished the 7 miles at about 3 PM. They had a little rain the night before, about half and inch I believe, and all of the springs were running. I have a feeling it doesn't take much so expect it to be wet with any rain. The frog bayou crossing is something to consider, but a guy a talked to said that it's the highest he had ever seen and it was maybe knee high, so it should rarely be a problem. Anyone considering this part I would recommend do not start at the state park if you want to have that remote ozarks feel. Otherwise, great trip, I would highly recommend it!

We really liked this trail for this warm winter day. It starts out fairly easy and then gets more moderate toward the end. Pretty views and well maintained. We will be back to visit!

This is the northernmost stretch of the Ozark Highlands Trail (OHT), this section is 31 miles long from this trailhead southward to Spring Creek Road near Almus Knob, with six different parking turnouts/trailheads along AR Highway 341 aka Push Mountain Road. US Forest Service provides good maps, both paper and download, "OHT Sylamore Section",

Hmmmm..... this is not really a hike- just a spot in the Ozark Highlands Trail. The 1.6...I’m not sure what that is referring to. And I wouldn’t categorize it as “easy” bc either way you go is descending down about 500 ft and it’s a bit of a hike back up to the old campground. It’s just a walk in the woods and some good exercise back up.

Thursday, November 02, 2017

It keeps steep in parts but it was still a lot of fun

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Love this trail! Beautiful vistas and waterfalls (in season). Challenging climbs at times. Also, creeks can be dry when rainfall is low. Always be prepared. Glad it is close to OK.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Great hike

Loved this trail. Well marked and just the right amount of challenge.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Trail Rating: 3/5. The trail was ok, not a lot of views and not real interesting, but also not real challenging. The one good vista was at the very end. It's a nice trail, but I usually hike in the Ouachitas, and I prefer those trails over this one.

Trail Rating in early September: 1/5. SPIDERS AND BUGS EVERYWHERE! And poison ivy. Spent 9 of the 12 miles we hiked on the trail waving a stick in front of us to knock down the incredible number of spiderwebs. That all said, this was just a lousy time to go on the trail, it's not the trail's fault. We knew going in it hadn't been maintained in a while, but we'd had ok experiences with other trails this time of year and figured it'd be fine. We were wrong.

The road walk back: About halfway along the trail you cross NF Road 1531 and coming back we decided to walk up that instead of deal with the spiders, it was totally worth it. We actually found a better vista off the road and wandered past some cool ranches, and even saw where an old homestead used to be in a random field.

WARNING: There is a lot of poison ivy along the sides of the trail!! But heck, this is the Ozarks, it's everywhere this time of year. That in mind, this is a nice relaxing hike through the woods that offers views of the lake and different rock formations. I only made mention of the poison ivy for those who are allergic to it. Which I am, and I probable would have wore hiking pants since it was a nice day and not too hot. And FYI, you can actually make this a loop hike if you take the Shepherd Springs Loop trail which links towards the beginning and end of this trail. The Shepherd Springs Loop also offers views of different rock formations. Only 4 stars because we save 5 for trails with awesome, spectacular views.

Amazing scenery !!

Came back for another rainy day hike, but decided to do the Shepherd Springs Loop. Half of the loop is the Ozark Highlands Trail. There are some nice overlooks on the SS Loop, but there's not much to see this time of year with everything fully leafed out. I'll come back when the leaves are gone to check out the views, but probably not until then.

The trailhead was a little hard to find, but I trusted the description I'd read and gamely crossed the road. It's there - hidden among the trees. It takes you rather steeply UP, but it's not bad, and this ends up being the most challenging part of the trail - the rest of which is flat and quite easy. Note that this spur is not in Ernst's OHT book, as it didn't exist at the time of publication. The mile markers vary a bit from Ernst's description as well due to the addition of the Lake Fort Smith portion of the trail.

The trail doesn't have a great deal of "WOW," with a notable exception - the Marinoni Scenic Area. It's absolutely beautiful when the creek is running! I'm certain it's rather nice if the creek is dry, but I can't imagine it's the same. I was told that leaf-off reveals some wonderful views into the Mulberry River Valley from the trail. There's also a neat bit of trail that takes you through a sort of "mini-canyon," and the Lick Branch trrailhead is quite pretty as well.

There are a few nice campsites along the trail should you want to spend more time there, or if you're planning your stops as you thru-hike the trail.

Wildflowers were abundant, as was wildlife - at one point I scared up a wild turkey! Poison Ivy is also abundant, but I managed to emerge unscathed.

I explored a little of this section of the OHT after some heavy rain. Murray and Senyard Falls were both roaring, though I couldn't get very close to Senyard, as crossing the creek was not an option. I popped over to the Rock House (opposite direction from Hare Mtn) - that's a must-see. The rest of the trail was wall-to-wall waterfalls! All those little streams were wet crossings, and the trail is a streambed much of the time. I was completely drenched after just a few miles, but utterly delighted. I wish I'd been up for a longer hike, as the views from Hare Mtn are reportedly spectacular. I'll be back!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Did section 2, in April. The weather was great. Section 2 is roughly 19 miles. Very rugged. You will definitely want to have sturdy boots, strong soles. Camped on the river at a primitive camp at mile 6. Roughly 6 miles further is another chance to stop by a river and eat lunch and recharge. Stock up on water there for the push on to the end of section 2. the final 6 have a lot of up, and no water.

Great hike, great backpacking. Tough sledding but worth the effort.

I think one of the neat things about hiking in Arkansas is one's occasional brushes with the "big" trails here: the Buffalo River Trail, the Butterfield Hiking Trail, and the Ozark Highlands Trail. Deliberately hiking on one of these trails, right where it starts seemed like a proper way to pay homage.

The trailhead is easy to find. There's a large, beautiful trailhead sign to the left of the visitor's center, and then smaller signs later on to make sure you stay on the trail. There are some scrambly, rocky areas, but, for the most part, the trail is level and clear. There's a lot to see: great lake views, a nice little waterfall, two home sites, an old cistern. The spring wildflowers were everywhere on our visit. It was also raining that day, and there were lots and lots of little streams and creeks to cross.

Once you get to the Frog Bayou Creek area, you'll see why this area can be a no-go when the water is high. Two women ahead of us who were thru-hiking managed to cross, but I'm not sure where. Continuing on is certainly an option if conditions are right. Turning back here made for a nice, 6-mile hike.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Never ending climbs, it's awesome!

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